Even More Photos From USFS Meeting

Storm King Technologies
Storm King Technologies. Photo by Bill Gabbert

This is a new aerial ignition system developed by Jim Roth’s company Storm King Technologies. It uses the same chemicals as the “ping pong ball” machine, but the materials take up less space. Each device is about the size of the end of your thumb and they come on a continuous belt. It also records the location of each incindiary device using GPS.

More Photos From USFS Meeting

Bethany Hannah
Bethany Hannah. Photo by Bill Gabbert

This is Bethany Hannah of Loomis Hannah. She started a company that writes applications for government employees seeking jobs…or promotions. She said she does as much work for higher level employees as she does for lower level folks.

The word on the street is that she does excellent work. She also has a sense of humor, which is helpful when you’re working on something as un-fun as a job application.

Blogging From USFS Chief Officers’ Meeting

Ben Bobic of SEI Industries
Ben Bobic. Photo by Bill Gabbert

I’m at the US Forest Service Chief Officers’ Meeting in Reno…. seeing a bunch of old buddies and making a couple of presentations. There are several sub-groups meeting here, including Engine Captains, Hot Shots, dozer operators, Board of Directors, Forest Aviation Officers, and Line Officers.

I always enjoy the vendors’ exhibits, so I’ll post some pictures of some of the most interesting ones.

The first is Ben Bobic of SEI Industries, showing the Bambi bucket that has an electric pump and snorkel. It can fill the bucket from shallow sources, such as a 1/2 empty foldatank on uneven ground. Ben said they have had the snorkel equipped bucket in their inventory for 3-4 years, but they have not marketed it very actively.

Three Firefighters Injured in Texas

Three firefighters were injured in a vehicle accident in Texas, according to an AP story.

ROBERT LEE, Texas — Firefighters across West and Central Texas continued to battle wildfires Tuesday that burned at least 200,000 acres, injured several people and forced the temporary evacuation of the 1,500 residents of Robert Lee, an official with the Texas Forest Service said.

Fire officials were waiting for daylight Tuesday to assess the scope of one massive wildfire stretching across Sterling, Reagan and Irion counties in Central Texas that could be as large as 500,000 acres, said David Abernathy, an incident commander with the forest service. Airplanes will fly over the fire during daylight Tuesday to obtain more accurate mapping data, he said.

At one point the blaze moved so quickly — fueled by 50 mph winds — that flames were consuming an area the size of “a football field every minute,” Abernathy said.

Three firefighters were injured in Archer County when two fire trucks collided head on after one swerved around a car that pulled out into the road, Abernathy said. One of the firefighters was airlifted to an area hospital, an Archer County dispatcher said. He survived but his condition was unknown.

Virginia Has Already Spent Their Fire Suppression Funds for the Year

Due to fire activity much busier than usual, the Virginia Department of Forestry has already spent their budgeted wildland fire suppression funds for the year. They intend to ask the Governor’s office for more.

From the Richmond Times Dispatch:


“Entering the second week of the spring fire season, the Virginia Department of Forestry already has spent its entire 2008 funds for firefighting.

Preliminary estimates indicate that the outbreak of wildfires across the state two weeks ago that led Gov. Timothy M. Kaine to declare a state of emergency may have cost the department about $500,000, spokesman John Campbell said.

That’s the agency’s budget for firefighting for the entire year, Campbell said. “We are thinking we are tapped out . . . and we are just beginning the year.”

The estimate includes expenses such as overtime payments and gasoline, as well as the use of helicopters and other heavy equipment. It doesn’t include the localities’ expenses, he said.

The National Guard, which was sent to help several counties, may have spent an additional $175,000, Campbell said.

Across the state, officials are still trying to calculate the financial losses from the 348 wildfires two weeks ago.

The fires, fueled by high winds, were caused mostly by downed trees that hit electrical wires. The fires consumed nearly 16,000 acres, about 4,000 more acres than burned in all of 2007, forestry officials said.”