Screen grab from the National Geographic Channel video.
Apparently there is a show on the National Geographic Channel called Python Hunters. I happened to run across this video from the program, which includes a controlled burn. Their objective was not to kill the large snakes, they said, but to drive them out of the brush, or underground.
If you are familiar with controlled burns or prescribed fires, you will not recognize any of the techniques in this video…. unless you prep your prescribed fires by throwing five gallon buckets of diesel onto the vegetation.
Surprisingly, a representative of the Miami-Dade Fire Department is on scene, probably to reduce the chances of the actors killing themselves. The project may have been surrounded by mostly bare ground — it’s hard to tell — so there might have been little chance of the fire escaping.
Screen grab from the National Geographic Channel video.
Just to be absolutely clear, definitely do not try this technique. Diesel is not as volatile or explosive as gasoline but what they did, shown in the video, is dangerous. If they had mixed gasoline with the diesel, as is usually done when fueling drip torches for a real prescribed fire, or used straight gasoline, there could have been an explosion when they ignited it, depending on the concentration.
I ran across a news article about Senator Joesph Lieberman (I-CT) accepting the nomination to serve as one of the seven or eight Co-Chairs of the Congressional Fire Services Caucus, a nonpartisan group of more than 320 members of congress which:
…unites Republicans and Democrats in support of fire service legislation that benefits all first responders.
The heated rhetoric between the two members of congress concerned a procedural delay introduced by Rep. King which initially prevented the passage in the House of the 9/11 First Responder Health Care Bill, officially known in the Senate as “S. 1334: James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009“. Rep. King sought to delay the passage of the bill while Rep. Weiner angrily recommended passage. The bill would provide health care costs for 9/11 rescue workers, sickened after exposure to the toxic smoke and debris. Finally, the House passed the bill in September.
Recently, however, Rep. King has come out strongly in favor of the 9/11 First Responder Health Care Bill. In fact, he is one of the few Republicans to openly support it, and on December 7, 2010 wrote a letter to his Republican colleagues asking for their votes in the Senate.
There is still a chance that the bill will receive an up or down vote in the Senate before the session ends this year. Votes have been prevented previously by a Republican filibuster. If it is not passed by the Senate this year, the slate will be wiped clean and it will have to be re-introduced in both the House and the Senate next year.
But you can help get the bill passed. CALL YOUR SENATORS!Here is a list of their phone numbers.
If you are still undecided about helping firefighters, check out Jon Stewart’s position on the issue of health care for 9/11 first responders.
This bill is gathering more attention thanks to Jon Stewart. It appears that there are enough votes now in the Senate to pass a slightly revised version. BUT. There is one Senator that says he will hold it and prevent its passage. That esteemed individual is Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK).
In an interview on Fox News Coburn said two of his reasons for killing the bill are:
1. The bill has not been through a committee yet and there have been no hearings.
WRONG. A committee that Coburn is on held hearings on the bill, but Coburn chose not to attend.
2. Coburn said: “This is a bill that has been drawn up and forced through Congress at the end of the year on a basis to solve a problem that we didn’t have time to solve and we didn’t get done.”
WRONG. The bill was introduced in the Senate June 24, 2009, and was passed by the House on September 29, 2010, but has not been voted on in the Senate.
It is incredible that an idiot like this can single-handedly prevent our 9/11 first responders, some of whom are dying from exposure to toxic shit at the 9/11 site, to receive the health care they need.
Even if the Senate does pass this bill over the insane objections of Senator Dufuss Coburn, the House will still need to vote on the revised version, since it has been changed after they passed it in September.
Even Fox New’s Shep Smith took on Senator Coburn today for his stance on this bill. See the 37-second video HERE.
Shep Smith called many Senators who refused to talk with him about the bill. “We called a lot of Republicans today who are in office at the moment,” he said Monday afternoon. “These are the ones who told us ‘no’: Senators Alexander, Barrasso, Cornyn, Crapo, DeMint, Enzi, Grassley, Kyl, McConnell, Sessions, Baucus, Gregg, and Inhofe. No response from Bunning, Coburn, Ensign, Graham, Hatch, and McCain.”
And we wrote more about it on December 17, 2010. That post has two videos in which Jon Stewart takes on the issue.
Call your two Senators (list of phone numbers) especially if one or both of them are Republicans, most of whom plan to vote against the bill.
Call Senator Tom Coburn’s office at (202) 224-5754.
A few hours after we wrote our second article about this issue on December 17, if you searched Google for “9/11 First Responder Health Care Bill”, that Wildfire Today article was the fifth one listed on the first page. Now there has been so much publicity about the issue that Wildfire Today does not show up in the first five pages of Google results.
This is the sixth time we have used the tag “idiot” for an article since January, 2008.
A professor at Loyola University New Orleans has written a ridiculous article published by Psychology Today that uses the tragic Thirtymile fire that killed four wildland firefighters in 2001 as evidence that women should not be firefighters and that the concept of national forests is evil and an example of “socialized land ownership”.
The Thirtymile fire, even before this idiot from Loyola spewed forth this garbage, can provoke a very emotional response from wildland firefigters. Not only did we lose four firefighters (see the names below which include two women), but for the first time a wildland firefighter was charged with felonies for the deaths of people on his crew.
The Cantwell-Hastings law that passed in 2002 was a knee-jerk reaction to these deaths. It requires that every fatality of a U.S. Forest Service employee on a fire be investigated by the Department of Agriculture’s Inspector General’s office, a group of people more comfortable investigating fraud of subsidies at chicken ranches than analyzing wildland fire behavior, tactics, and strategy. Their mission is to determine if anyone should be charged with a crime, not to help identify lessons learned or prevent future fatalities.
Ellreese Daniels, the crew boss of those four firefighters, had been initially charged with 11 felonies, including four counts of manslaughter. The charges were reduced to two counts of making false statements to which Mr. Daniels pleaded guilty on August 20, 2008. He was sentenced to three years of probation and 90 days of work release.
So the idiot Loyola prof digs into these wounds which still seem fresh to firefighters and says women have no place on the fireline:
Nowadays, with our modern dispensations, we place females in the front lines. This is no less than an abomination. Females are far more precious than males. It is not for nothing that farmers keep a few bulls and hundreds of cows. It is due to patriarchy that we owe our very existence as a species. Imagine if our cave men ancestors had sent their women out to hunt and face the lions and tigers when they came a-calling, instead of throwing themselves at these enemies, sacrificing themselves so that mankind could persist.
Spoken like a cave man.
He goes on to say that fewer firefighters would die if we had no public ownership of lands:
When a forest fire consumes private timber, there are individuals who feel it in their bank accounts; this is not the case with socialized land holdings. This means that the incentives are greater, by how much is an empirical matter, for profit making individuals to take greater precautions regarding their property than is true for their public counterparts. If we have learned anything from the fall of the Soviet economic system – and this is a highly debatable point – it is that things work better under private ownership. These four young people will have not died totally in vain if we use their deaths as a rallying cry for privatization of the forest. Perhaps if we succeed in this effort, other lives will be saved.
Thirtymile fire memorial
The four firefighters killed on the Thirtymile fire were:
Tom L. Craven, 30, Ellensburg, WA;
Karen L. Fitzpatrick, 18, Yakima, WA;
Devin A. Weaver, 21, Yakima, WA;
Jessica L. Johnson, 19, Yakima, WA.
The nozzleman wonders why the hose is not charging as Simona de Silvestro sits in the burning race car.
Last weekend, on June 5, Simona de Silvestro crashed her IndyCar into the wall during the race at Texas Motor Speedway. The car caught on fire, fueled by five gallons of leaking oil. I watched on live television, and after the car came to a stop, she remained in the car as intense flames enveloped the right side of the car. The safety team got there very quickly, but the four-person crew was not able to get any water on the fire for what seemed like a very long time. They pulled a hose right away, but then the nozzleman stood there for far too long with a limp hose. They never got any water out of that hose until after de Silvestro had been extricated.
A report by officials of the Izod IndyCar Series concluded that the safety crew first on scene did not follow established standard operating procedures (SOP) for extinguishing the fire and protecting the driver. De Silvestro sat in the burning car for about 32 seconds after the crew arrived before they were able to extract her from the still burning car. Thanks to her fire-resistant gear, she only suffered minor burns to a finger and is racing again this weekend at Iowa Speedway. Two of the rescuers were burned on their faces while pulling her out of the car, including Mike Yates, IndyCar’s safety manger. Yes, IndyCar’s SAFETY MANAGER was part of this fiasco.
Every firefighter has experienced kinked hoses and probably once or twice has not followed SOPs when working a fire. But thankfully those mistakes are usually not visible to millions on live television.
A kinked hose was part of the problem in this case. The safety crews’ trucks have a front-mounted water discharge that points to the side of the vehicle, so that when the hose was extended straight forward towards the burning car the hose bent 90-degrees at the discharge and kinked, resulting in no water at the nozzle. And the crew was not able to figure this out and un-kink the hose.
The second problem was that the number one crewperson was supposed to knock down the fire with a pressurized water (PW) fire extinguisher in order to protect the driver as much as possible until another crewperson could pull the quick lay from the front of the truck. But instead, he pulled the hose and got it kinked.
The third issue was that the person that finally grabbed a PW, struggled with it as if he had never used one, resulting in still further delays in getting water on the fire.
Here is the time-line, in seconds, taken from the video (UPDATE: the original video was removed from YouTube. We replaced it with another one below, so the exact time line no longer applies, however the relative times are still valid):
8–fire first seen on De Silvestro’s car in the video
29–the car slides to a stop
35–the first safety team truck arrives on scene
48–the hose is fully extended, a crewperson is holding the nozzle
61–the first water is applied, from a PW
67–De Silvestro is extracted from the still burning car
70–water is first applied from a hose, from the second-arriving truck
The video is below.
In the IndyCar series, fires that last more than a few seconds are rare, thanks to fuel cell technology. But in de Silvestro’s crash, the oil cooler on the right side of the car was compromised, spilling the 5 gallons of oil into the sidepod rather than onto the track, fueling the fire. The last time a fire hose was used on a crash was when Ryan Briscoe crashed in 2005 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joilet, Ill.
Simona de Silvestro's burned hand after crashing in Texas, June 5. Photo: Brandon Wade
Some writers who cover IndyCar have used the term “Keystone Cops” when referring to the actions of the safety crew. If my engine crew had made mistakes like this on a vehicle fire, I would have had them drilling all day, every day until they could do it blindfolded. A person has to wonder how often the IndyCar safety crew drilled on using their equipment to extinguish an intense fire. From appearances, little to none. IndyCar drivers–you thought they had your back. You were wrong.
Thankfully all the injuries this time were relatively minor, but it could have been a lot worse. A LOT worse.
Supposedly the hose on the truck had been tested earlier in the weekend, so all of the problems appear to be human error.
Before today’s race in Iowa, a modification was made to the trucks so that the front discharge now points toward the front, rather than to the side. This should reduce the chance of a kink at the discharge… unless the fire is to the side of the truck. (You can’t completely idiot-proof fire apparatus.) In addition, the SOP for dealing with a fire has been redistributed to all safety crew members.
Brian Barnhart, the president of IndyCar’s competition division, said no disciplinary action will be taken. About the crew, he said: “They are beating themselves up pretty bad. (But) clearly we stumbled on this one.”
My friend Howard Rayon who passed away last October, used to work on the safety crews for the CART (aka CHAMP) racing series, which merged with the IndyCar series in 2008. Howard raced Formula Fords as a young man, and was a firefighter all his life, retiring as a Deputy Chief with the Santee Fire Department in southern California. I am sure that if the safety crew had been upholding the high, professional standards set by Howard, Ms. de Silvestro’s incident would have had a better outcome.
Apparently two fires on Wednesday along highway 82 in Snowmass Canyon, Colorado were started from burning embers blowing out of a barbecue grill in the back of a pickup traveling upvalley on the highway. A trucker reported that he saw a blue Ford pickup with a smoking grill in the back. Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Brad Gibson is thinking the embers from the grill started the fires.
Gibson was quoted as saying:
Don’t put a burning barbecue grill in the back of a pickup truck and drive up the highway.
That’s always good advice.
As long as we have idiots like that pickup truck driver, there will always be a need for fire departments. And speaking of idiots, this is the 4th time we have assigned the tag “idiot” on Wildfire Today.
We have a new use for one of our post labels. Used only once before for Glenn Beck of CNN, now the post label “idiot” is awarded to Representative Darrell Issa of San Diego. He made a series of stupid statements about the 9/11 attacks, minimized the health effects on the rescuers and workers, and argued against extending benefits to the people that are still hugely affected by the incident.
Many firefighters are still suffering from the long term effects of working in the contaminated Ground Zero area.
“That is a pretty distorted view of things,” said Frank Fraone, a Menlo Park, Calif., fire chief who led a 67-man crew at Ground Zero. “Whether they’re a couple of planes or a couple of missiles, they still did the same damage.”
“I’m really surprised by Darrell Issa,” King added. “It showed such a cavalier dismissal of what happened to New York. It’s wrong and inexcusable.”
Lorie Van Aucken, who lost her husband, Kenneth, in the attacks, slammed Issa’s “cruel and heartless” comments.
“It’s really discouraging. People stepped up and did the right thing. They sacrificed themselves and now a lot of people are getting really horrible illnesses,” she added.
Under pressure from all sides, the Golden State pol – who got rich selling car alarms after getting busted for car theft as a teen – pulled a partial U-turn. He issued a statement but cowered from the press.
“I continue to support federal assistance for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks,” he said.
But he didn’t retract his wacked-out rhetoric claiming the feds “just threw” buckets of cash at New York for an attack “that had no dirty bomb in it, it had no chemical munitions in it.”
He went on: “I have to ask … why the firefighters who went there and everybody in the city of New York needs to come to the federal government for the dollars versus this being primarily a state consideration.”