Wildfire briefing, January 3, 2014

Drought Monitor 12-31-2013

Drought Monitor

The Drought Monitor shows that most of California, Nevada, and southern Idaho are in either a severe or extreme drought. This could be an interesting winter fire season if it continues.

Drought Monitor 12-31-2013

Arizona State Forestry Division wants to almost double budget

The state organization responsible for managing the Yarnell Hill Fire is requesting a budget for the Arizona State Forestry Division that is nearly double what they received in the fiscal year that ends June 30. According to an article at Azcentral, State Forester Scott Hunt wants to add $6.2 million to this year’s budget of $7.3 million. The additional funds would be used to hire 15 additional staffers, replace firefighting and communications equipment, and allocate $2 million to remove hazardous vegetation on state and private lands. The budget request was filed in October, after 19 firefighters died on the Yarnell Hill Fire but before the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health issued their report on the fire and recommended a $550,000 fine be imposed on the Arizona State Forestry Division as a result of the fatalities on the fire.

Retired smokejumper interviewed on Montana Public Radio

Retired smokejumper Wayne Williams is featured in an interview on Montana Public Radio. In the 11-minute recording Mr. Williams speaks eloquently from his decades of experience. It is refreshing to hear someone interviewed about wildland fire in the media who knows the subject matter. The audio is HERE, and a short article with his photo is HERE.

Army attempts to prevent wildfires at Schofield Barracks

Raising the berm at Schofield Barracks
A soldier with 2nd Platoon, 523rd Engineer Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, uses a D7 bulldozer to increase the size of the berm so it is a 20 feet by 20 feet dimension. (U.S. Army photo by: 1st Lt. Lucian Myers, 2nd Platoon, 523rd Engineer Company, 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command)

In October and November two wildfires started at a range used for controlled detonations to dispose of unexploded ordnance at Schofield Barracks west of Honolulu, Hawaii. The fire that started October 15 burned more than 250 acres. It was fought for five days, then two days later rekindled and was finally extinguished October 28. Another fire in November burned about 30 acres.

In order to reduce the chances of vegetation fires igniting from the explosions, soldiers are using dozers to increase the height of the dirt berm surrounding the range from 7 feet to 22 feet. During the project, which was conducted 24 hours a day between December 9 and 13, they moved 5,800 cubic yards of dirt.

Wildfire Tweets

Below are a couple of messages on Twitter that had photos of fires — at Valparaiso, Chile and Lake Tahoe, California (which may be a prescribed fire).

 

Thanks and a hat tip go out to Dick and Chris

Author: Bill Gabbert

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