Firefighter interviews at Mud Lake Complex of fires

On May 23 we posted a video interview with Byron Hart, the Assistant Fire Management Officer (Fuels) at Big Cypress National Preserve. It was shot at the Mud Lake Complex of fires in the south Florida Preserve by Joshua Manley, the Fire Communication and Education Specialist for the three National Park Service Regions on the East Coast. After receiving favorable reviews, Mr. Manley produced two more videos, below.

The first one features Oscar Montijo, Superintendent of the Augusta Interagency Hotshot Crew, in which he discusses strategic firing operations around private inholdings in front of a fire at the Mud Lake Complex within Big Cypress National Preserve.

The next is with Matt Heinz, a Forestry Technician at Big Cypress National Preserve. Mr. Heinz discusses the challenges of operating a swamp buggy on the Mud Lake Complex.

As we said on May 23, interviewing firefighters in the field and posting the videos on YouTube is a great idea. It can really give the viewers a glimpse into the life of a firefighter. Incident Management Teams should do this more often. Congrats to Joshua Manley for making these three videos.

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Honoring our veterans and military personnel today

Veterans Cemetery memorial day Hot Springs

Veterans Cemetery at Hot Springs, South Dakota. Memorial Day, 2015.

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is observed every year on the last Monday of May, originated as Decoration Day after the American Civil War in 1868, when the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union veterans — established it as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. By the 20th century, competing Union and Confederate holiday traditions, celebrated on different days, had merged, and Memorial Day eventually extended to honor all Americans who died while in the military service.

Photo by Bill Gabbert. Text from Wikipedia.

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Mud Lake Complex of fires

Mud Lake Complex

Mud Lake Complex (no date provided). NPS photo by Cory Dutton.

The Mud Lake Complex of fires in Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve continues to grow in the two weeks since it started on May 8, and has now been mapped at 35,274 acres. The Complex is comprised of approximately seven fires that are being managed by Mike Dueitt’s Type 1 Incident Management Team.

We are not certain when it was written (possibly Friday May 22) but the description below from InciWeb is a good summary of the activity on the fires:

The Ellison fire continues to back, flank and make short runs in pine stands and grass prairies, with flame lengths of 8-12 feet in palmetto. Crews continued to work on slopovers outside the MMA. The Square fire continues to show active fire behavior with backing, flanking,and short runs with flame lengths of 6 feet in short grass fuels and 8-12 feet in palmetto. Smoldering behavior was observed in cypress stringers. Tactical firing on the northwest side of the Baker cabin was planned for today. Thunderstorms over both fires caused erratic fire behavior and caused the Square fire to make a run to the northwest near the north boundary of the preserve. Both fires received measurable rain today. There was a new start (the Sanctuary fire) in the northeast part of the preserve today. Precipitation occurred in the area. Aviation resources were used today to support ground operations until thunderstorm activity entered the fire area.

In the video below, Byron Hart, the Assistant Fire Management Officer (Fuels) at Big Cypress National Preserve discusses the challenges of the Mud Lake Complex of fires. Making this video of a leader on the fire describing what is going on was an excellent idea. Teams should do this more often.

Mud Lake Complex

Mud Lake Complex. There is no description or date for this photo on InciWeb, but it appears to be an operational period briefing. NPS photo by K. Corrigan.

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Comparison photos, 6 days and 39 days after escaped prescribed fire

Cold Brook Fire

Highway 385, which can be seen in the distance, was supposed to be the boundary of the prescribed fire. Only the land on the far side of the highway was planned to burn.

Wind Cave prescribed fire

These photos were taken by Bill Gabbert in the area burned when the April 13 Cold Brook prescribed fire escaped in Wind Cave National Park. In each pair of pictures, the first was taken on April 19, 6 days after the fire, and the next was taken on May 22, 39 days after the fire.

Cold Brook Fire

Looking east from the planned burn area to Highway 385 which did not serve as an adequate fire line under the conditions that day.

Wind Cave prescribed fire

Cold Brook Fire

Wind Cave prescribed fire

Cold Brook Fire

The north end of the fire, east of Highway 385.

Wind Cave prescribed fire

Related articles on Wildfire Today:

Cold Brook prescribed fire escapes in South Dakota
Wind Cave National Park bounces back from escaped prescribed fire

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Wind Cave National Park bounces back from escaped prescribed fire

With copious rain over the last five weeks since the Cold Brook prescribed fire escaped control in Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota on April 13, the additional 5,000 acres outside the planned burn unit is in serious green-up. Most of the “bonus acres” had been treated at least once with previous prescribed fires, so there was not a heavy build up of fuel within the timbered areas. The escape, even though it was pushed by a strong wind, did not have high mortality in the Ponderosa pines. Most of the areas we saw near U.S. Highway 385 look like a typical prescribed fire in the park, however there were a few patches of pine that were taken out.

All of the photos below were taken by Bill Gabbert on May 22, 2015, 39 days after the fire. Click on the photos to see larger versions.

Wind Cave National Park prescribed fire

The bison are enjoying the nutrient-rich fresh green grass in the burned area. The one in the foreground is wallowing in dirt.

Wind Cave National Park prescribed fire

The lower branches on these Ponderosa pines had been burned off in a prescribed fire about 15 years ago, so they were virtually unscathed this time.

Wind Cave National Park prescribed fire

Wind Cave National Park prescribed fire Wind Cave National Park prescribed fire

Wind Cave National Park prescribed fire

One objective of most of the prescribed fires in the Park is to remove some of the pine reproduction that is encroaching into the prairie. The brown seedlings here indicate some success in that regard.

Wind Cave National Park prescribed fire

Related articles:

Cold Brook prescribed fire escapes in South Dakota
Comparison photos, 6 days and 39 days after escaped prescribed fire

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Colorado to use new system to predict wildland fire behavior

Janice Coen Gov. John Hickenlooper sign bill

Gov. John Hickenlooper traveled to an Arvada fire station to sign the bill that will implement a wildfire prediction system. Dr. Janice Coen, one of the developers of the system, is on the left. Photo provided by COHOUSEDEMS.

The Governor of Colorado signed a bill Wednesday that authorizes the state to spend $1.2 million over the next two years on a “revolutionary” wildfire prediction system that uses weather data, groundbreaking computer modeling, and high resolution satellite imagery to predict the spread of fires up to 18 hours in advance.

Below is an excerpt from an article at the (Colorado Springs) Gazette:

…”This bill will predict the intensity and the direction of fires 12 to 18 hours ahead of time. That is really important so we know where to direct our planes, the aircraft we had a bill for last year, and our firefighters,” said Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, D-Arvada, who introduced the bill. “This is really revolutionary.”

Under the new law, the Division of Fire Prevention and Control will contract with a nonprofit Colorado-based research organization with expertise in atmospheric science to predict wildfire behavior. The National Center for Atmospheric Research, a federally funded program headquartered in Boulder, is the only state agency that meets that criteria. NCAR has used modeling to accurately recreate the behavior of historic fires, including the Yarnell Hill fire that killed 19 Arizona firefighters in 2013.

She said the new technology could be in place by next spring and will work with the state’s new aerial fire fleet, a multimillion-dollar investment into wildfire detecting and fighting aircraft lawmakers made in 2013…

Janice Coen at the National Center for Atmospheric Research is one of the scientists working on this program. We have written about her work previously:

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Barbara.

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