Prescribed burning in Arkansas

The Arkansas News Bureau has a thoughtful article about prescribed fire as one of the tools used for managing forests. It is written by Joe Mosby, the retired news editor of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission. Here is an excerpt:

“This is what those earlier people found in Arkansas, said John Andre, ecologist with the Ozark National Forest. He told of records from the 1829-1845 period in the Government Land Office that said (this area) was surveyed with an average of 29 trees per acre, and these had an average diameter of 14 inches. Today, the choked forest has anywhere from 60 to 100 or more trees to the acre.


“In those days, they drove wagons through these forests. Can you imagine trying that today?” Andre said.

Historical accounts of Southern woodlands include descriptions of enormous trees and open, grassy floors. These accounts often detail the abundance of animals that inhabited the woodlands as well. Take a walk in the Ozarks today and you’ll likely find a dense canopy of smaller, shade-loving trees instead of a more open forest landscape.”

An article at, also about prescribed fire, has a different point of view from an official with the Arkansas Sierra Club. An excerpt:

“Some don’t agree with the controlled-burn policy.


Tom McKinney, forest chairman with the Arkansas Sierra Club, said the Forest Service is burning too much Arkansas forest. He said the Forest Service is mistakenly trying to convert the forest from an uplands oak forest to an oak-pine savannah.

Much of the forest doesn’t need fire to rejuvenate itself, he said. The wet climate rots dead trees and leaves unlike Western forests that are in dryer climates.

He said the Sierra Club believes the Forest Service should revert to burn levels of the 1980s, about 20, 000 acres a year.

“We think their policy is to spend money in the guise of restoring biodiversity,” McKinney said.”

NM: Trigo fire

The Incident Management Team on the Trigo fire southeast of Albuquerque, NM, just made the first map available since the fire made the big runs of April 30 through May 2. The acreage now is 13,790 and the Team is calling it 35% contained. The weather has moderated, making it possible for firefighters to make more progress. They are reporting that “less than 100 homes were damaged”.

The map shows the progression of the fire day by day. Click on it to see a larger version. (The map, which was on Inciweb, is no longer availiable.)

Reno helicopter disabled

In February the Washoe County sheriff’s office (Reno, NV area) unveiled a helicopter they had just finished outfitting for firefighting. Now due to a rotor strike it will be out of service for much of the fire season.

Initially reported as a main rotor “bird strike”, it turns out that the rotor struck the ground when taking off during training on April 3. The helicopter will need to have a full overhaul of the drive train at a cost of approximately $143,000. If they can find parts.

I’m not sure how you would mistake a main rotor striking the ground for a “bird strike”. Somebody has some explaining to do.

File photo of the helicopter in it’s better days, courtesy of

Fire roundup

Santa Anita Fire, Sierra Madre, California
This fire appears to mostly wrapped up. All evacuated areas, including the Chantry Flats area, have been re-opened without restrictions. They are calling it 93% contained.

Apache Fire, San Bernardino NF, California
This 700 acre fire in the San Jacinto Wilderness is visible from many areas, including Palm Springs. Aviation operations yesterday were hampered by very strong winds and a low ceiling caused by a marine layer. Some crews are hiking 10 miles to get to the fire, which is 5% contained. It is burning around patches of snow and has started to back down the massive slope thousands of feet above Palm Springs.

X Fire, Kaibab NF, Arizona
The winds yesterday were much weaker than the 40 MPH gusts predicted and the firefighters have stopped the spread for now at 2,030 acres. They canceled the incoming Type 2 Incident management team.

Trigo Fire, Cibola NF, 25 miles southeast of Albuquerque, New Mexico
This 2-week old fire came to life again yesterday and pushed by 30 MPH winds with gusts up to 50 MPH, grew substantially, causing more evacuations. Today’s weather should be similar, with winds of 34 and gusts to 48; the relative humidity will be 9%. .

Previously the fire was 4,800 acres, but it more than doubled in size yesterday with the current acreage at 11,368. The map below shows that the fire has now burned outside the national forest. Evacuations are taking place in in the Torreon and Tajique areas, affecting 400-500 residents.

The New Mexico Incident Management Team was released on April 29, and a Type 3 IMT (Gesser) assumed command at 0600. Yesterday they ordered a Type 1 IMT.

The map below, updated last night, shows in red the heat detected by satellites within the last 24 hours. The yellow area is the fire perimeter as reported today on GEOMAC. Click on it to see a larger version.

The map below shows the fire perimeter as reported today on GEOMAC.

Minn.: Firefighter dies on the way to a grass fire


PINE CITY, Minn. — Pine City firefighter Jeremy Jylka, 34, died Tuesday afternoon en route to a grass fire.

According to the Pine City Sheriff’s Office, Jylka collapsed while riding in the fire truck on the way to a fire between Hinckley and Pine City. Jylka stopped breathing and another firefighter started to perform CPR.

Jylka, 34, was pronounced dead at Kanabec Hospital. He joined the fire department in 2007 and is survived by his wife, Kelly and their 4-year-old daughter, Anica.


From MyFox Twin Cities