Two fires in California burn 36 homes and 16,000+ acres

Two wildfires in California are burning tens of thousands of acres and dozens of homes. Here is an excerpt from KABC-TV in Los Angeles:

TEHACHAPI, Calif. (KABC) — Fire crews are working to stop two wildfires in Kern County that have burned dozens of homes, forcing Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to declare a state emergency.

The largest is the Bull Fire, just north of Kernville, which has burned more than 15,000 acres since Monday and destroyed six homes. It is 5 percent contained.

The West Fire in Tehachapi burned more than 1,230 acres and is threatening more than 100 other buildings. It is 0 percent contained.

At least 30 homes have burned in the area of Old West Ranch community. Officials say the number may grow after fire crews get a chance to go out and assess the damage.

The following video was uploaded to YouTube this morning and reportedly is of two wildfires in California but fails to say which ones. But it is a pretty good assumption that it refers to the Bull and West fires. It has some excellent footage of two Aero Union P-3A air tankers, numbers 21 and 25, making some great drops.

Dominic Point fire photographed by astronaut

Dominic Point Fire, Montana
Photographed by astronaut aboard the Space Station at 4 p.m. July 25, one hour after the fire was first reported

An astronaut aboard the International Space Station photographed the Dominic Point fire south of Missoula, MT about one hour after the fire was first reported on Sunday, July 25. The fire quickly grew to 897 acres but as Erica, a weather spotter who lives two miles from the fire reported to us in comments, rain and higher humidities moved in on Tuesday morning resulting in a very quiet fire since then.

The photo was shot with a Nikon D3X digital camera using an effective 1000 mm lens.

CAL FIRE’s video fire situation report

CALFIRE PIO Daniel BerlantYesterday and today CAL FIRE, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, posted wildfire situation reports on their YouTube channel. The reports are one to two minutes long and use state of the art graphics and production values to provide information about fires currently burning as well as the predicted fire weather. The videos have the feel of an evening newscast and are very well done.

These two videos were hosted on screen by CAL FIRE’s Department Information Officer Daniel Berlant. He is shown in the picture on the right, which was borrowed from his CALFIRE_PIO Twitter page.

Today’s edition is below, and here is a link to yesterday’s report.

This is an excellent way to communicate with the public. I can imagine that when a major fire affects a densely populated area, these video briefings, if they are specific enough to provide important, needed information, will be immensely popular and will be viewed by many thousands of viewers. Many. Thousands.

We hope that CAL FIRE will issue these reports daily during the fire season.

OK. Now, what about the other wildfire agencies? If the cash-strapped state of California can do this, why can’t the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise? You could raise the awareness of wildfire issues, encourage fire prevention and fire safe residences, and even throw in a message from Smokey Bear. The federal land management agencies have a boatload of fire information personnel scattered around the country. I can’t think of very many PIO type duties that could be more valuable than this.

Photos of the new jet-powered air tanker being tested

air tanker 40 test at Missoula

Bill Moss was kind enough to take these photos and send them to us, of Neptune’s new air tanker 40 being tested at the Missoula airport today. He was not aware it was going to be tested but was able to quickly take a couple of shots. Thanks Bill!

The aircraft is a BAe-146 that was converted by Tronos from a passenger airliner into an air tanker.

After taking these he said he called Neptune to ask when the next test would occur, but they don’t want to give out that information, saying only “keep watching”.

air tanker 40 test

Like we said yesterday, we are still offering a free Wildfire Today mug for the first very good photos of Tanker 40 being tested. Send your photos to bill d o t wildfiretoday a t g mail d o t c o m. If you can’t figure out that spam-defeating address, drop us a line at our Contact Us page.

Below is another photo from a different source of Tanker 40 on the tarmac at Missoula today.

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