Wildfire briefing, January 23, 2014

Island fire to be allowed to burn out

A wildfire on an island in Suisun Bay east of San Francisco Bay will be allowed to burn out, according to Contra Costa County Fire Protection District Capt. Robert Marshall. Wednesday afternoon U.S. Coast Guard and fire protection district equipment responded to the fire on Winter Island (map) , which is mostly uninhabited, having just one structure that was not threatened by the fire. They figured it could take anywhere from a few hours to a few days for the fire to burn out. The island is two miles long and about 0.3 mile wide.

Three men charged for Colby Fire

The three men that were arrested January 16 soon after the Colby Fire started above Glendora, California east of Los Angeles, have been charged in federal court. The men, who allowed an illegal campfire to escape, were identified as Jonathan Carl Jerrell, 24; Clifford Eugene Henry Jr., 22; and Steven Robert Aguirre, 21, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. Aguirre and Henry were ordered to remain in custody without bail, while Jarrell was scheduled for a Friday detention hearing. All three are scheduled to be arraigned Feb. 11.

Two of the men seen hurriedly moving away from the fire were apprehended by a Glendora police officer. The third was found and taken into custody by an employee of the U.S. Forest Service. The fire destroyed five homes, damaged seven, and burned 1,952 acres.

Mike Wakoski’s incident management team is calling the fire, which has not spread since January 17, 98 percent contained.

After the men were arrested there were discussions between the Glendora PD and the U.S. Attorney’s office whether to charge them with state or local crimes or use federal statutes, since the fire burned both U.S. Forest Service land as well as private property within the city. But the decision was made to charge them in federal court.

Black Forest fire department hires PR firm

The fire-rescue district that managed the Black Forest Fire during the first hours has hired a public relations firm to deal with the fallout caused by the intense criticism directed at the district by El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa. The Sheriff has been carrying on a war in the media against the fire district, saying they should have turned the fire over more quickly to the Sheriff. Colorado is one of a few states that still have the elected county sheriff responsible for suppressing wildland fires in unincorporated areas. The fire killed two people, destroyed 486 homes, and damaged 37 others in June.

The sheriff’s office has been investigating the cause of the fire, in addition to a separate investigation by the fire district, which, according to the Chieftain, has paid an investigator $13,000.

Researchers test new firefighting gel

Researchers with Texas A&M recently tested a new gel that can be used for suppressing active structure or wildland fires, and may have the potential to be effective if used for pre-treating fuel in advance of a fire.

Called TetraKO, it is claimed by the company to be “biodegradable and non-toxic to water, fish, plants and mammals by independent research organizations”.

In a MyFoxAustin video report on the test, the reporter seemed to be surprised that gel applied the day before to the vegetation was not effective in stopping the spread of the fire. However it did keep some treated fence posts from igniting.

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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 briefing, January 23, 2014”

  1. Strong work Contra Costa county. Fire use on an island is still fire use. Saving $$ and reducing risk to firefighters is always a good stroke.


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