Wildfire news, August 10, 2008

Gunbarrel fire

This fire between Yellowstone National Park and Cody, Wyoming, has been very subdued for the last several days due to wet, cooler weather. Moderate and drier conditions are expected over the next two days, with the temperature around 70, RH 20-30%, and WSW winds 8-13. Now that they have completed the contingency lines and the preparations around structures, they are releasing some resources and shutting down the helibase. Air operations will be based out of the Cody Airport. The size is still reported to be 35,500 acres.

New fires in Oregon

Lightning has started 85 fires across northeast Oregon since Thursday. The largest so far is a 100-acre fire southeast of Athena.

Young firefighters on contract crews

The Oregonian has an article about college-age people signing up on contract crews to make some fast bucks for school.

Two firefighters leave hospital

Two of the firefighters injured in the crash of the helicopter in northern California were released from the hospital Saturday. From Oregonlive.com


Michael Brown talks to reporters as he leaves the hospital.

Michael Brown, 20, and Jonathan Frohreich, 18, were two of four survivors of Tuesday’s crash near Redding, Calif., which claimed the lives of eight other Oregonians and one U.S. Forest Service ranger from California. 

Surrounded by friends and family at the UC Davis Medical Center, Brown, of Rogue River, said he remembered little of the fiery crash that killed some of his best friends. He didn’t know the extent of it until he woke up in the hospital.

“I’m broken up,” Brown said, his voice shaking and his face bruised and fractured in multiple places. “I’ve lost a lot of my brothers and my friends.”

Brown, who started volunteering for the Rogue River Fire Department when he was in high school, said he plans to continue firefighting. “I love my job,” he said. “Every firefighter is strong, and it takes a lot of courage. God had his hands wrapped around me.”

Frohreich, a recent graduate of South Medford High School, declined to comment. He had second-degree burns on his face and a fractured lower back.

Co-pilot William Coultas, 44, of Cave Junction was in critical condition with third-degree burns on at least one-third of his body, including his face, arms and legs. On Thursday, he had skin-graft surgery and probably will be hospitalized for at least 35 days. He faces intensive rehabilitation, said Dr. Tina Palmieri, direct of the UC Davis Regional Burn Center.

Photo courtesy of Sacramento Bee

Memorial service for crash victims

According to a post on wildlandfire.com, a service will be held in Junction City, California on September 13. Andy Palmer, who died after being hit by a falling tree, will also be remembered during the service

Man responsible for the Bear fire paroled

A man’s bad attitude got him a 2-year prison sentence, according to the UPI.

Matt Rupp said after his recent parole that he is furious to have been incarcerated for two years for accidentally starting a major California wildfire. 

The 48-year-old said after being released from a state prison that he did not deserve to spend time among rapists and killers for igniting the destructive Bear Fire with his riding lawn mower in 2004, the San Francisco Chronicle said Sunday.

Rupp said he was not an arsonist, but merely an individual whose mower struck a rock and created a spark that ignited a field of dry grass near Redding, Calif.

“To set a fire, you have to set a fire,” Rupp said.

The former inmate says he is also struggling to make ends meet since he has been ordered to pay the fire’s victims a total of $2.25 million.

Nonetheless, prosecutors defended Rupp’s prison sentence by claiming it was the best way for him to learn to follow public advisories during California’s dry seasons.

“His attitude,” Shasta County prosecutor Ben Hanna told the Chronicle, “showed that he was the type of person who was not going to learn from his mistakes. A prison sentence was appropriate.”


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