Department of Interior Bureaus reportedly banned from using Twitter

Gizmodo is reporting that all bureaus in the Department of Interior, including the U.S. Park Service, have been banned from using Twitter. This may or may not be related to a retweet by the NPS on Friday that showed pictures of the crowds at the 2009 and 2017 Presidential inaugurations.

From Gizmodo. Click to enlarge.

Gizmodo said the text below is from an internal NPS email:

All:

We have received direction from the Department through [the Washington Support Office] that directs all [Department of Interior] bureaus to immediately cease use of government Twitter accounts until further notice.

PWR parks that use Twitter as part of their crisis communications plans need to alter their contingency plans to accommodate this requirement. Please ensure all scheduled posts are deleted and automated cross-platform social media connections to your twitter accounts are severed. The expectation is that there will be absolutely no posts to Twitter.

In summary, this Twitter stand down means we will cease use of Twitter immediately. However, there is no need to suspend or delete government accounts until directed.

This does not affect use of other approved social media platforms. We expect further guidance to come next week and we will share accordingly.

Thanks for your help!

Presumably this ban includes messages about road conditions and real time information about fires and other emergencies.

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Smokey Bear becomes an issue at Senate Hearing

As the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources conducted a hearing to consider the nomination of Montana Representative Ryan Zinke to be the new Secretary of the Interior, Smokey Bear became an issue.

The Committee also discussed the Chimney Tops 2 Fire that in November burned into Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

Chimney Tops 2 Fire discussed at Senate Confirmation Hearing

Today the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources conducted a hearing to consider the nomination of Montana Representative Ryan Zinke to be the new Secretary of the Interior. I watched a portion of it and two items caught my attention.

Mr. Zinke said in no uncertain terms that he was against turning over federal land to states or other organizations. In fact it has been reported that he resigned from the Republican National Committee this summer when they insisted on making land divestiture a part of their platform.

The other issue was the Chimney Tops 2 Fire that in November burned from Great Smoky Mountains National Park into Gatlinburg, Tennessee. We captured this 3-minute portion of the hearing in the video above. The fire killed 14 people and destroyed 2,013 homes and 53 commercial structures. Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander wanted assurance from Mr. Zinke that he would commit to “paying close attention” to a scheduled review of the incident “so that we can see if there are any lessons to be learned for the future”. Mr. Zinke said, “Senator, I will absolutely commit to that.”

Mr. Alexander also made a pitch to increase the funding for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, arguing that the agreement when the land bought by the people and given to the federal government stipulated that entrance fees could not be charged. He said Yellowstone NP has half as many visitors as Smoky MNP but twice the budget. The Senator did not mention that Yellowstone is almost four times as large, 522,427 acres vs. 2,219,791 acres

After the hearing concludes a video recording of the entire event will be available at the Committee’s website.

For the most current information about the Chimney Tops 2 Fire at Gatlinburg, see our articles tagged “Chimney 2 Fire”.

Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Three firefighters killed in Chile wildfire

At least four other firefighters were injured.

Three wildland firefighters were killed Sunday January 15 while battling a fire in the commune of Vichuquén, Maule Region of Chile. An ongoing drought and variable winds led to extreme fire behavior when the accident occurred.

According to Cooperative.cl the deceased were identified as:

  • Ricardo Salas, head of the Maqui 3 brigade,
  • Wilfredo Salgado, crew chief Maqui 3 and,
  • Sergio Faúndez, head of the second crew Maqui 6.

Below is another quote from the above website. It is translated by Google and is a little rough:

The manager of Fire Protection Conaf, Andrés Mascareñ or, noted that 14 years ago no such fact occurred in the region and said that activate the relevant protocols to protect personnel.

“Since 2003 we did not have an accident of this level and all these years we have been presenting a critical situation of forest fires and we have faced them properly,” said the executive.

“According to the protocol we have, when situations such as these occur, the tasks are stopped and measures of safeguarding the personnel are taken,” added Mascareño.

Because this incident has consumed about 50 hectares of pine and presents a conflictive behavior, given the high temperatures and wind generating new outbreaks of fire, the Municipality of Maule decreed for the commune of Vichuquén Red Alert until conditions so They deserve it.

Firefighters in Chile have been very busy in recent weeks. The pilot of a single engine air tanker was killed December 28 when the aircraft crashed about 15 kilometers from the town of Santa Juana after working on a wildfire in the Bío Bío region.

Google translation of the above tweet:

President Bachelet lamented death of Brigadiers of Conaf and expressed its appreciation for the work carried out.

Our sincere condolences go out to the families and coworkers.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to @Tragahumosfire.

Typos or errors, report them HERE.

Currandoole Fire burns 6,000 acres near Tarago, NSW

Above: A helicopter flies over the Currandooley Fire near Tarago. New South Wales Rural Fire Service photo.

The Currandoole Fire has burned 6,054 acres (2,450 ha) and one structure in the Boro and Mount Fairy area south of Tarago, New South Wales.

On Tuesday a severe thunderstorm moved across the fire and dropped some rain, but not enough to extinguish the blaze. Firefighters will continue to strengthen containment lines Tuesday night ahead of challenging hot, dry and windy conditions predicted for Wednesday.

The DC-10 and RJ85 air tankers were dispatched and assisted firefighters on the ground.

Currandooley Fire map
Map produced by an infrared line scanner of the Currandooley Fire near Tarago, New South Wales, Australia.