Wildfire briefing, April 3, 2014

Three firefighters injured in South Carolina

Three firefighters were injured while fighting a 12-acre wildfire that spread to a structure in Florence County, South Carolina late Wednesday afternoon. One firefighter suffered second and third degree burns to his face and neck while suppressing fire in a mobile home.

wistv.com – Columbia, South Carolina |

Arizona Forestry Division outlines changes for 2014

According to an article at KNAU, Arizona State Forester Scott Hunt told reporters on Wednesday:

“Our first priority is firefighter and public safety. And it’s always going to be our first priority,” he said.

But, Hunt did say that he expects when there is an initial report of a fire that there will “heavier responses” than in the past.

On June 30, 2013, 19 firefighters were killed on the Yarnell Hill Fire which was being managed by the Arizona Forestry Division.

Los Alamos National Laboratory under pressure to move radioacitve waste before wildfire season

From TheState.com:

Los Alamos is under a tight deadline to get nuclear waste off its northern New Mexico campus before wildfire season peaks, and the New Mexico dump [temporarily closed due to a fire] is the federal government’s only permanent repository for waste from decades of nuclear-bomb building.

Aerial firefighting training for California National Guard

California National Guard aerial firefighting training

File photo of California National Guard aerial firefighting training, April, 2010. Photo by Bob Martinez.

Helicopter units of the California National Guard are scheduled to conduct their annual aerial firefighting training Friday through Sunday at the CAL FIRE academny in Ione.

Colorado Senate passes funding bill for aerial firefighting

The Colorado state Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would provide $21 million for a portion of the aerial firefighting program recommended by the Colorado Firefighting Air Corp (CFAC) in a report the agency released on March 28. The funds would enable contracting for four helicopters, four Single Engine Air Tankers, and the purchase of two fixed wing aircraft for fire detection and remote sensing, but not for the two large air tankers called for in the report.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who has been quoted as saying farmers and ranchers should be the state’s first defense against wildfires, is opposed to spending the additional $11.9 million for contracting for two large air tankers.

Wildfire season begins early in Russia

From ITAR-TASS:

Forest fires have broken out early in a season dubbed “tense this year”, Minister of Natural Resources Sergei Donskoi told a conference chaired by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and addressing preparations for difficult days ahead.

“The situation is tense in Russia this year. Because of low precipitation, the season has begun almost 1.5 months ahead of the norm,” the minister said. Seventeen fires have already been registered across a territory of 2,000 hectares, the minister said.

Citing reasons for danger, the minister noted an early spring and a shallow layer of frozen soil. This was only 40-50% of normal levels and was leaving dry surface soil.

The Ministry of Natural Resources has adopted an inter-regional fire prevention plan employing an additional 3,000-strong contingent of firefighters, 800 units of firefighting equipment and 4,000 fire extinguishers, the minister said.

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CAL FIRE moves to peak staffing in Southern California

CAL FIREDespite some rain in march, fire activity remains high

Despite recent rainfall, CAL FIRE continues to respond to a significant increase in wildfires, especially in Central and Southern California where rain totals have done little to combat drought conditions. Starting Monday, March 31, CAL FIRE will move to peak staffing levels in San Diego, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

“Even with rain in March, our fire activity has remained 200 percent more over average statewide,” said Chief Ken Pimlott, CAL FIRE director. “The rain has been great, but it has not been enough to make up for our dry winter and California’s drought.

While CAL FIRE never was able to transition out of fire season in 2013, the return to peak staffing means all equipment and facilities will be staffed around the clock. The move comes several months earlier than normal, but is needed as spring temperatures rise and dry out conditions even more.

Between January 1 and March 22, CAL FIRE has responded to over 800 wildfires that have charred nearly 2,300 acres. In an average year for the same time period, CAL FIRE would typically respond to under 275 wildfires for approximately 1,000 acres.

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Throwback Thursday

Let’s take a look six years back to see what we were writing about March 23-29, 2008.

Highlights of the 2008 Annual Wildland Fire Refresher Training.

Wildland Firefighter RefresherTraining 2008
–The After Action Review was released for the Santiago Fire, which was in Orange County, California.

–The U.S. Forest Service Fire Prevention Technician convicted of starting the 137,000-acre Hayman fire in Colorado was re-sentenced to 15 years probation and 1,500 hours of community service.

–A spokesman for North Carolina Division of Forest Resources in Raleigh, said rangers from the division have been allowing a fire to burn on an 18-acre uninhabited island because it doesn’t pose a threat to people or properties.

–A B-1 bomber while landing at Ellsworth Air Force Base had an in-flight emergency and may have dropped burning debris near the base that started multiple wildfires.

–There was an update on the trial of the Crew Boss and Type 3 Incident Commander on the Thirtymile Fire near Winthrop, Washington in 2001. Four members of his crew were overrun by fire and died.

GAO studies moving US Forest Service to Dept. of the Interior.

Poway, Calif., Firefighters Were Ordered To Not Fight Fires.

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Photos from the Pine Fire in southern California

Pine Fire. Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.

Jeff Zimmerman was kind enough to send us these excellent photos he took at the Pine Fire in Los Angeles County that started Friday on the south side of Highway 138 in Gorman. The last we heard, on Sunday firefighters were calling it 109 acres and 85 percent contained.

Jeff said the brush and trees in the Los Angeles area really seems to be showing the effects of drought and has not exhibited much change recently in spite of the four inches of precipitation in the last few weeks. The affected vegetation is very noticeable along the Interstate 5 corridor, he said, between the 2,500-foot and 4,400-foot elevation where the bathtub ring of air pollution accumulates.

You can see more of Jeff’s photogaphy at his site. Thanks Jeff.

Pine Fire. Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.

Pine Fire. Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.

Pine Fire. Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.

Pine Fire. Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.

Pine Fire. Photo by Jeff Zimmerman.

Thanks Jeff!

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California: Pine Fire

Pine Fire

Pine Fire. USFS photo.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department is battling the Pine Fire that started around mid-afternoon Friday on the south side of Highway 138 in Gorman. At about 5:30 p.m. PDT the estimated size was 150 acres and it was 35 percent contained. CAL FIRE and the US Forest Service are assisting.

Pine Fire. Photo by LA Co FD.

Incident Command Post at the Pine Fire. Photo by LA Co FD.

Pine Fire. Photo by LA Co FD.

Pine Fire. Photo by LA Co FD.

 

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