Wildfire briefing, March 26, 2013

Update on air tanker contracting

Fire Aviation has an article published today summarizing the current state of air tanker contracting, or the lack thereof. There may be some new developments this week.

Wood shingles on Helena’s fire tower violate city ordinance

The wood shake shingles that the city installed on the roof of Helena’s iconic fire tower in 2011 violate the city’s ordinance against the use of exposed wooden roofing materials. The city Manager said they will fix it “ASAP”.

Wood roofs on National Park Service structures

The National Park Service should also be called to task for routinely using wood shake shingles when they replace roofs on historic buildings in fire prone environments — for example a visitor center in Devils Tower National Monument and an old ranger station in Jewel Cave National Monument. The NPS should fix it “ASAP”.

During the Jasper Fire in 2000 firefighters had a hellofatime keeping the old structure in Jewel Cave from burning. Three times they had to foam the structure and escape as the fire approached and burned around the log building with the wood roof. Just weeks before the fire the wood shingle roof had been replaced with — wood shingles. There are alternative roof materials that look very much like wood but are much more fire resistant.

The 2013 wildfire season

This time of the year some people like to make predictions about how busy the wildfire season will be. USA Today jumps into the fray, and has an interesting graphic. WyoFile also covered the topic.

Dude Fire video

The Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center has converted a video about the Dude Fire Staff Ride that was first released on VHS tape in October, 2000. It tells the story of how a fatal blow-up entrapped 11 firefighters and claimed six of their lives.

Wildfire training in Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation’s Bureau of Forest Fire Control hosted fire training for 64 firefighters last week on Cape Cod.

Cattle growers endorse bill to increase grazing on federal lands

Two cattle grower organizations are supporting a bill that was recently reintroduced in the House of Representatives. Titled the Catastrophic Wildfire Prevention Act of 2013 (H.R. 1345), it would streamline the process for approving livestock grazing and timber thinning.

Massive forest thinning project in Arizona

The goal of the Four Forests Restoration Initiative is to thin 1 million acres of ponderosa pine forests over 20 years, from the Grand Canyon to the New Mexico border. The project covers the Kaibab, Coconino, Apache, Sitgreaves, and Tonto national forests.

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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.