Wildfire news, April 16, 2009

Secondary injuries in cattle after a fire

We hear a lot about post-fire effects on vegetation, but almost never about the effects on domestic animals. By Kay Ledbetter, Texas A&M University:

Analyzing injuries to cattle following a wildfire is important to minimize losses, said Texas AgriLife Extension Service specialists.

“It might look like they’ve made it and there was no visible physical damage,” said Dr. Floron “Buddy” Faries, AgriLife Extension program leader for veterinary medicine. “However, it’s important to have them looked at by a veterinarian as soon as possible because there could be secondary problems that lead to infections and further problems.”

Health disorders such as burned eyes, feet, udders, sheaths and testicles, as well as smoke inhalation with lung inflammation and edema, are the most common problems, Faries said.

“One of the immediate problems that has to be dealt with within two or three days is damage to the feet and the coronary band above the hoof,” Gill said. “It may take 10 days to two weeks for the damage to start showing. The cattle will start sloughing the hoof wall and develop secondary infections and become lame and unable or unwilling to stand.”

ESPN tells how to conduct prescribed fires

Surprisingly, ESPNOutdoors.com has a lengthy article about the benefits of prescribed fire and explains how to plan and execute one.  Here is how the article begins.

prescribed fire

“Man has come to the forest,” declared Bambi’s father as he smelled the smoke from the campfire that was to become a raging wildfire.

The vivid imagery of this Disney cartoon is the first exposure most children have to fire and wildlife. Smokey the Bear has done an excellent job of educating the public on the dangers of wildfire.

Unfortunately, the same message has usually been applied to all fires, even those that reduce the chance of wildfire and play critical roles in natural ecosystem maintenance and function. While catastrophic wildfires negatively impact people and wildlife, prescribed fires are beneficial to deer and many other native plants and animals.

Prescribed burning is fire applied by trained people in a skillful manner under particular weather conditions in a definite, confined location to achieve specific results. When thoughtfully used, prescribed fire promotes quality deer browse and increases soft mast production.

Henry David Thoreau’s fire

The 300-acre fire that Thoreau accidently started while cooking some fish chowder may have changed the direction of his life.  Here is an excerpt from the Boston Globe:

Henry David Thoreau
Henry David Thoreau

But there is one curious event in the life of Henry David Thoreau that has received little attention, and which may have been a formative event, influencing not only his decision to sequester himself at Walden Pond, but also the development of his environmentalist philosophy. On April 30, 1844, Thoreau started a blaze in the Concord Woods, scorching a 300-acre swath of earth between Fair Haven Bay and Concord. The fire was an accident, but the destruction of valuable woodland, the loss of firewood and lumber, and the narrowly avoided catastrophe that almost befell Concord itself angered the local residents and nearly ruined Thoreau’s reputation. For years afterward, Thoreau could hardly walk the streets of his hometown without hearing the epithet “woods burner.”

That the father of American environmentalism could have been the scourge of the Concord Woods may seem too ironic to be true. Yet, not only did this unlikely event actually occur, but it seems quite possible that, given Thoreau’s general lack of direction at the time, as well as his growing interest in pursuing a career as a civil engineer, America’s first great naturalist might not have undertaken his Walden experiment at all, had it not been for the forest fire he sparked a year earlier. The fire happened at a time when Thoreau seemed desperately in need of some catalyst to convert his thoughts into action.

Fire Department plaques


When I found out that Fireguysteve was following Wildfire Today on Twitter I checked out his Twitter page and discovered a link to his Firepainter.com site.  Apparently Steve is a firefighter who on his days off carves by hand very intricate and detailed three-dimensional fire department and fire station plaques out of tropical Suar wood.  Some of them are pretty amazing.

Video of fire damage at Midwest City, OK

Investigators have found the cause and origin of the wildfire in Midwest City, Oklahoma that destroyed about 100 houses on April 9.  They turned the information over to the police who are not releasing any of the information “because of the investigation”.

The video below shows some of the devastation in the urban area.  A few of the houses still have their brick walls somewhat intact.


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