Kestrel Instruments

Margo Fire destroyed 12 homes near Dudleyville, Arizona

The fire has burned 1,148 acres

Map of the Margo Fire at Dudleyville, Arizona
Map of the Margo Fire at Dudleyville, Arizona, April 9, 2021.

The Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Protection reports that the 1,148-acre Margo Fire at Dudleyville, Arizona has destroyed 12 residences and 5 outbuildings. Investigators have ruled out lightning, and say it is human-caused.

All closed roads have reopened and the evacuation orders have been reduced to “set” —  be ready to evacuate if necessary.

On Saturday firefighters had a control line around the fire.

Margo Fire Dudleyville Arizona
Margo Fire. Photo via Arizona Dept. Forestry & Fire Management.

The fire started April 8 at about 9 a.m. Most of the spread was to the south along the river bottom through dense tamarisk.

Dudleyville is north of Tucson, on Highway 77 about 20 air miles north of Oracle.

Margo Fire Dudleyville Arizona
Margo Fire. Photo via Arizona Dept. Forestry & Fire Management.
Margo Fire Dudleyville Arizona
Margo Fire. Photo via Arizona Dept. Forestry & Fire Management.

Senate unanimously passes Washington state’s wildfire legislation

The bill enhances wildfire suppression capability, forest health, and community resilience

Cougar Creek Fire, Okanogan-Wenatchee NF, Washington
Cougar Creek Fire, Okanogan-Wenatchee NF, Washington. Photo by Kari Greer, August 16, 2018.

Legislation appropriating additional funding to beef up Washington state’s wildland fire suppression capability on the ground and in the air passed unanimously in the Senate Friday. It had already passed the House in the same manner and now heads back to the House which will accept or reject the changes made in the Senate. The legislative session is slated to adjourn April 25.

The number of acres burned in Washington wildfires last year, 812,000, was more than four times the average in the 2000s. In eastern Washington, 80 percent of the buildings were destroyed by the Babb-Malden Fire in September, 2020. The number of acres blackened in  Oregon last year, just across the border, was the second highest ever recorded.

The bill appropriates $125 million for the Department of Natural Resources to create for the first time a dedicated fund to suppress and mitigate wildfires over the next two-year budget period.

A similar bill was introduced last year but failed to pass, possibly because it also stipulated that a portion of the funds would be raised by establishing a surtax on home insurance premiums. This latest version left it up to the legislators to come up with a source for the money.

For two of the last three years, Washington had the worst air quality in the world due to smoke from wildfires.

The requested funds can be sorted into four categories:

Wildfire Response — $75.2 million

The bill creates positions for 100 more firefighters, adding three 20-person hand crews, 20 dozer operators, and two 10-person “post-release” crews comprised of formerly incarcerated persons who served on state fire response crews.

The bill also allows the purchase of two intelligence gathering fixed wing aircraft to be used on fires. Their ten very old UH-1H Huey helicopters would receive upgrades of some systems including night-flying capabilities. Washington does not own any air tankers, but in 2020 they had approximately six privately owned single engine air tankers (SEATS) on contract.

Forest Restoration — $31.4 million

The legislation fully funds and accelerates the DNR’s 20-Year Forest Health Strategic Plan, which calls for restoring natural wildfire resistance to 1.25 million acres of forest.

Workforce Development — $5.9 million

Provides career pathways for foresters, firefighters and mill workers.

Community Resilience — $12.6 million

Makes investments at the home, neighborhood, and community levels to reduce wildfire risk and protect communities. Includes investments in defensive strategies at the community level such as fuel breaks, prescribed fire, and creating defensible green space, plus direct assistance to home owners to secure their property and neighborhood with programs like FireWise.

California to authorize $536 million for wildfire mitigation

About double what has been spent in recent years

Zogg Fire
Zogg Fire, in Northern California, looking east from West Peak at 3:46 p.m. PDT Sept. 27, 2020. AlertWildfire.

A bill expected to be signed by California’s Governor next week will authorize $536 million for forest management and wildfire mitigation in the state. This is about double what has been spent in recent years.

The final survey of the season found the snowpack at 59 percent of average, and most of the state’s reservoirs are at considerably lower levels than their historical averages. Most of California is in drought, ranging from moderate to exceptional, according to the April 6 Drought Monitor.

Drought Monitor, April 6, 2021
Drought Monitor, April 6, 2021.

After budget cutbacks last year anticipating that the COVID-19 pandemic would reduce incoming funds, California ended up with a significant surplus.

Anticipating a greater need for wildfire mitigation, and now having dollars available, the Governor’s office released a statement that read in part:

“With California facing another extremely dry year, it is critical that we get a head start on reducing our fire risk. We are doing that by investing more than half a billion dollars on projects and programs that provide improved fire prevention for all parts of California.

“Key parts of the Administration’s initial proposal have been supplemented by legislative ideas that will pay dividends over the years, such as greater investments in forest health projects, improvements on defensible space, home hardening against fires, fire prevention grants, and prevention workforce training. The plan includes public and private lands vegetation management, community-focused efforts for prevention and resilience and economic stimulus for the forestry economy.”

About $22 million is being committed to help low-income and disadvantaged homeowners implement structure hardening to make them more resistant to wildfire.

At least $123 million is going toward the Fire Prevention Grants program. The funding will be awarded using criteria that maintains fire risk severity as the primary factor, and then prioritizes projects that protect a larger population base or number of structures relative to the size of the grant.

Democratic Sen. Bill Dodd, a member of the Senate Wildfire Working Group, said the new spending package includes more than $280 million for forest management and $200 million for fuel breaks.

Update on the fire in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

The fire in North Dakota has burned about 5,000 acres

7:07 p.m. MDT April 9, 2021

Horse Pasture Fire
Fire activity on the Horse Pasture Fire April 8, 2021 as islands of unburned fuel within the perimeter continue to burn. NPS photo.

Below is an update on the Horse Pasture Fire in Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. It was released by the Park Service Friday afternoon April 9, 2021.


Fire activity on the Horse Pasture Fire remained high on Thursday, however no new growth was reported. Strong winds continued to be a challenge for firefighters, as they worked to keep the fire within established firelines. Flare ups were visible as large pockets of unburned fuel within the perimeter were consumed.

As of Thursday evening, the fire is estimated to be 5,000 acres in size with 70% containment. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for the area through Friday evening, with winds forecasted from the northwest at 20 mph with gusts as high as 30 mph. Red Flag conditions may continue into the weekend.

Over 80 firefighters from state and federal agencies are working to suppress the fire.

Initial Attack resources assigned to the Horse Pasture Fire were dispatched Thursday evening to assist with a new fire southwest of Williston near Fort Union Trading Post National Historic Site.

Several closures remain in place. The North Unit of Theodore Roosevelt National Park remains closed. The McKenzie Ranger District of the Little Missouri National Grasslands closed the CCC Campground, the northernmost portion of the Maah Daah Hey Trail, the Long X and Sunset Trail, Summit Campground, and the Summit Overlook, and Viewpoint Trails.

Map Horse Pasture Fire April 7, 2021
Map of the Horse Pasture Fire, April 7, 2021.

Margo Fire prompts evacuations in Dudleyville, Arizona

Updated at 1:14 p.m. MDT April 9, 2021

The Margo Fire has burned approximately 500 acres at Dudleyville, Arizona, according to information released Friday morning by the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management. They expect to have a more accurate estimate of size after they have GPS’d the perimeter.

On Friday firefighters are continuing to secure the open fire line on the south side and intend to keep the fire within the Gila River bed, north of the agricultural fields, south of San Pedro Road, and west of the town of Dudleyville.

Afternoon winds on Friday will likely pose another challenge for firefighters as they continue toward full suppression efforts. The weather forecast predicts 17 mph afternoon winds out of the northwest gusting to 25, with 90 degrees and 5 percent relative humidity.

Aircraft will be utilized again Friday to assist firefighters. Approximately 75-100 personnel are assigned to the fire.

Evacuation orders remain in place for the town of Dudleyville. That status will be evaluated later on Friday. Before the power lines can be reenergized, they must be assessed for damage.

Map of Margo Fire
Map showing the approximate location of the Margo Fire, morning of April 9, 2021

Originally published at 6:37 p.m. MDT April 8, 2021

Map of the Margo Fire
Map of the Margo Fire, showing heat detected by satellites as late as 3:48 p.m. MDT April 8, 2021.

The Margo Fire is burning in the town of Dudleyville, Arizona along the river bottom through dense tamarisk. As of 1:30 p.m. on Thursday all residents of Dudleyville were ordered to evacuate by the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office.

Firefighters are challenged by strong winds and multiple spot fires.

An emergency shelter has been sent up at the Ray High School in Kearney. The Arizona Department of Transportation has closed NB State Route 77 at mile post 128.

Margo Fire at Dudleyville, AZ
Margo Fire at Dudleyville, AZ, April 8, 2021. Photo by Pinal County Sheriff’s Office

Dudleyville is north of Tucson, on Highway 77 about 20 air miles north of Oracle.

At 6:10 p.m. on Thursday, a spokesperson for Arizona State Forestry said the fire had burned about 150 acres. Approximately 75 to 100 personnel are assigned. The agency said 12 structures are confirmed destroyed. They did not specify if the structures were residences or outbuildings.

Margo Fire April 8, 2021
Margo Fire, Air attack photo, April 8, 2021

 

Ohio firefighter killed in UTV accident on prescribed burn

Selinde Roosenburg, ODNR photo
Selinde Roosenburg, ODNR photo, ODNR photo.

A firefighter in Ohio was killed as a result of an accident on a Utility Task Vehicle (UTV).

Selinde Roosenburg, an employee with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Forestry, was working on a prescribed burn at Richland Furnace State Forest when the accident occurred, and died March 23, 2021.

She was a student at Ohio State University and had been granted acceptance into the Fire Science program at Idaho State University. She had dreams of pursuing a career in wildland fire and forestry and was looking forward to pursuing her passion and bringing her knowledge back to southeast Ohio. Selinde’s desire and eagerness to learn about prescribed fire’s role in forest conservation was evident  while working for the Division of Forestry.

Selinde’s obituary:

Selinde Downey Roosenburg, age 20, passed away as a result of injuries sustained as a passenger in a UTV rollover. She was working on a prescribed fire at the Richland Furnace State Forest. We may be comforted to know that she died doing what she loved; and that she surely wore a beaming, tired smile in the moments before the accident. Her last gift to this world was to give life through the donation of her organs. Our sparkling, vibrant daughter, sister, cousin and partner would have wanted this tragedy to bring life and joy to others.

Lindy was born in Lancaster, Ohio on 10 April 2000, but grew up a barefoot explorer in the woods outside Amesville. From birth, she was a spirited child who confronted the world on her own terms. She attended West Elementary, Athens Middle School, and Athens High School and was a member of the Athens Marching Green and Gold and the Athens Swim Team.

Selinde settled on Forestry after two years at Ohio State University, but when learning changed she decided to experience life rather than merely imagining it from the classroom. In the fall Selinde attended an All-Women Wildland Firefighting Course in Washington State. Working at Zaleski State Forest reinforced her decision to become a Wildland Fire Fighter and Forester. She had been accepted into the best Fire Science program in the country, with a generous scholarship, to finish her training at University of Idaho. Lindy was looking forward to learning all she could about fire and bringing her knowledge back to the woods of SE Ohio.

Lindy was beautiful without knowing it, strong-willed yet vulnerable, bursting with energy and enthusiasm, but also quiet and introspective. She was a fiercely loyal and loving young woman, with a humor so quick and dry that the unsuspecting only caught the pun or barb if they saw the twinkle in her eye. She lived her life with an inspiring liberation, like wearing white shrimper boots on OSU campus in defiance of the standard attire. She rejected pretension and would not tolerate drama. For her, the days were for experiencing life to the fullest, making other people laugh, and becoming a hero to her community.

Lindy loved animals of all shapes and sizes, filling our lives with rabbits, ducks, dead bluebirds, and wiggling snakes, while spoiling the family dogs at every opportunity. She played guitar, fiddle, and trumpet; but mostly she sang, announcing her presence before she arrived and gracing quiet moments with her joyful voice.

Selinde is survived by her parents Willem Roosenburg and Kate Kelley, brother Dirk Roosenburg, grandmother Carol Kelley (Bryn Mawr PA), aunts (Alex Woodard, London England; Eleanne Roosenburg, Acton MA), uncles (Brendan Kelley, Seattle WA; Ian Kelley, San Diego, CA), cousins (Esme and Phoebe Wessel, Asheville NC; Jordan Kelley, Ocean City NJ), her partner Kees Van Dijk (Lancaster OH), and many, many dear friends.

Learn more about Selinde at, https://www.forevermissed.com/lindyofthewildlands/lifestory

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Cary and Matt.