Wildfire news, May 1, 2009

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Strickland confirmed for Interior Parks job

The Senate has confirmed the appointment of Tom Strickland as the Interior Department’s Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks by a vote of 89-2 after a hold by Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., was removed Wednesday. This position oversees and coordinates policy decisions for the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Here is how we covered Strickland’s nomination on February 25:

President Obama announced on Monday that he intends to nominate Tom Strickland to be the Department of Interior’s new Assistant Secretary for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, a position that would oversee the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Strickland is presently Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar’s chief of staff and would continue to fill that role as well as the Assistant Secretary job. Before taking his present position Strickland was chief legal officer for United Health Group, was a managing partner for a law firm in Colorado, was the policy director for Colorado governor Richard Lamm, and served as the U.S. Attorney for Colorado from 1999 to 2001.

Strickland also ran and lost two elections in his bid to be a Democratic Senator from Colorado.

Strickland and Salazar were both board members and founders of Great Outdoors Colorado, a group created in 1992 that used state lottery funds to help manage Colorado’s public parks.

Mark Rey’s old job as Under Secretary of Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Environment, where he oversaw the U.S. Forest Service, is still vacant.

Rancho fire near Capitan, New Mexico

An air tanker makes a drop to protect the Spencer Theater near Capitan, NM. Photo: Tiger Stangrough

The Rancho fire has burned about 80 acres of grass and pinon-juniper southwest of the Sierra Blanca Regional Airport at Capitan, New Mexico.  Thursday night 8 to 10 homes in the Rain Makers subdivision were asked to evacuate.

Navy issues report about fire caused by errant bomb from F/A-18

F/A-18 Super Hornets

On May 15, 2008 Wildfire Today covered this incident:

The pilot of an F/A-18 Super Hornet meant for his laser guided bomb to land on a Florida bombing range on Tuesday, but he missed it by a mile–exactly–starting a fire in a national forest. Today U.S. Forest Service firefighters are mopping up the 250-acre fire started by the bomb outside the Pinecastle target range about 60 miles northwest of Orlando.

The Navy report blames the screw-up on:

  • The timing on the bomb’s fuse had been improperly set.
  • The pilots were not briefed specifically on weapons delivery techniques before the flight.
  • The plane’s crew failed to properly execute its air-to-ground checklist before dropping the bomb and, as a result, released the bomb while it was set in an improper mode.
  • Some of the crew were found to have questionable amounts of rest the night before the flight.

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