In the United States, at least, 2009 was less busy than your average year, in terms of the number of fires and the total acres burned. In the lower 49 states, 2,720,903 acres burned, which is the lowest number since 2004.
But it was a fairly busy year for wildland fire news. We have put together some of the stories we consider to be the most newsworthy. They are listed here, and below you will have a chance to vote on the ones that you consider to be the top stories. This list does not include the line of duty deaths which we reported earlier, except in the case of the Andrew Palmer fatality investigation report which exposed a great many issues affecting firefighter safety, and survival following an accident.
Feb. 8: Black Saturday fires kill 173 people in Australia
Mar. 7: Raymond Lee Oyler convicted and sentenced to death for Esperanza fire deaths
Apr. 20: Series of 5 articles on wildfire in L. A. Times wins Pulitzer Prize
Apr. 23: 76 homes burn in North Myrtle Beach, SC fire
May 6: Jesusita fire near Santa Barbara; 4 FF entrapments; 77 homes burn.
Jun. 27: San Diego Gas and Electric agrees to pay $686 million to insurance companies that paid claims to their customers for the 2007 Witch Creek, Guejito and Rice Canyon fires.
Jul. 19: Dozens of firefighters are sickened by Norovirus at Redrock and Trailer 1 fires north of Reno.
Aug. 22: Eight members of the Klamath Hot Shots were injured when thier crew carrier was involved in a crash on Highway 99 in northern California.
Aug. 26: The 90-acre Big Meadow prescribed fire in Yosemite National Park escapes and eventually burns 7,418 acres.
Aug. 26: The Station fire started near Los Angeles, eventually burning 160,000 acres. A controversy erupted over accusations that the US Forest Service used less than aggressive tactics on day two of the fire, causing it to become larger than it would have if more resources had been assigned.
Nov. 3: Andrew Palmer fatality report released; many issues identified related to emergency medical care and transportation.
November 8: David Monington pleads guilty to forging wildland fire training certificates.
Dec. 3: USDA Inspector General finds no misconduct in Esperanza fire deaths
(no specific date) Very Large Air Tankers play a significant role in fire suppression in California, and possibly Australia.
Martin Mars: http://wildfiretoday.com/?s=%22martin+mars%22
And now YOU have a chance to select the stories that you consider to be the most significant. Choose FOUR from the list below.