Wildfire Awareness Week, 2014

Alabaugh Fire

Alabaugh Fire. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Many states observe Wildfire Awareness Week, with goals of raising the public awareness of wildfires and promoting actions that reduce the risk from wildfire to homes and communities.

  • Arizona: Southwest Wildfire Awareness Week, March 30-April 5, 2014
  • California: always the first week in May, May 4-10, 2014
  • Colorado: Flood Safety and Wildfire Awareness Week, March 16-21, 2014.
  • Florida: second week in April
  • Idaho: first full week in June
  • Kansas: February 16-22, 2014
  • Michigan: Wildfire Safety & Awareness Week, March 16-22, 2014
  • Montana: June 2-8, 2014
  • Nebraska: March 24-28, 2014
  • New Mexico: Southwest Wildfire Awareness Week, March 30-April 5, 2014
  • Nevada: Wildfire Awareness Month, May 1-31, 2014
  • Oregon: (first full week of May) May 7-11, 2014
  • Pennsylvania: March 16-22, 2014
  • South Dakota: May 2-9, 2014
  • Washington: May 5-11, 2013

The seven states and four Canadian provinces in the Northeast Forest Fire Protection Commission’s Compact will observe Wildfire Awareness Week April 20-26, 2014. This will include the states of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York, as well as the Canadian provinces of Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland Labrador.

If you have updated information about exactly when states will observe Wildfire Awareness Week this year, or standard time periods each year, let us know.

The International Association of Wildland Fire has proclaimed the weeks of May 1–7 (northern hemisphere) and October 1–7 (southern hemisphere) to be “Global Wildfire Awareness Week”. The NPFA will observe May 3, 2014 as the first “National Wildfire Community Preparedness Day”.

Handout materials

  • Organizations can order many free Firewise outreach materials (including brochures, posters, bookmarks, DVDs, door hangers, stickers, and an interactive Firewise Challenge Exhibit Kit) from http://firewise.org/catalog.aspx.
  • A variety of wildfire prevention materials are available to local, state, tribal and federal partners to purchase from http://www.symbols.gov.
  • The U.S. Fire Administration also has some free publications and handouts.

Red Flag Warnings, March 31, 2014

wildfire Red Flag Warning
Warnings for elevated wildfire danger have been issued by the National Weather Service for areas in Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Arizona, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, and Alabama.

The Red Flag Warning map was current as of 9:17 a.m. MDT on Monday. Red Flag Warnings can change throughout the day as the National Weather Service offices around the country update and revise their forecasts. For the most current data, visit this NWS site.


Wildfire briefing, March 30, 2014

Prescribed fire smoke in Manhattan, Kansas

Prescribed fire smoke in Manhattan, Kansas, March 29, 2014. Photo by Eric Ward.

Prescribed fire smoke in the Flint Hills

In light of the discussion on Wildfire Today about prescribed fire as a tourist attraction in the Flint Hills of Kansas, Eric Ward sent us the above photo that he took Saturday afternoon in smoky Manhattan, Kansas. He explained that many of the ranchers in the area conduct extensive burning projects this time of the year in order to enhance weight gains of cattle if they plan to stock pastures in May. On days when the relative humidity and wind speed are within an acceptable range, the evidence of the burning is very visible in the atmosphere, especially if weather for the previous week or so has been bouncing between snow and red flag weather conditions, as it has this year.

Colorado report recommends contracting for air tankers and helicopters

Colorado Firefighting Air CorpsA long-awaited report about aerial firefighting by state agencies in Colorado was released Friday by the Colorado Firefighting Air Corps (CFAC). Some of the more significant recommendations include:

  • Increase the number of Single Engine Air Tankers (SEAT) on exclusive use contracts from two to four.
  • Contract for the exclusive use of four Type 3 or larger rotor-wing aircraft. (Type 3 helicopters can carry 100 to 300 gallons.)
  • Contract for the exclusive use of two Type 2 or larger air tankers. (Type 2 air tankers can carry 1,800 to 3,000 gallons). The contingency, if the State is unable to contract for two air tankers, is to contract for two helitankers, or a combination of one fixed-wing air tanker and one helitanker.

More details are at Fire Aviation.

Arizona seeks to immunize the state from liability from wildfires

A bill that was approved unanimously Tuesday by the Arizona Senate Appropriations Committee, House Bill 2343, would exempt the state and state employees from prosecution for harm resulting from the action, or inaction by state employees on state lands. Hundreds of millions of dollars in claims have been filed by the families of the 19 firefighters killed on the Yarnell Hill Fire and by property owners whose homes burned. The fire was managed by the state of Arizona in June, 2013.

Firefighters assisting with Oso landslide

Personnel that usually can be found at wildfires are helping to manage the response to the tragic landslide at Oso, Washington. We have reports that some of the resources assisting include Washington Incident Management Team #4 (a Type 2 team), miscellaneous overhead, and some Washington Department of Natural Resources chain saw teams. The IMTeam was dispatched on March 27.

New topic from “Safety Matters”

The “Safety Matters” group has released their “Topic #5″, and they are seeking input from wildland firefighters. Below is an excerpt:

…2014 marks the 20th Anniversary of South Canyon and the 38th Anniversary of Battlement Creek. Both fires fit the model of firefighters dying in a brush fuel type, on a slope, during hot and dry conditions.

The loss of the Granite Mountain Hotshots indicates that a significant accident occurs every 18 to 20 years. Is there a reoccurring cycle, and if so why? Could it be related to a cyclic turnover of firefighter culture, training and attitude? What are the thoughts of Safety Matters readers?

Bushfire season ends in New South Wales

The bushfire season has reached its official end in New South Wales.

Tribute to author Norman Maclean

The Daily Beast has reprinted an excellent essay that Pete Dexter wrote for Esquire in 1981 about Norman Maclean. It explores a side of of the author that is not revealed in his book about firefighters, Young Men and Fire. Mr. Dexter spent quite a bit of time with Mr. Maclean, who at that time was writing the final chapter. Mr. Maclean also wrote A River Runs Through It, which was made into a movie starring Robert Redford and Brad Pitt. The Esperanza Fire, a book written by his son John N. Maclean, is working its way towards becoming a movie.

U.S. National Guard assists with fire in Puerto Rico

From the AP:

Puerto Rico has enlisted the U.S. National Guard to help extinguish a fire that has ravaged a forest in the island’s central region. Firefighting Chief Angel Crespo says that about 40 percent of the Modelo Forest in the town of Adjuntas has been destroyed. Authorities say they believe the fire was intentionally set and that it has consumed up to 290 acres (117 hectares). A U.S. National Guard helicopter helped dump water over the area on Friday.

Fantastic photo


CAL FIRE moves to peak staffing in Southern California

CAL FIREDespite some rain in march, fire activity remains high

Despite recent rainfall, CAL FIRE continues to respond to a significant increase in wildfires, especially in Central and Southern California where rain totals have done little to combat drought conditions. Starting Monday, March 31, CAL FIRE will move to peak staffing levels in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

“Even with rain in March, our fire activity has remained 200 percent more over average statewide,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “The rain has been great, but it has not been enough to make up for our dry winter and California’s drought.

While CAL FIRE never was able to transition out of fire season in 2013, the return to peak staffing means all equipment and facilities will be staffed around the clock. The move comes several months earlier than normal, but is needed as spring temperatures rise and dry out conditions even more.

Between January 1 and March 22, CAL FIRE has responded to over 800 wildfires that have charred nearly 2,300 acres. In an average year for the same time period, CAL FIRE would typically respond to under 275 wildfires for approximately 1,000 acres.


A nozzle that does not need a hose?

If the nozzle in the video were real, it would revolutionize firefighting. Unfortunately it was created with special effects by Daniel Hashimoto, the father of three-year old James. Mr. Hashimoto, a DreamWorks animator based in Los Angeles, employs the skills he uses at work to make incredibly realistic-looking short videos featuring James performing super hero type stunts.

Continue reading


Hotshot crew history

El Cariso Hot Shots

El Cariso Hot Shots, Ron Campbell Superintendent. 1970. (click to enlarge)

A history of the hotshot crews in the United States has been updated and is available for download at the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center.

Brit Rosso distributed some information about the document:

You might remember the first version of the Hotshot Crew History book we ever saw was at the second National IHC workshop in Phoenix back in the early 90′s. Tony Sciacca with Prescott HS helped to assemble it. Over the years there have been many attempts to get the book updated with limited success.

Dave Provencio was the latest Supt to take it on and worked on keeping the project alive. He worked with Johnny Klamath, who is the current National IHC Steering Committee chair to get it updated. Johnny came to me last fall to see what we could do to help him get it converted into an e-book and up on the internet.

The final product is now posted on our LLC web site and will be released to all of the current IHC Supts soon. The book is in three sections;

1 – Crew History
2 – Hotshot History Articles
3 – Interviews with old Supts

When you open it in a PDF reader, click on the bookmark icon on the left side, and then you can click on the + icons to open or close different sections.


Thanks and a hat tip go out to Jim.