Video describes the impacts of the Carlton Complex on the local residents

In July of this year four fires in north-central Washinton combined into what was called the Carlton Complex. By the time the fire was contained, 300 homes and 256,108 acres had burned, becoming the largest fire in the state’s history.

This video documents some of the effects on the residents, during and after the massive fire.

Carlton Complex

Carlton Complex as seen from the Incident Base, July 17, 2014. IMT photo.

We showed you another excellent video about the Carlton Complex in August.


Red Flag Warnings, November 24, 2014

Red Flag Warning wildfire

Red Flag Warning, November 24, 2014

Some areas in southern California will be under a Red Flag Warning until 6 p.m. PST Wednesday for strong gusty winds and low humidities.

The winds today are expected to be northeast at 20 to 30 mph with gusts to 45 in the mountains and below the canyons and passes, increasing Monday night and Tuesday morning with gusts up to 60 mph. The relative humidities will be as low as five percent during the day with poor overnight recovery.

The low humidities will continue through Thanksgiving with locally gusty east winds in the mountains and valleys of Riverside and San Diego Counties.


Multiple small lightning fires in southern California

Strawberry Fire,

Strawberry Fire, Rim Forest, San Bernardino National Forest. USFS photo.

While some areas in northern California have received more than two inches of rain in the last 24 hours (as of 1 p.m. PST, November 22) lightning has caused at least five small fires on the San Bernardino National Forest in the south part of the state on Friday and Saturday.

From Inciweb:

November 21:

1. 7:46 am– “Strawberry” – located near Rim Forest, single snag with 5’x5′ ground fire – contained

2. 9:18 am – “North Face 1″ – located north of San Jacinto Peak, single snag with 5’x5′ ground fire

3. 11:40 am – “North Face 2″ – located north of San Jacinto Peak, single snag with 5’x5′ ground fire

4. 3:30 pm – “Lackey”- located near Camp Lackey north of San Jacinto Peak, single snag with 5’x5′ ground fire

November 22:

5. 10:00 am – “Keller” – located near Keller Peak Road, 1 manzanita bush and 5×5 ground fire

Precipitation california

Precipitation in the 24 hour period ending at 1 p.m. PST, November 22, 2014.


Wildfire briefing, November 21, 2014

FDNY Incident Management Team deploys to Buffalo, NY

The New York City Fire Department’s Incident Management Team has deployed to Buffalo, New York to assist in the organization and management of snow removal efforts following this week’s record snowfall. Friday morning at 5:45 the team departed from the Randalls Island Fire Academy after being requested by the New York State Division of Homeland Security and in coordination with the New York City Office of Emergency Management.

The FDNY saw the benefits of an IMT when they received help from Type 1 interagency IMTs after the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001. Soon thereafter they began training personnel to fill the positions for a team. Since then, the FDNY IMT has responded to multiple national emergencies including forest fires; to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina; in Broome County, NY following Hurricane Irene and in New York after Hurricane Sandy.

Leaf burning leads to felony charge

A 74-year old man was charged with a felony after his leaf burning caused a wildfire north of Allentown, Pennsylvania on November 4. A police officer used a fire extinguisher to keep the fire, which had spread to within eight feet of a neighbor’s garage, from burning the structure.

“[Dale] Schaeffer failed to call the police or fire department, and continued to let the fire burn out of control in a reckless and dangerous manner,” the officer wrote in his affidavit of probable cause.

Mr. Schaeffer was arraigned Thursday before District Judge Robert Hawke on a felony charge of reckless burning and summary dangerous burning.

Grass fires occurring in Oklahoma

Cured grasses in Oklahoma are providing fuel for an increased number of wildfires in the state.

Brush fire at nudist resort

Firefighters suppressed a wildfire at the Sunny Rest Lodge on Thursday, in Carbon County, Pennsylvania.

Country Fire Service to cease aerial firefighting if a drone is spotted

State aviation operations manager David Pearce said South Australia’s Country Fire Service will cease all aerial operations at bushfires if an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is spotted in the area.

“Helicopters are particularly susceptible,” Mr Pearce said.

“If the drone is sucked into the intake of the jet engines, or goes into the tail rotor, then it’s probably curtains for the helicopter.”

Gyrocopter crash kills pilot, starts fire

The crash of a gyrocopter near Gatton in Queensland, Australia killed the pilot and started a bushfire on Friday.

Queensland helicopters to go high tech

QGAir Rescue

QGAir Rescue. Photo: Queensland Fire and Emergency Services.

From itnews:

The Queensland (Australia) Government has invested $1 million to install screen sharing technology in its Kedron emergency services hub as well as five helicopter bases across the state.

The new kit – based on Cruiser Interactive technology – will allow Queensland Government Air (QGAir) teams across the six sites to share the same view of incoming data and emergency monitoring, and to switch between different screen views with a flick of the wrist.

Interactive screens have been set up in the co-ordination sites, onto which information from phones, tablets and PCs can be displayed.

Aero-Flite moving to Spokane

The company that operates Avro RJ-85 air tankers is moving from Kingman, Arizona to the airport at Spokane, Washington. Aero-Flite announced Thursday that it is moving its corporate headquarters and air tanker fleet to Spokane International Airport.

More information about Aero-Flite’s move is at Fire Aviation.


Rescue Me balloon is now on Kickstarter

rescue me balloonThe emergency signaling balloon that we told you about on November 17 is now on Kickstarter.

In an emergency the Rescue Me Balloon can be inflated with helium and then flown on a 150-foot monofilament string tether. Below the Coast Guard orange balloon is an LED light that flashes the SOS signal.

The company expects the selling price to be about $75, but a $40 pledge (plus shipping) on Kickstarter should get you one if the device begins shipping in April, 2015 as planned. But, nothing is guaranteed on Kickstarter.

In our earlier article we mused about how it might be useful for wildland firefighters in some situations, for example if they need immediate extraction due to an injury or aerial support if a fire is threatening their position. Usually they have radios, and they may have a GPS receiver that would tell them their latitude and longitude. If both are functional at their exact position, they could tell others their coordinates. A balloon like this 150 feet above the ground could help those firefighters if they are having problems getting through on the radio, or if they can’t get a GPS signal.

The description of the device on Kickstarter has more information about how it is designed:

In detail, Rescue Me Balloon is a cylindrical canister, similar to a lightsaber. It is Coast Guard Orange in color, about 6 inches in length and 2 inches in diameter and weighs about a quarter of a pound. The canister is easy to hold, and has a hoop for a clip for attaching to a belt, backpack, or life jacket, with glow-in-the-dark reflective tape to make it easy to find at night.

Inside the canister at the bottom is a small helium tank attached to a deflated and folded inflatable balloon. Also attached to the balloon is 150 feet of monofilament string with a super-bright LED connected to a small circuit board. In the Emergency Version, the circuit board is programmed to flash an SOS signal; in the Recreational Version, it is programmed to be a solid light. All of this is sealed inside the canister by a cap at the top with an O-Ring installed, making a water-tight seal when closed.

It was posted on Kickstarter at 8 a.m. PST today, November 21, and 45 minutes later it had 15 backers who had pledged $1,015.