Wildfire news, June 30, 2009

Evergreen files suit against Erickson

Evergreen, which operates the 747 “Supertanker” as well as three Sikorsky Skycrane helicopters, claims it has not been able to fly its Skycranes at times because Erickson Air-Crane has limited their access to parts and other services. They say they have not been able to bid on some aviation contracts because their helicopters were grounded, waiting for parts.

An article in the Mail Tribune has more details. [link no longer works]

Thanks Kelly.


Contracting out fire protection

On June 6 we told you about the private fire suppression company in Carmel Valley, California, Golden Valley Fire Suppression. An article at Boston.com covers the recent trend in privatizing fire protection, including the Golden Valley company.

Here is a brief excerpt:

Privatization of fire protection, especially in the Western United States, has emerged in several forms. In some instances, private contractors are hired by state and local government to deal with extreme fire emergencies. The National Wildfire Suppression Association, formed in 1991, represents over 150 private firms that employ firefighters and equipment to assist locally on an “as needed’’ basis.

Quite a different form of private fire protection is being funded by large insurance companies. Last year,Chubb Corp.began offering fire protection to its clients in 13 Western states as long as their homes have a replacement value of at least $1 million. According to an Associated Press report, Fireman’s Fund has retained private fire fighting companies in California; AIG employs private firms to dispense fire-retardant foam on valuable homes as soon as there is a wildfire threat for clients in the 200 wealthiest Western zip codes.


State trooper’s car burns at vegetation fire

Near Salina, Kansas, a state trooper responded to a report of a fire involving a wheat field and a combine. After he arrived he got out of his car to assess the situation, then looked back and saw that his car was on fire.

The report from KSAL does not say if the vegetation fire ignited the car which may have been parked at an inappropriate location, or if the car was parked over vegetation which could have been touched off by heat from the car’s catalytic converter.

Thanks Dick


British Columbia to train 750 as firefighters

From 250 News

VICTORIA – British Columbia will pay up to 750 unemployed workers to take wildfire suppression training to enhance the Province’s capacity to fight and contain forest fires, Forests and Range Minister Pat Bell
announced today.

“This is a great opportunity for First Nations, unemployed forest workers and other individuals to upgrade their skills and experience,” said Bell. “Residents of rural communities understand the threat that wildfires pose. They want to be part of the solution and we want to make sure they have the training to stay safe if called upon to protect homes, businesses, and the forest resource they depend on.”

The Emergency Firefighter Training program will pay qualified individuals $15 per hour to take the S-100 Basic Fire Suppression and Safety training course that prepares individuals to become emergency firefighters. The two-day course is a comprehensive introduction to wildfire suppression work and combines classroom theory with a hands-on field component.

Once trained, individuals with a valid S-100 certificate can be placed on an availability list to assist fire centres and fire suppression contractors in the event that existing resources are fully deployed and
additional contingency firefighting resources are needed. When deployed, emergency firefighters earn $15 per hour and typically perform mop-up, patrols, camp demobilization and other support
functions under the supervision of experienced personnel.


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