Six people die in forest fire in China

This initially was reported on March 3 by Reuters:

BEIJING, March 3 (Reuters) – Six villagers died in central China’s Hunan province as they tried to battle a forest fire in an area ravaged by severe winter storms, state media said on Monday.

The fire broke out on Saturday, trapping more than 200 people in the village of Xitai, Xinhua news agency reported. “The main cause can be attributed to illegal fires set in the forests,” Xinhua quoted Hu Changqing, vice head of the Hunan Forestry Department, as saying.

Forest fires had killed 22 people in the mountainous southern province this year and more than 1,500 forest fires had raged in 89 counties since Feb. 6, Xinhua said.

China’s most bitter winter in decades had left Hunan’s forests vulnerable to fires, Xinhua said, as heavy snowfalls collapsed power lines and tree branches. “The broken tree branches and the heating and lighting facilities left by the snow disaster relief teams in the forest have become very dangerous now and should be cleared as soon as possible,” the agency quoted Xu Minghua, Hunan’s vice governor, as saying.

Fainting fireman sues to get job back

Story in the Associated Press:

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) — A firefighter fired for fainting is suing the city of Saratoga Springs. Nathaniel King lost his job with the city fire department in December when he failed to complete newly required paramedic training, according to a lawsuit filed against the city in state Supreme Court in Saratoga County. Now he’s suing to get his job back and for back pay.

The problem is, needles are his nemesis. During paramedic training, King fainted dead away every time he had to give an injection or start an intravenous line.

In the lawsuit, King says he successfully completed emergency medical technician training before being hired, but the department later increased job requirements to include paramedic training. That meant he had to use needles.

Assistant Fire Chief John Betor said he couldn’t discuss the specifics of King’s case, but he was aware of the lawsuit.

In his court filing, King says Betor tried to help him with his needle aversion. He says he even tried hypnotism on Betor’s advice, but it didn’t help.

Public Safety Commissioner Ronald Kim said he can’t discuss pending litigation.

Mark Rey: states should pay for suppression in roadless areas

Mark Rey, the ex-timber industry lobbyist who is now the Undersecretary of Agriculture overseeing the US Forest Service, has invited states to give input on where roads should be built in national forests. Now he is saying that if the states do not want roads, the states should have to pay the increased costs for fire suppression.

The state of California recently filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service for adopting a policy that would allow increased road building in the four southern California national forests and drilling for oil in areas of the Los Padres National Forest.

More information can be found at the Modesto Bee.

Patrick Henning, RIP

Patrick HenningFrom

Patrick Henning, a Fire Apprentice on the Trabuco RD – Cleveland NF, was killed in a single-vehicle accident last Friday evening (Feb. 29) on his way home from work. He was member of the El Cariso Hotshots this past season and currently worked on the district fuels crew. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Patrick’s family and friends during this difficult time. He will be missed !!!


He was recognized by emergency workers because of his El Cariso Hot Shot shirt, green nomex pants and whites boots he had on.


ORC T43 responded to and extricated USFS Firefighter Patrick Henning after his unfortunate passing as result of a single vehicle traffic accident. He was treated with the full respect of a fallen brother. The picture included is all that needs to be said.


Patrick Henning
Patrick Henning

Services for Pat Henning will be at Ascension Cemetery, 24754 Trabuco Rd., Lake Forest, CA at 1:00 pm Saturday March 8.

More information about his life, his memorial service, and the funeral can be found on the Pat Henning memorial web site.

Our condolences to Pat’s family, and his extended family. I know the El Cariso Hot Shots must be stunned by this. Some comfort is no doubt obtained by the respectful way the firefighters from the Orange County Fire Authority treated him– as a fallen brother. I didn’t know Pat, but I will never forget the picture of him being carried up the hill through the field of lupine flowers, or him, now. From an El Cariso graduate…Rest In Peace, Pat.

Photo is from the memorial web site.

Aldo Leopold died fighting a vegetation fire

Aldo LeopoldYou learn something new every day. Aldo Leopold, considered to be the father of wildlife management, died from a heart attack while fighting a vegetation fire near his house. There are conflicting reports about when, but it was either 1947 or 1948.

Here is the account, according to the Des Moines Register:

On a warm spring weekend in April of 1947 he wrapped up his Madison business early and went with Estella and his daughter, Estella Jr. to the Shack. After breakfast on April 21, they smelled smoke and realized one wing of a brush fire was headed to the pines. The fire rapidly moved to a nearby marsh. Pleas for help by Estella to the local fire department went unheeded. Aldo, while fighting the grass fire, apparently suffered a massive heart attack. By the time he was found, he was dead.

The rest of the above article is worth reading too. It covers his early career working for the US Forest Service out of Albuquerque, getting lost in a blizzard, becoming a professor of game management, and his work at the Forest Products Laboratory at Madison, Wisconsin.

More about Leopold from Wikipedia:

Aldo Leopold (January 11, 1887April 21, 1948) was a United States ecologist, forester, and environmentalist. He was influential in the development of modern environmental ethics and in the movement for wilderness preservation. Aldo Leopold is considered to be the father of wildlife management in the United States and was a life-long fisherman and hunter. Leopold died in 1948 from a heart attack, while fighting a brush fire on a neighbor’s farm.