Wildfire briefing, November 7, 2013

USDA awards $10 million grant to explore uses for beetle-killed trees

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has awarded a $10 million grant to a consortium to investigate methods for turning trees killed by beetles into biofuel. Led by Colorado State University, the group includes Cool Planet Energy Systems, Colorado State Forest Service, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, University of Wyoming, University of Montana, Montana State University, University of Idaho, and the Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Research Station.

Red Skies of Montana on DVD

If you liked the historic film Watershed Wildfire about the 1955 Refugio Canyon Fire, you would probably enjoy the 1952 classic movie Red Skies of Montana, which was very loosely based on the 1949 Mann Gulch Fire that claimed the lives of 13 firefighters, including 12 smokejumpers. With the cooperation of the U.S. Forest Service, the Technicolor film was shot in and around Missoula, Montana and stars Richard Widmark, Constance Smith, Jeffery Hunter, and Richard Boone. I believe this movie is where the myth of exploding trees was created.

The National Smokejumper Association sells the DVD for $15.

A description of the movie from Wikipedia:

Cliff Mason, a veteran foreman of the Forest Service’s smokejumper unit, is called out with a crew on a fire, despite the fact that they have not rested in three days. Accompanied by R. A. “Pop” Miller and four other men, Cliff leaves the smokejumper base at Missoula, Montana to parachute into a nearly inaccessible area of Bugle Peak. Hours later, at base, superintendent Richard “Dick” Dryer becomes worried because Cliff is not answering radio calls. The next day, after the fire crowns, Dick flies by helicopter into the area and is stunned to find only Cliff, in shock and wandering through the devastated region. Cliff is rushed to the hospital, where he gradually recovers, although he cannot remember how he got separated from his men, or why he was the only one to survive.

Wildfire music

Did you know there is a band named “Forest Fire“?

And in other news about music related to fire, a video is available featuring a song titled “I See Fire” that will be in the upcoming Hobbit sequel The Desolation of Smaug, which will open in theaters December 10. The song was written and performed by Ed Sheeran, who played all of the instruments in the recording except for the cello. Earlier this week he tweeted, “Managed to learn violin for a day”.

Below is a screen shot from the music video, and below that, the video itself.

Ed Sheeran - I See Fire

A link to the video on YouTube.

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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.