Men who started Wallow fire may owe more than $3 million
The two cousins who started the 2011 Wallow Fire may be on the hook to pay over $3 million. Caleb and David Malboeuf are on probation following last month’s sentencing for leaving a campfire unattended. During restitution hearings this week attorneys for both sides agreed that $3 million is appropriate, but they are still haggling over an additional $500,000, with the defendants’ attorney saying documentation is incomplete for those funds.
The Wallow Fire, which burned from eastern Arizona into New Mexico, became the largest fire in the history of Arizona. It burned over half a million acres and destroyed 32 homes and 4 commercial structures. At least $79 million was spent to suppress the fire.
Turn over federal lands to the states?
There is a growing chorus among certain political groups and at least one state to give away millions of acres of federal land. For example, the Governor of Utah signed a bill that demands that the federal government hand over almost 30 million acres to the state. Other states are looking to follow Utah’s lead, and a candidate for President, Mitt Romney, is on board. Timothy Egan has a thoughtful article in the New York Times about this expanding threat.
If the national parks, forests, and BLM lands are given away or sold, the 16,000 wildland firefighters that now work for the Department of Interior and the US Forest Service, if they still have jobs, may find themselves working for a state, or a private company such as British Petroleum, Weyerhaeuser, or Union Pacific Coal Company.
Waldo Canyon fire slowed air travel into Colorado Springs
While the Waldo Canyon Fire was burning in and near Colorado Springs, three of the four airlines serving the city reported a decline in passenger numbers. The fire started June 23, killed two people, and destroyed about 346 homes.
Fire activity in the Northwest and northern Rocky Mountains
Usually by early to mid-September the fire season in the northern Rocky Mountains and the Northwest is seriously winding down, but firefighters in those areas are still busy. It is very unusual this late in the year, but air tankers are still stationed at Billings, Montana.
Below is a map showing heat detected today by satellites on wildfires in Montana, Idaho, Washington, Wyoming and Oregon. Click on the image to see a larger version.
I like this headline in Utah’s Park Record:
Fire prescribed for 570 acres near Wyoming border
Here is another one, this time from the Ramona Sentinel in California:
Cal Fire crushes grass fire near airport
Thanks go out to Chris and Dick