In Western Arizona and Southern California plants are greening up weeks earlier than usual
Spring has started to arrive in the southwest and southeast states. In southern Florida, spring is right on time compared to a long-term average (1981-2010), but parts of Texas, Louisiana, and northern Florida are one week late. In southern California and southwestern Arizona, spring is arriving 1-2 weeks early.
The timing of leaf-out, migration, flowering and other seasonal phenomena in many species is closely tied to local weather conditions and broad climatic patterns.
An early greenup, depending on weather later in the season, could mean herbaceous plants will become dormant and cure out earlier, which may result in a wildfire season in the lower elevations that begins sooner than average.
Friday of last week news broke that John Hawkins, the longtime chief of the CAL FIRE Riverside Unit and Riverside County Fire Department, was suddenly removed from his position. There was no immediate permanent successor identified and he is being temporarily replaced by Deputy Chief Dan Talbot. Chief Hawkins’ firefighting career has spanned 54 years and he had been in his County Chief position for 12 years.
The local newspaper, the Press-Enterprise, published a story late Tuesday afternoon providing a little more information, reporting that it was a CAL FIRE decision, and not a move by the Riverside County Board of Supervisors:
“CAL FIRE made the decision that it was time for new leadership,” said [County Supervisor Kevin] Jeffries, a former volunteer fire captain. “There was no scandalous events that occurred, nothing exciting like that. It was just a leadership change that CAL FIRE felt was important and we were kind of kept in the loop a little bit. But it was a decision of CAL FIRE.”
Chief Hawkins was not only the Chief of the CAL FIRE units in Riverside County protecting state responsibility areas in the Southern California County, but he also supervised the CAL FIRE resources that provide services under contract to Riverside County, which is the 4th-most populous county in California and the 11th-most populous in the United States.
Above: Chief John Hawkins speaking at the 9th IAWF Wildland Fire Safety Summit in Pasadena, April, 2006. IAWF photo by Bill Gabbert.
(Originally published at 12:05 p.m. MST January 20, 2018)
John R. Hawkins, the longtime chief of the CAL FIRE Riverside Unit and Riverside County Fire Department was suddenly removed from his position Friday. Chief Hawkins’ firefighting career has spanned 54 years and he had been in his County Chief position for 12 years.
Replacing him temporarily is Deputy Chief Dan Talbot.
Below is an excerpt from an article in the Idyllwild Town Crier:
“All I have right now is Chief Hawkins is no longer the fire chief and the department has put an intern chief in as of now. Chief Hawkins is still an employee and that’s all I have as is now,” said CAL FIRE Chief Mike Mohler of the Southern Region Communications for CAL FIRE’s South Ops.
Chief Hawkins was the CAL FIRE Incident Commander for the 2003 Cedar Fire that burned 273,000 acres in San Diego County. He is beloved by many and is a very dynamic speaker sought after for conferences and training.
For Throwback Thursday we’re throwing WAY back, to 1897. This photo shows Yosemite National Park Superintendent Capt. Alex Rogers standing next to a fire-scarred tree near Tioga Road in September, 1897.
The suspect evaded officers by running through a series of storm drains
An arsonist accused of starting 11 wildfires yesterday in San Bernardino County in Southern California has been arrested. Ricky Russel Whipple of Fontana is suspected of starting the fires just before 8 a.m. January 15, 2018 at Glen Helen Regional Park near the Interstate 15/215 junction (map).
After igniting each fire, Mr. Whipple ran through a series a storm drain tunnels underneath the freeways to elude capture from the San Bernardino County Sheriff deputies. Sheriff’s aviation located Mr. Whipple as he walked through dense brush near Cajon Blvd. and Kenwood Avenue close to the last fire.
Deputies contacted Mr. Whipple, who was detained at the scene without incident. They found several items of evidence which connected Mr. Whipple to the crime of arson. The areas set on fire burned dry vegetation and caused a multi-jurisdictional response of fire crews from the San Bernardino County Fire Department, CAL FIRE, and the United States Forest Service. All of the fires were contained and extinguished. However, fire crews spent several hours mopping up.
Mr. Whipple was booked for aggravated arson and is being held on $250,000.00 bail. He is scheduled for court on January 17th.