Wildfire news, March 16, 2012

NASA's Predator B Ikhana

Arkansas Fire Chief rolls truck, receives written warning from State Trooper

Pea Ridge Fire Chief Frank Rizzio failed to negotiate a corner and rolled a water tender while responding to a structure fire on Wednesday. The Chief crawled out of the shattered windshield 4,000-gallon truck which was totalled. An officer from the Arkansas State Police issued Chief Rizzio, who was treated and released at a hospital, a written warning for failure to maintain control.

NASA awards grant for monitoring wildfires

NASA has awarded a 10-year grant totaling $32 million to Cal State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) to continue research on wildfire monitoring, agricultural water management, flood forecasting, and crop yield predictions. CSUMB’s Vince Ambrosia has done pioneering research previously on the use of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, to monitor and map wildfires, at times using NASA’s aircraft.

NASA's Predator B Ikhana
NASA's Predator B, called the Ikhana; NASA photo

Firefighters resign over poisoning another’s canteen water

Two firefighters in Titusville, Florida have resigned after admitting that they were involved in putting a poisonous substance into another firefighter’s canteen that he would have used on a brush fire. Police said the substance was Gunk, a cleaning product.

Randy Moore, 40, driver and operator, resigned Tuesday. Rod Donhoff, firefighter and paramedic, resigned Feb. 29. Moore faces charges of poisoning water/food and aggravated stalking. Donhoff was charged with stalking and petty theft of government property.

USFS Fire Chief “cautiously confident” about aerial firefighting capability

Tom Harbour, Director of Fire Aviation Management for the U.S. Forest Service, was quoted by the Mountain-News regarding the air tanker fleet:

I’m feeling cautiously confident about our capabilities nationally…

Mr. Harbour is “cautiously confident” in spite of the fact that the air tanker fleet is only 25% of the size of the 2002 fleet.

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Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire.

One thought on “Wildfire news, March 16, 2012”

  1. “NASA has awarded a 10-year grant totaling $32 million to Cal State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) — The grant is part of a $137 million award given to the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute of Sonoma. The institute will collaborate with CSUMB, UC Davis and the University of North Dakota.”

    So the U.S. govt can give out $137 million in research grant funding to the “Bay Area Environmental Research Group”….. but the USFS “Chief” (Tidwell) only asked for ONLY $24 million in supplemental FY2013 funding for “new” airtankers…. and is allowing/supporting a further reduction in helicopters due to budget (see: https://wildfiretoday.com/2012/03/09/helicopters-on-national-contracts-2012/ )

    Something is FUBAR.

    Seems there is a lack of leadership and setting of priorities somewhere… Somewhere near the top something is severely broken (Obama –> Vilsack –> Tidwell –> Harbour –> FIELD = FIELD –> Harbour –> Tidwell –> Vilsack –> Obama).

    Somewhere.. there is a lack of communication: the risk; the need; and the urgency.

    The $$ (preparedness) are out there to prevent $$$$$$$$$$$$ (response/recovery). Simple math / simple message.



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