Wildfire morning briefing, September 14, 2012

Obama campaign contest winners

Three telecom companies to pay $12 million for 2007 fire

The California Public Utilities Commission has reached an agreement with Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint in which will each company pay $4 million for the ignition of the 2007 Malibu Canyon Fire, which destroyed 10 homes, burned 3,836 acres, while injuring three firefighters.

Utah power company being sued for starting fire

About 100 property owners have filed a lawsuit against Rocky Mountain Power for starting the Wood Hollow Fire which destroyed 52 structures and left one man dead in June. A fire investigator determined that the fire, which was south of Salt Lake City and north of Mt. Pleasant, was caused by arcing between two high-voltage lines. The power company claims the lawsuit is unnecessary because they are offering cash settlements to land owners.

Smokejumper dines with President Obama

Obama campaign contest winners
Boise smokejumper Ben Oakleaf and his mother dined with President and Mrs. Obama

A smokejumper from Boise, Idaho was one of three people who won a contest sponsored by the Obama campaign, for which the prize was dinner with the President. Each of the three winners brought a guest for the August 20 meal in Washington, DC, and smokejumper Ben Oakleaf in the photo above brought his mother.

Here is the way the campaign described Mr. Oakleaf:

Winner Ben Oakleaf is a wildfire smoke jumper from Idaho, and described as “proud to have a President who supports the environment and stands up for the middle class.” He brought his mother Judy, a retired high school English teacher.

Mr. Oakleaf is one of the lead trainers of rookies at the Boise smokejumper base.

Here is a link to photo which shows some of the other winners, which were a music professor from North Carolina and an assistant high school principal from Florida.

Insurance company creates their own fire department

The September 24 issue of Fortune magazine has an article describing how some insurance companies are dispatching firefighters to protect the homes of some of their high-end customers if they are threatened by an approaching fire. Chartis, a division of AIG, previously contracted with the Bozeman, Montana based Wildfire Defense Systems to provide fire protection, but in 2010 created its own internal fire department. The company has 14 firefighters who this year have taken their 7 engines to 12 fires in the western United States.

Thanks go out to Kelly

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, Bill Gabbert now writes about it from the Black Hills. Google+

2 thoughts on “Wildfire morning briefing, September 14, 2012”

  1. Ben Oakleaf is a fine individual and great smokejumper trainer! A fine representative of the fire community to dine with President and Mrs. Obama!! Excellent!!

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