Wildfire news, May 13, 2009

Excellent photos of Jesusita fire

The BayAreaNewsGroup has 73 excellent photos of the Jesusita fire near Santa Barbara, Calif.  Here is one.

May 8, 2009. AP Photo/Mike Meadows

I wonder what causes the very regular, segmented pattern in the retardant?  Is it caused by an uneven viscosity of the retardant, or is it a function of the way it is released from the tank on the helicopter, in this case a Sikorsky Sky Crane?

UPDATE @ 9:30 p.m. PT, May 14. Tom, one of our readers, sent us the following ( I knew someone would have the answer):

Those are computer controlled tanks on the cranes and the modern fleet of airtankers. The tank doors open and close rapidly, metering out the retardant. Thus the pattern.

JFSP funding opportunity

The Joint Fire Science program has $500,000 to $1,000,000 available for:

…start-up proposals to support regional consortia of fire science providers and managers to enhance fire science delivery and adoption. The JFSP hopes to develop a national network of regional consortia, each operating as a willing and formal association working together to enhance fire science delivery and adoption within a specified geographic region.

Department of Homeland Security Budget Request

The Obama administration has released their proposed fiscal year 2010 budget for the Department of Homeland Security. It shows a huge reduction in the FIRE, or Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, which provides equipment to fire departments across the nation. However it proposes to double the funding for the SAFER program that helps fire departments increase the number of trained, “front-line” firefighters available in their communities.

($ in millions)

FY 2009 Enacted by Congress FY 2010


U.S. Fire Administration 44.98 45.59
FIRE Grant Program 565 170
SAFER Grant Program 210 420
Urban Areas Security Initiative 837.5 887
State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP) 950 950
Urban Search and Rescue Teams 32.5 28
Interoperable Communications Grants 50 50
Emergency Management Performance Grants 315 315

SAFER grants: Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant

FIRE grants: Assistance to Firefighters grant (AFG)


Thanks BillyG

Tom Risk of Tanker 42 remembered

On April 24 Tanker 42 crashed in Utah, killing the crew, Tom Risk, Mike Flynn, and Brian Buss.

Thanks Kelly

San Diego: Preemptive power shut-off update

San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) is encountering more resistance to its plan to turn off the electricity to large areas of San Diego County during periods of high fire danger in an effort to prevent their power lines from starting more fires. The company’s power lines have been blamed for starting numerous large fires over the last 40 years.

An attorney that is representing four water districts said there are 84 “critical” water pumping stations in the back country that do not have backup generators. If the power is shut off, there would be no water available in these areas to refill fire trucks if there were a large fire during periods of high fire danger.

An administrative law judge for the California Public Utilities Commission ordered SDG&E to file a report by Tuesday stating how many generators would be needed to keep power flowing to vital pumps and to say whether SDG&E would be willing to pay for them. The company said a pool of four generators would be adequate and it should be the responsibility of the water districts to purchase them at a cost of $1.67 million.

The Public Utilities Commission is expected to make a decision on SDG&E’s plan to shut off the power by July. If approved, it would take effect in September.

Oklahoma: burned firefighter recovering

On April 9 a volunteer firefighter was burned while suppressing one of many fires burning in Oklahoma that day. David Milby, an Iowa Tribe firefighter, was burned over 26 percent of his body with second- and third-degree burns. Milby, the tribe’s training officer, was entrapped and burned over in his brush truck when it became stuck in a field. He has undergone at least six operations as part of the skin graft process and may be released from the hospital in one to two weeks.

1,000 pounds of wings for firefighters

Now that the Highway 31 fire near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina that burned about 20,000 acres and 69 homes on April 23 is controlled, some local residents wanted to thank the firefighters. The Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant prepared 1,000 pounds of free wings for the police officers and firefighters that helped put out the fire.

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