Wildfire news, November 12, 2008

Video of helicopter dropping mulch

Wildfire Today has posted several times about the aerial application of mulch to stabilize burned slopes. Here is a one-minute video of a helicopter dropping rice straw in Butte County, California. It almost looks like an explosion as the gold-colored rice straw is released from the cargo net.

If you liked that video, HERE is another one, 3 minutes long, that has more footage of the mulch-dropping.

North Carolina: Two firefighters injured

From foxcarolina.com

MARSHALL, N.C. — Two firefighters were injured on Tuesday while fighting a wildfire in the western North Carolina mountains. The fire started Tuesday afternoon near the small town of Marshall. Firefighters said at one point they feared the fire would spread into downtown.


“All the buildings in downtown here is very old so it would have been a bad deal if it would have gotten into town,” said Capt. Mike Baldwin with the Marshall Fire Department.

Crews from three local fire departments and the U.S. Forest Service were called in to help battle the blaze. They used water-dumping helicopters and ground crews to get the fire under control.
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The two injured firefighters are expected to recover, crews said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

The foxcarolina.com site has a video about the fire.


Minnesota: FEMA to give $3 million to Cook County for sprinklers

On January 6 Wildfire Today covered the fact that two counties in Minnesota had sought federal funding through FEMA to help pay the cost of installing sprinkler systems for homeowners. Now it turns out that Cook County in MN has received $3 million from FEMA for sprinkler systems for residents and businesses.

From the Duluth News Tribune:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has given Cook County $3 million to help more residents and businesses install large sprinkler systems that help protect against forest fires. The FEMA money comes for the county’s “Pre-Disaster Mitigation Wildfire Retrofit Project.’’ The grant was announced today by U.S. Rep. Jim Oberstar, D-Minn.


The sprinkler systems are credited with saving dozens of buildings during the devastating 2007 Ham Lake fire. The systems use a gasoline/propane motor to pump water out of lakes. The sprinklers create a stream of water over cabins, homes and resorts — and the yards around them — that raises humidity, slows fires and protects against burning embers.

“In the Ham Lake Fire, over 100 homes were spared serious damage because they were equipped with these systems,” Oberstar said in a prepared statement, saying the federal money is better spent before a disaster instead of after.

Similar federal grants in 2000 and 2007 helped the county improve sprinkler systems and communications efforts, both of which are credited with preventing loss of life and injuries and saving homes during the Ham Lake fire.

Should the federal government be giving millions of dollars to private homeowners and businesses for fire equipment around their homes and businesses? What’s next? Will FEMA pay to replace wood shake shingles with fire resistant roofing materials on privately owned structures? Will FEMA buy you a boat if you live in a flood-prone area?


Fires in OK, KY, MS, and GA

The Situation Report lists 18 fires that are larger than 100 acres in these four states. The largest is the Atoka Lake fire in OK, which as burned 4,960 acres.

One fire that is not on the Situation Report is the Woody Creek fire, a 530 acre fire in Georgia, being fought by the Georgia Forestry Commission, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service. The fire is in the Yahoola Valley in Lumpkin County. (See photo below.)

Here is an excerpt from an article in the Dahlogega Nugget:

“This is a steep, rocky area,” Rightmyer said, “and it’s easy for a log to roll down the mountain and start a new fire. And the firefighters have to be careful walking down the side of the mountain. The objective is to get the fire under control as soon and as safely as we can. It might get somewhat larger before we are able to get safe control lines in.”


Lumpkin County Fire Department and the Forsyth County Wildland Team worked yesterday and today clearing around 20-24 structures potentially threatened by the wildfire, mostly in the area of Jack Walker/Thurmond Walker roads area, fire chief Ed Eggert said. Local restaurants and the Lumpkin Chapter of the Red Cross provided food and water to the firefighters.

New siren technology

Firegeezer has the story about a new type of siren that can be heard better in sound-proof cars, or when someone is blasting their radio or talking on a cell phone. It produces a lower frequency tone that can be felt as well as heard.

Wisconsin: Prescribed fire conference

The Wisconsin Prescribed Fire Council and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are putting on a conference titled: “Prescribed Fire — Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future”, January 28-30, 2009 in Stevens Point, WI. More information is HERE.

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