Unedited video of 2012 fire tornado in Australia

Firenado Australia- WILD vision from chris tangey on Vimeo.

In 2012 we posted a video of a fire tornado that was shot by Chris Tangey of Alice Springs Film and Television while he was scouting locations near Curtin Springs station in Australia. Mr. Tangey has produced another version of the video (above) after requests from many fire scientists and meteorologists worldwide who wanted an unedited version.

He explains:

As we approach 2 years since this extraordinary natural event was captured, here is the last version we will release online of the 40 minutes we recorded on September 11 2012. Unlike previous clips this is wild vision at actual speed, a totally unedited and uninterrupted 3 minute “chunk” of the event as it happened. Intended for Fire Scientists, Meteorologists and fire tornado “aficionados”, it allows a more continuous view of the physics behind local atmospheric conditions, and the actual behavior of the vortex of smoke and fire. Best viewed on a large screen with a home theater system, an important point is, regardless of the pictures, this is possibly the first ever time the awesome tornadic sound of a fire whirl has ever been professionally recorded in the wild.


Recruiting volunteer firefighters — in Colorado and Australia

A fire near Craig, Colorado

A fire near Craig, Colorado in 2000. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Relying on unpaid volunteers to fight wildfires and structure fires is the only feasible way to provide fire protection services in some rural areas. Many of these departments are finding that as residents, especially the younger generation, move into cities, the departments are faced with declining numbers of firefighters.

Below are excerpts from two articles on the issue, from Colorado and South Australia.

From KUNC, Community Radio for Colorado:

Volunteer firefighters protect about half of Colorado’s residents, with solely volunteer departments being responsible for about 70 percent of the state’s land surface.
And they are significantly understaffed.

The Colorado State Fire Chiefs Association estimates that Colorado is short 3,500 volunteers in meeting National Fire Protection Agency standards. That would require an increase of more than 40 percent to the present force.

“Generally, all fire departments that have volunteers need more volunteers,” said Garry Briese, executive director of the fire chiefs association.

“It’s a struggle at times and you just do the best you can do, the best for the community.”

There are 198 all-volunteer departments in Colorado serving more than 450,000 residents, and an additional 137 agencies that are a combination of career and volunteer firefighters. These “hybrid” stations serve 2.2 million residents, and 33 of them have only one or two paid firefighters…

From South Australia’s Messenger:

The Country Fire Service is recording an increase in volunteers for the first time in years on the back of last year’s horror fire season.

Total CFS volunteer numbers have increased from 13,325 to 13,737 over the past six months. The 3 per cent increase bucks a steady downward trend in numbers from the 15,590 volunteers there were in 2004/05. Damaging fires in January and February this year at Eden Valley in the northern Mount Lofty Ranges and at Bangor in the Southern Flinders Ranges appear to have sparked people into action.

Volunteer numbers in CFS Region 4, where the Bangor fire was, are up 6.5 per cent from 1776 to 1891. Similarly, numbers in CFS Region 2, where the Eden Valley fire was, are up 5.8 per cent from 2630 to 2784.

South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission Volunteer Services Branch manager Toni Richardson said it was a great sign. “It’s the first time we can actually remember it increasing over an extended period, which is really good,” she said…


Wildfire briefing, August 5, 2014

Two men get prison for starting the Colby Fire

CL 415 on Colby Fire

A CL-415 assists firefighters on the Colby Fire in January. Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.

Two men have been sentenced to several months in prison for starting the Colby Fire that threatened homes in Glendora in January, east of Los Angeles.

National Guard to train 240 soldiers to fight fires

The California National Guard is sending 240 of their members to Camp Roberts for four days of training to fight wildfires.

Should dead trees be logged after a fire?

As the U.S. Forest Service’s plans are being finalized about what to do with the thousands of acres of timber that were killed on National Forest land in the 2013 Rim Fire near Yosemite National Park, a debate is going on about whether to remove the trees or not.

Bushfire exposes large pot operation

When a bushfire in New South Wales destroyed a house, firefighters discovered nearby an underground shipping container. Inside were 118 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of $590,000.


Australia: government being sued for tactics used on bushfire

GavelThe government of New South Wales is being sued over their choice of firefighting tactics used on a fire in 2003 that burned through Canberra’s southwestern suburbs on January 18.

The legal proceedings have been going on for years and have advanced to the Australian Capital Territories Court of Appeal.

Below is an excerpt from the Canberra Times:

…Four people were killed, 435 injured, and 487 homes and 23 commercial and government buildings were lost.


On Thursday morning, counsel for QBE Regina Graycar criticised the approach taken to backburning near the Goodradigbee River containment line, which was being used to stop the fire spreading. Firefighters did not get time to carry out their plan to backburn near the river.

Ms Graycar said they must have known they didn’t have time to backburn before the next hot day, which is generally considered to be seven days away.
Backburning is generally needed to finish two days before the next hot day, she said.

Failing to recognise the time needed, Ms Graycar said, broke one of the basic rules of firefighting, something she described as “bushfire 101”.
The ACT Court of Appeal will hand down judgment at a later date.


Aussies produce 1-hour special program on large fires

The Australia Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) produced this one-hour special video program, above, about large wildfires around the world. Here is they way they describe it:

Over the past decade, there has been an alarming surge in large, uncontrollable fires across the world. We live in a time when mega-fires are reshaping landscapes in ways unprecedented in human history. Even iconic forests especially adapted to burning are being wiped out. In a climate of rising temperatures and shifting rainfall, amid debate about whether fire disasters are natural or man-made, what does the rise of mega-fires mean for life as we know it? In this Catalyst special, reporters Anja Taylor and Mark Horstman travel to opposite sides of the planet to find out. In the ‘sky islands’ of New Mexico, which have experienced frequent fire for millennia, pine forest ecosystems are suddenly being decimated by huge, tree-killing fires. In the ‘mountain islands’ of the Australian Alps, 90 percent of this 500 kilometre long bioregion has been burnt this century, as changing fire intervals over the last ten years destroy large areas of mature eucalypt forests. Ultimately this is a story about climate change, told through the prism of fire.

Gary, who first notified us about the program, said:

It features some big names from the Southwest and New Mexico. Dr. Craig Allen is internationally know as a Fire Ecologist and climate change expert, Tom Swetnam is the Tree-ring expert from U of Arizona, Bill Armstrong is the fuels expert for the Santa Fe National Forest.

If you are not sure about viewing the one hour program, here is a link to a 30-second preview. You can watch the main program here, above, or view it on YouTube.

Thanks and a hat tip go out to Martin and Gary.


Australia: Victoria to purchase 78 new fire trucks

CFA engines on the Neerim Sth Fire

CFA engines on the Neerim Sth Fire, March 9, 2014. CFA photo.

An extra $17.2 million dollars from the Victorian Government in the 2014/15 budget to build dozens of new firefighting vehicles has been welcomed by Country Fire Authority (CFA). The announcement is part of a $29 million investment in 78 new trucks, including 74 medium tankers to be built over the next year.

CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said the announcement would be welcomed by CFA firefighters and the communities they serve.

“These state of the art firefighting vehicles mean Victoria can claim one of the most advanced firefighting fleets in Australia,” Mr Ferguson said.

The investment comes hot on the heels of the delivery of 124 medium tankers to brigades across the state in 2012/13 at a cost of $49 million. The design and manufacture of the majority of those vehicles was done in Ballarat and Sunshine, and it’s expected most of the new fleet will again be built in Victoria.

District 8 strike team CFA

District 8 strike team, October 21, 2013. CFA photo.

“CFA is very proud to be supporting local manufacturing. It represents a huge investment into local communities,” Mr Ferguson said.

In addition to the tankers, an updated design of the heavy tanker will be added to 10 already being trialled across the state, as well as a medium pumper, breathing apparatus truck and heavy sand tanker.

Mr Ferguson said the new medium tankers had been well received by brigades around Victoria.

“These trucks can pump 900 litres of water per minute – the same as a heavy tanker and double the amount of the current medium tankers,” Mr Ferguson said. “Essentially, these fire trucks have the capabilities of a heavy tanker but are a better size for accessibility on fire grounds.”

CFA has already begun planning where the new trucks will be deployed following their expected completion around the middle of next year. CFA volunteers were instrumental in the design, testing and delivery of the medium tankers.

“We received very positive and productive feedback from more than 1,200 CFA volunteers which ensured the vehicles were the best they could be,” Mr Ferguson said.

This brings to more than 300 the number of new vehicles delivered to CFA brigades since 2011.