Wildfire news, June 1, 2009

Distribution of forest stimulus funds in Montana

The Missoulian has the details of the confusion around the distribution of federal stimulus funds for national forests in Montana.  It turns out it’s kind of tricky to spend $57 million overnight.

Lightning in CA and OR

Lightning has moved into northern California and Oregon and could continue challenging firefighters with more activity until June 4. Over 900 strikes started at least 10 fires in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in northwest California. At least three fires caused by lightning were discovered Saturday in Yosemite National Park. And in central Oregon 20 fires have been reported since Friday. The largest fire in Oregon, the Green Grass fire, has burned about 2,000 acres south of the John Day River.

Let’s hope this is not going to be a replay of the Siege of ’08 when lightning started more than 1,000 fires in northern California, filling the air with smoke for months on end. Rain with the recent lightning is reducing the chance that this will be a months-long firefighting event, unlike last year when much of the lightning was dry.

Wildfire threat influences home-buying decisions

A survey conducted by the Chubb Group of Insurance Companies found that 32 percent of the respondents now living in a a wildfire risk area would not purchase another home in an area where wildfires have occurred. Seventy percent of them claim to have removed all dead or flammable vegetation from around their homes.

The Chubb group has partnered with a private firefighting outfit, Wildfire Defense Systems, Inc., to protect the homes of policy holders in 13 western states.

Rain slows Broken Snowshoe fire

Rain on Sunday slowed the spread of this fire near McGrath, Alaska to the point where crews are being released. Tony Doty, the Incident Commander, has a few more details on his Twitter feed. The last size reported was 25,757 acres.

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