Fire prevention and recruitment videos

This first 30-second video uses firefighters from multiple organizations to say “One less spark, one less wildfire”.

The next 30-second video encourages the viewer to prevent fires in order to reduce the number of firefighters that are killed, and appears to use family members of the deceased, saying, “One less spark is one less firefighter fatality”.

The last video attempts to recruit urban residents and minorities to work for the U.S. Forest Service.


Two movies in development about fatal wildfires

Development is moving forward on two movies about wildfires on which multiple firefighters were killed.

In February, 2013 John N. Maclean announced that he had signed a deal to have his book about the 2006 Esperanza fire made into a movie. A screenplay is being written by Sean O’Keefe, and Jim Mickle, a well-regarded Indie director, has been signed to direct the project. Not too much is happening on it right now since Mr. Mickle is tied up making another movie.

But that could change since another wildfire film has been announced. Legendary Pictures, which bought the rights to Mr. Maclean’s book, may decide to move things along more quickly so that they can release it before a planned movie about the Yarnell Hill Fire hits theaters.

Below is an excerpt from a May 27, 2015 article in the Daily Courier:

A movie about Prescott’s fallen hotshot firefighters is still in the works, although some of the players have changed.

Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura of “Transformers” fame is in the development stage for the movie, planning the elements of the film, his publicist Arnold Robinson of Rogers and Cowan said.

Ken Nolan, screenwriter of “Black Hawk Down,” currently is writing the script, Robinson added.

“There are no actors attached to the project at this time, but discussions with talent are taking place,” Robinson said. Director Scott Cooper (“Crazy Heart” and “Out of the Furnace”) is no longer planning to work on the hotshot film, his spokesperson Jennifer Hillman of Creative Artists Agency said.

Hopefully production on the hotshots movie will begin late this year or early next year, Robinson said. There is no timeframe for when the film will be in theaters…

Five wildland firefighters were killed on the 2006 Esperanza Fire, and 19 died on the 2013 Yarnell Hill Fire.

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


Kyle Dickman: “Stop expecting firefighters to save your homes”

Kyle Dickman, a former wildland firefighter and author of a just released book about the Yarnell Hill Fire on which 19 firefighters were killed, has written an opinion piece for CNN titled Stop expecting firefighters to save your homes.

Below is an excerpt from the article on CNN:

…But asking firefighters to risk their lives to save unprepared homes from the most volatile blazes is like asking the National Guard to control a hurricane. It’s negligent. Even still, firefighters want to help people and put their training to use, and it can be hard for these brave men and women to recognize the limits of their abilities…
In the aftermath [of the Yarnell Hill Fire], some of the 127 homeowners who lost their houses during that blaze sued the State of Arizona for failing to protect the town. The judge threw out the lawsuit, and in doing so, gave active support to the rarely spoken truth that firefighters simply cannot stop the highest intensity fires. We’re witnessing that reality now more than ever…

Mr. Dickman’s book is titled On The Burning Edge: A Fateful Fire and the Men Who Fought It.


Wildfires in Alberta shut down oil producing facilities

Wildfire Cold Lake Alberta

The wildfire north of Cold Lake, Alberta, at 9 p.m. May 26, in the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range. It was 17,000 hectares (42,000 acres) on May 26.

From the Guardian:

Several energy companies have suspended oil operations and evacuated non-essential staff from northeastern Alberta as nearly 20 wildfires rage out of control in the remote rural region. At least 233,000 barrels per day of oil sands production, 9% of Alberta’s total oil sands output, has been suspended in Alberta’s northeast because of the fire risk.

Several small towns threatened by fires have been evacuated in other parts of the province.

MEG Energy Inc said on Tuesday it was suspending operations at its 80,000-barrel-per-day Christina Lake oil sands project and evacuated non-essential staff.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch warned in a research report that the decreased production from the fires could affect economic growth.

“If wildfire disruptions persist through the rest of May, and activity gradually picks up in June, we estimate a 0.1% to 0.3% hit to [second-quarter] annualized GDP growth,” Emanuella Enenajor, the bank’s Canada and US economist wrote. But she warned that the estimate was uncertain and the impact would depend on how long it took to return production to normal levels.

The province of Alberta reported today that recent fires have burned 29,000 hectares (71,000 acres). Resources committed to the fires include 79 crews, 660 personnel, 3 air tankers, 56 helicopters, and 36 dozers.


Three organizations call for more ambitious hazardous fuels mitigation

burned structure Eiler Fire wildfire

A burned structure at the Eiler Fire in northern California, August 6, 2014. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Three non-profit organizations involved with wildland fire issued a joint position statement recommending that land managers adopt a more ambitious stance toward hazardous fuels mitigation. The 13-page document was released this week by the Association for Fire Ecology, the International Association of Wildland Fire, and The Nature Conservancy.

The organizations identified costs as one of the main concerns and pointed out that missing from most accounting of wildfire costs are indirect, such as rehabilitation, real estate devaluation, and emergency services — that can be two to 30 times more than the actual expenses to fight the fire.

The paper listed four cost-related issues:

1. SUPPRESSION COSTS INCREASING.The cost of wildfire suppression has continued to increase over the last decade.
2. FIRES ARE COSTING TAXPAYERS MORE. Wildfires are costing taxpayers far more than is typically reported by governments and the media.
3. INVESTMENTS NEEDED. Investment in wildfire hazard mitigation needs to be increased and maintained.
4. FUELS TREATMENTS NEED TO BE TREATED RIGHT. Fuel treatments are supported by current and developing science.

The organizations recommend federal wildfire funding reform, reduction of impediments to hazardous fuels mitigation, emphasizing prescribed fire and wildfires managed for resource benefits, and tracking long-term and multi-sector economic losses caused by wildfire.