Colorado acquiring multi-mission aircraft and 3 firefighting helicopters

The Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control (DFPC) is buying two high-tech Pilatus PC-12 airplanes that will be configured with a suite of sensors and communications equipment that they believe will greatly improve firefighter safety and the efficiency in handling an incident.

They have also contracted for three firefighting helicopters, two Type 3 and one Type 2.

All of this is new for the state of Colorado, and is a result of legislation passed earlier this year that provided the funding.

More details are at Fire Aviation, about the PC-12s and the helicopters.


Impressive photo of a fire in Washington

This photo of a fire in Washington, taken recently by Michael Stanford, reminds us of the famous photo of the elk in a stream next to a fire, shot by John McColgan a number of years ago.

Click here to see a larger version of the photo.



High temperatures forecast for the West through August 13

Temperatures higher than normal are in the forecast through August 13 for Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, and parts of Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Arizona. If ignitions occur, firefighters could be busy in the far west for the next couple of weeks, while those farther east will see temperatures cooler than normal.

August 1 through 5:

Temperature outlook, Aug 1-5

August 1 through 5.

August 7 through 13:

Temperature outlook, Aug 7-13

August 7 through 13.

Thanks and a hat tip go out to Jim.


Firefighter dies while off duty in Oregon

Several media outlets are reporting that a wildland firefighter died while he was off duty at a fire camp. Matthew David Goodnature, 21, of Phoenix, Oregon was found by another firefighter Tuesday evening, July 29, near Four Mile Lake on the Fremont-Winema National Forest in Oregon. Mr. Goodnature was assigned to the Launch Fire and apparently took a walk away from the camp where an accident occurred.

According to Newswatch 12:

Detective Nick Kennedy with the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case, and said he cannot draw any conclusions until his investigation is done. However, it appears that Goodnature tripped on a large rock and fell backwards. Scruff marks and other traces indicated Goodnature fell on a log that struck him on the small of his back. Detective Kennedy said it appears he died of a broken back.

Mr. Goodnature worked for Pacific Oasis Wildland Firefighting out of Ashland, Oregon.

We offer our sincere condolences to his family, friends,and co-workers.

Previously this year, there have been a total of six wildland firefighter fatalities: one aviation accident (plane crash) and five medical emergencies (heart attack). All six were either state or local jurisdiction employees.

Thanks and a hat tip go out to Jeff.


Cake honors wildland firefighters

fire cake by Sarah C. Gracey

I was flipping through the channels one day and ran across the “Cake Boss” show, where they do impressive things with flour and sugar. But I’ve never seen a fancy cake that was dedicated to wildland firefighters. Some of the detail is amazing. Check out the stitching in the belt loops.

It was cooked made constructed invented by Sarah C. Gracey, an Urban Forestry Coordinator for the Kentucky Division of Forestry. Ms. Gracey is also qualified as a Type 2 Public Information Officer.

fire cake by Sarah C. Gracey

fire cake by Sarah C. Gracey


I have discovered a new hazard in writing about wildland fire… getting very hungry while covering a story about a fire cake.


California: French Fire

(UPDATED at 8:30 a.m. PDT, July 31, 2014)

Map of French Fire

Map of the 2014 French Fire at 11 p.m., July 30, 2014. The 2013 Aspen fire is shown on yellow.

The map above shows the perimeters of the French Fire (south of the Mammoth Pool Reservoir) on Tuesday night and Wednesday night, as well as the 2013 Aspen Fire that was just across the San Joaquin River. Scroll down to see a map that shows a larger area.

The French Fire burned intensely well into the night on Wednesday, adding another 1,402 acres, bringing the total to 7,024 acres. Most of the growth was on the northwest and southeast sides.

Firefighters are planning a burning operation on the southern end of the fire to reinforce the hand and dozer lines that were constructed from the San Joaquin River up to Forest Road 4S81. This anchor point will support structure defense in the Hogue Ranch and Kinsmans Flat areas, which are currently the highest priorities.

Several Forest Service and private campgrounds were evacuated, as well as some summer homes in the Hogue Apple Ranch and Wagner’s Resort.


(UPDATED at 7:25 p.m. PDT, July 30, 2014)

French and 2013Aspen Fire 7-29-2014

French Fire (burning now) and the 2013 Aspen Fire. (click to see a larger version)

We dug up the data for the July, 2013 Aspen Fire that was just across the drainage from where the French Fire is burning now — and put both fire perimeters on the above map.

Below is the 3-D version of the map.

French and 2013 Aspen Fire

3-D: French Fire (burning now) and the 2013 Aspen Fire. (click to see a larger version)

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