Pennsylvania firefighter pleads guilty to arson

Dupont Volunteer Hose CompanyA volunteer firefighter in northeast Pennsylvania has pleaded guilty to setting 13 fires in Laflin, Pittston, and Dupont while he was a firefighter with the Dupont Volunteer Hose Company. Six of them were vegetation fires.

Below are excerpts from an article in the Times Leader:

A volunteer firefighter turned serial arsonist must pay tens of thousands in restitution — with more to come — after pleading guilty to charges stemming from a number of 2012 fires.

David Charles Donnora, 25, of Pittston, entered guilty pleas Monday to arson, burglary and burning charges before Luzerne County Judge David W. Lupas, court records indicate. He must make more than $20,000 in restitution in connection with two of the blazes, court papers say, but that figure is likely to climb as restitution in at least two other cases remains uncalculated.

Donnora is scheduled to be sentenced April 27.

Donnora confessed to state police during an interview about the Dec. 10 fire at 251 Main Street, Dupont, police say. He was the only firefighter from the Dupont department who did not appear to be interviewed by state police the day after the fire.

He allegedly told police he set the Dec. 10 fire and 12 others because he enjoyed battling them and responded to each one he set.

The fires Donnora allegedly admitted to setting included two Dupont structure fires; two separate fires at the same unoccupied building and a trailer fire in Pittston Township; and six brush fires and a railroad tie fire in Laflin.

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Prescribed fire at Lake Meredith

Lake Meredith prescribed fire

Firefighters at Lake Meredith National Recreation Area north of Amarillo, Texas (map) completed the 500-acre Mullinaw Crossing unit of a 4,500-acre prescribed fire project on February 21. So far 1,700 acres have been burned. The objectives are to decrease the amount of fuel that could burn in the event of a wildfire, thus minimizing the risk to surrounding communities, and to work toward the restoration of the mixed grass prairie that was native to the area before European settlement.

They had some help from their neighbors, including Chickasaw National Recreational Area, the Bureau of Land Management, and fire departments from Hutchinson County, Fritch, and Crutch.

Lake Meredith prescribed fire

Lake Meredith prescribed fire

Lake Meredith prescribed fire

Lake Meredith prescribed fire

Lake Meredith prescribed fire

All photos are provided by the National Park Service, including the one below that shows the area without a pesky fire in the foreground.

Lake Meredith

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Throwback Thursday: The future of wildfire management — The Minority Report?

For Throwback Thursday, we’re reprising an article we published January 31, 2013:

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Minority Report

A scene from the movie Minority Report, starring Tom Cruise

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which is affiliated with the Department of Homeland Security, must have seen the movie Minority Report many times. The video below which been around for a couple of years teases how the lab is developing future work environments for the emergency management community called Precision Information Environments (or PIEs). PIEs will hopefully provide tailored access to information and decision support capabilities in a system that supports the multiple user roles, contexts, and phases of emergency management, planning, and response.

Do you think the windshield of a fire vehicle will ever be able to instantly transform into a huge computer monitor?

Thanks go out to Jim

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Uncharacteristic Wildfire

This image was distributed by “USFS Fire-California” via their Twitter account. Often we see politicians and media personnel conflate wildfire prevention with fuel management. Now it seems that the U.S. Forest Service is in the same boat. And it looks like there is going to be an effort to train the public to understand a new term — “uncharacteristic wildfire”.

Uncharacteristic Wildfires

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Tasmania fire requires evacuations

map fire George Town, Tasmania

The red dots represent heat produced by a fire in northern Tasmania east of George Town, March 4, 2015.

A 1,700-acre wildfire in northern Tasmania, an island state south of the Australian mainland, forced dozens of residents to evacuate Wednesday afternoon, local time. The fire started Tuesday afternoon during strong winds and was still burning actively on Wednesday, prompting firefighters to call for Bomber 390 (aka Tanker 131), the C-130H air tanker that has been stationed across the Bass Strait at Avalon, Victoria during the down under summer. This map shows the approximate location of the drop made by the air tanker east of George Town, Tasmania.

Authorities said on Wednesday the fire was expected to flare up again on Thursday, when winds are expected to pick up.

‘This fire will be difficult to control,’ the Tasmania Fire Service said in a statement. ‘Burning embers, falling on the township of Lefroy will threaten (homes) before the main fire.’

flight path of Tanker 131

The flight path of Tanker 131 to and from a fire in Tasmania. Down under it is known as Bomber 390.

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