“Boosting” is smokejumper terminology for temporarily being stationed at a smokejumper base away from their home duty station.
There are 285 active fires burning in Alaska that have charred 1.7 million acres, according to the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center. Of those 285 fires, 41 are staffed and the other 244 are being monitored.
The National Interagency Coordination Center reports that the firefighting resources assigned to fires in Alaska include: 106 hand crews, 33 engines, and 29 helicopters.
A fun fact — a Bureau of Land Management Type 3 helicopter (H-173BH) recently completed a four-day trip to an assignment in Alaska. It took off from Rifle, Colorado on June 23 and arrived in Fairbanks June 26. The BLM sent other Type 3 helicopters, one each, from Montana, Wyoming and Utah. Two Forest Service Type 2 helicopters were also recently dispatched from the lower 48 states. In addition, a Type 1 CWN helicopter, Croman 701, an S-61, was also sent to Alaska.
…WHEREAS, in July 2015 on the University of Montana campus, the National Smokejumper Association will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first parachute jump to a forest fire, which occurred in July 1940.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:
That the House of Representatives of the State of Montana recognizes 75 years of excellence and dedicated service of smokejumpers in Montana and across the nation.
As far as we can tell, the Resolution did not involve spending any taxpayer money. It simply recognizes 75 years of service by smokejumpers.
- 96 in favor of the resolution, and
- 3 against it.
The Representatives, elected by Montana citizens, who voted not to honor smokejumpers were:
- Tom Burnett (Bozeman)
- Rob Cook (Conrad)
- Daniel Zolnikov (Billings)
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Chris.
KQED, a public television station in northern California, put together this video about smokejumping, filmed at the Redding Smokejumper base. They also wrote an article about the program.
Time-lapse video of Meadow Fire
The National Park Service has posted a very cool time-lapse video of the early hours of the expansion of the Meadow Fire when it grew from 19 acres to over 700. More information about the Meadow Fire.
“Send the elevator back down”
Mentoring young firefighters who have the potential to become future leaders is one of the more important responsibilities of seasoned wildland firefighters. Of course the same principle applies in other fields as well. The award winning actor Kevin Spacey has been doing this for years through his Kevin Spacey Foundation and by leading workshops to cultivate emerging artists in the performing arts.
In an interview with NBCNews he was asked what motivated him to get involved in mentoring young artists. He said:
Jack Lemmon – who was my mentor – passed along his philosophy of “sending the elevator back down” and so I am continuing to do exactly that through the work of my Foundation.
Happy Camp Fire Complex achieves Megafire status
The huge fire on the Klamath National Forest continues to work its way across the landscape of northwest California. The Incident Management Team reports it has now burned 105,194 acres, crossing what we call the unofficial threshold of 100,000 acres to obtain the Megafire label. The Team is calling it 30 percent contained.
No residences had been damaged or destroyed on the fire until Monday, when two burned in the Scott River Road area. One of those belonged to 75-year old Nancy Hood who has been continuously staffing a fire lookout for 56 years on the Klamath National Forest. A fund has been established to help Ms. Wood in her time of need. We posted more information about the effort earlier today.
Smokejumpers warn about link between climate change and wildfires
A group of seven Montana smokejumpers have written an opinion piece that was published in the Missoulian.
Below are some excerpts:
…Scientists say that climate change has implications for wildfire danger. We believe them. Since the 1980s, Montana’s wildfire season increased by two months while average global temperatures have steadily trended upward. Climate researcher Steve Running has summarized the data this way: “Since 1986, longer, warmer summers have resulted in a fourfold increase of major wildfires and a sixfold increase in the area of forest burned, compared to the period from 1970 to 1986.” – Science, Vol. 13:927 (2006).
Drought caused by warming temperatures exacerbated the recent pine beetle infestation, which is 10 times larger than any previously recorded. Millions of dead trees provide more fuel for fires and create more risk for those on the front lines.
We know that many Montanans share our concerns about rising fire danger. While aggressive intervention in wildfires will always be needed, we also need prevention strategies – and that means dealing with climate change. Preventing climate change isn’t possible, but limiting climate change is.
Montana has abundant clean energy resources such as wind and solar power that can provide significant statewide economic benefits. We need prevention strategies such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to decrease carbon pollution from the largest point sources – coal-fired power plants. We can create good-paying jobs in clean energy. We can protect our climate and our wildlands, and we can save lives, property and jobs in doing so.
Thanks and a hat tip go out to Mike.
The BBC produced this report on the U.S. Forest Service smokejumpers based in northern California at Redding.