Wildfire briefing, December 22, 2014

Recently passed California ballot initiative could deplete firefighting inmate crews

A California ballot initiative recently passed could decrease the number of personnel available to staff firefighting inmate crews. The Colbert Report featured this issue on December 2 in their usual satirical style, but Reuters has a more serious look at the potential effects.

Below is an excerpt from their article:

…That measure will likely diminish the very segment of the inmate population that the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, draws upon to fill its wildland firefighting crews.

Housed in 39 minimum-security “conservation camps” run by the state corrections department, the firefighting inmates also do brush clearance, flood control and park maintenance projects.

“It might do some damage to our pipeline,” said corrections Sergeant John Lanthripp, assistant commander of the largest of the camps, Oak Glen, in Southern California’s San Bernardino Mountains.

The change comes as California firefighting resources are increasingly stretched by more large wildfires, and a longer fire season, attributed to the state’s prolonged drought…

Fire in Cambodia destroys homes

A fire in Phnom Penh, Cambodia burned 26 homes and injured two people Saturday evening.

Forest Service asks visitors to not decorate trees

I didn’t know this was a thing.

Some national forests in Arizona and New Mexico are concerned about a tradition of decorating trees on forest land during the holidays. Over the past several years, the practice along well-traveled roads has become increasingly popular at the expense of the National Forest’s wild land and natural character.

A spokesperson for the Coconino National Forest said that not only are the decorating items distracting and altering the natural visual character and scenic quality, they are also potentially threatening to wildlife. Various wildlife species can ingest them or in some cases get entangled in them.

Decorating trees is a wonderful tradition, the Forest Service said, but it is much more appropriate on private and commercial property than on the National Forest. This season, the Forest Service will be proactively taking steps to prevent tree decorating on the National Forest. Decorations will be promptly removed, and individuals responsible can be issued violation notices under the Code of Federal Regulations CFR 261.11b for “possessing or leaving litter on the National Forest” with a fine of $150 or more. Please report such activities to the Red Rock Ranger District at (928) 282-4119.

Spectacular photos

We can’t publish them here, but check out these excellent photos taken at wildland fires. The first two won awards:

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Ken.

Typos, let us know HERE. And, please keep in mind our commenting ground rules before you post a comment.

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. Google+