Wildfire news, May 28, 2009

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San Diego fire chief announces retirement

Chief Tracy Jarman. Photo: Howard Lipin, Union-Tribune

Tracy Jarman, Fire Chief of the San Diego Fire Department, announced her retirement yesterday. She succeeded Chief Jeff Bowman who resigned in frustration when he felt that the department did not receive adequate funding for personnel and equipment.

The San Diego Fire Department has been criticized, especially since the disastrous Cedar fire of 2003 that destroyed 306 homes in the city, for having fewer firefighters, stations, and less equipment than most other cities of similar size.

Jarmin, 53, was named Chief in 2006, and in 2008 was selected Fire Chief of the Year by the California Fire Chiefs Association. During her tenure, she added three fire stations and led the effort to acquire a second firefighting helicopter and more advanced wildland fire training for firefighters.

She had planned to retire at 50, but said she could not pass up the chance when she was asked to be Chief. Currently earning $165,000 annually, she will receive a pension of $123,600 a year.

Alaska: Broken Snowshoe fire

Broken Snowshoe fire, May 28, Map by Alaska Fire Service

This fire 4 miles northeast of McGrath, Alaska has now burned 21,760 acres, doubling in size in the last 24 hours in spite of cooler weather and overcast skies, but pushed by strong west winds which are blowing it away from the village of 300. British Columbia is sending two helicopter rappel crews to assist with the fire.

The map above is from an excellent site found at the Alaska Interagency Coordination Center. If you visit the site, be patient–it takes a while to load.

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