Fires in U.S. and Australia determined to be caused by power lines
Map of Pfeiffer Fire at Big Sur, California, looking northwest, showing the fire perimeter at 10:34 p.m. PST, December 18, 2013. (Click to enlarge)
Two fires, in Western Australia and California, have recently been determined to be caused by electrical power lines.
The Pfeiffer Fire at Big Sur, California started on December 16, 2013 and burned 34 homes and 917 acres in the coastal community 23 miles south of Monterey. The U.S. Forest Service reported on Wednesday:
The cause of the fire was determined to be high resistance heating of the Pfeiffer Ridge Mutual Water Company electrical control wires immediately adjacent to a steel water pipe line. The high resistance heating of the electrical control wires created a competent ignition source for this fire. The first fuel ignited was accumulated dried leaves and redwood needles.
The other fire was in Western Australia. Below is an excerpt from an article in Western Australia Today:
A rotted power pole infested with termites has been blamed for the Parkerville bushfire which destroyed more than 40 homes this year. But EnergySafety director Ken Bowron said the organisation would not take action against Western Power or the landowner.
The EnergySafety report into the cause of the fire on January 12 was released on Thursday and found the bushfire originated from a private pole at 180 Granite Road, Parkerville.
“There was no evidence to suggest the work performed by Western Power to replace the surface aerial seven months before the incident, or the work to replace the adjacent pole two day before the bushfires, causes the PA pole to fail,” Mr Bowron said.
“Based on the available evidence and legal advice, EnergySafety will not be taking any legal action against any party. The clear finding of the report is that the pole failed because it was rotten and had been infested by termites.
Hearing in Prescott on Granite Mountain Hotshots’ retroactive retirement benefits
From the Daily Courier in Prescott, Arizona:
Now nearly a year and a half after 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots died fighting the Yarnell Hill wildfire, the matter of retroactive retirement benefits continues to play out at Prescott City Hall.
With its earlier decision granting retirement benefits to the family of fallen Hotshot Andrew Ashcraft still under appeal, the local fire retirement board will take on two new retirement cases today.
During a 9 a.m. Thursday hearing at Prescott City Hall, the Prescott Board of the Public Safety Personnel Retirement System Board will turn to the retirement claims by the families of Sean Misner and William Warneke, and whether the scope of the actual hearings on the claims should be limited…
Tree ring researcher at the University of Arizona honored
Thomas W. Swetnam with tree-ring specimens in the UA’s Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research. (Photo courtesy of Michaela Kane/Arizona Daily Wildcat)
Thomas W. Swetnam, Regents’ Professor of dendrochronology and director of the University of Arizona Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, has been named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the world’s largest general scientific society.
As part of the Section on Geology and Geography, Swetnam was elected as an AAAS Fellow for his investigations of tree rings as a record of past changes in climate, allowing scientists to predict future forest-fire frequencies in the Southwest.
Mr. Swetnam specializes in analyzing climate changes through history and prehistory, dangerous insect outbreaks and forest fires. In recent years, enormous blazes, some 10 times greater than those that firefighters have been accustomed to seeing in California and Arizona, have forced scholars to attempt to understand this phenomenon. The conclusions from Swetnam’s studies of these so-called megafires and their alarming size, duration and frequency have made the scientific community, governments throughout the world and media to pay close attention. Swetnam has appeared on programs such as PBS’ “NewsHour” and CBS’ “60 Minutes.”