Wildfire news, March 16

Montana to extinguish coal seam fires

There are at least nine coal seam fires burning in eastern Montana and the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is seeking information about the possibility of others as they begin to put them out. The fires pose a threat to ignite above ground fires, like the one did in Musselshell County in January, 2008 which had been burning for 20 years. Another one last year ignited a fire in Big Horn County.

The DEQ will begin writing environmental assessments and they expect to put out the fires this spring and summer. The coal seam fires are sometimes ignited by lightning or wildfires.

Fires in Nepal creating problems

From The Himalayan Times:

A few days after NASA’s Aqua satellite caught a glimpse of large-scale forest fires in the mountains of Nepal, weathermen and health experts have warned of more wildfires and health hazards they pose for the public.

According to NASA, wildfires appear to be raging in or very close to some of the national parks and conservation areas, including Langtang National Park and Makalu Barun National Park, located along the northern border of the country. The forest fire raging in Langtang National Park in Rasuwa district for the last seven days is said to be the worst of all.

“There is no organisation to fight forest fires in Nepal,” said a senior official at the Department of Forests, “The department does not possess any special unit or team to deal with wildfires.” Unless forest fire surveillance and monitoring are carried out by satellite imagery it will be difficult to make a good assessment of the extent of damage caused by the forest fires.

He said, “Forest fires occur annually in all the major physiographic/climatic regions ofNepal, including the Tarai and Bhawar, the Shiwaliks or the inner Tarai, the mid-mountains, and the high mountains.” Forest fires rage during the dry season from February to June.

Ocala National Forest fire

The fire in the Ocala National Forest in Florida has burned 10,000 acres north of the Juniper Springs recreation area. Smoke jumpers assigned to the fire have traded their ‘chutes for canoes which they are using to access remote areas.

A “Scenic” fire in South Dakota

Fire near Scenic, SD. Photo: KEVN

On Sunday a fire east of Rapid City near Scenic (yes, there’s a town called “Scenic”) burned about 500 acres of private land near the Buffalo Gap National Grassland. KEVN has a video report HERE.

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