(UPDATED at 11:42 a.m. MDT, May 5, 2015)
A video recording of this morning’s hearing by the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources about wildfires has been posted along with the formal written statements of the five witnesses. These all went up on the website much more quickly than we have seen in the past.
The video and the written statements can be seen here.
I was only able to see portions of the statements by the witnesses, and missed the following Q&A period. One part that I found interesting was what Bob Eisele, a retired Watershed and Fire Analyst with the County of San Diego said about technology. Basically Mr. Eisele, who spoke only occasionally referring to notes, said, “We need to know where the fire is”, and “We need to know where the firefighters are”, referring to real-time tracking of the fire and firefighting resources, what I call the Holy Grail of Wildland Firefighter Safety.
U.S. Forest Service Chief Tomas Tidwell predictably said, “We have the resources”, and then mentioned engines, large air tankers, and MAFFS military air tankers.
Dr. Sharon Hood, a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the University of Montana, made an interesting presentation about how low-severity fires can help provide ponderosa pine with defenses against bark beetle attacks, and that excluding frequent fire from
the system greatly decreases resistance from bark beetle outbreaks.
(Originally published at 8 p.m. MDT, May 4, 2015)
On Tuesday, May 5 the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources will hold a hearing “to receive testimony on the Federal government’s role in wildfire management, the impact of fires on communities, and potential improvements to be made in fire operations.”
It is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. EDT, and will be viewable on a live webcast. These hearings are recorded and can usually be replayed a day or two later.
The panel of witnesses will include:
- Mr. Thomas TidwellChief, U.S. Forest ServiceU.S. Department of Agriculture
- Dr. Stephen PyneRegents’ Professor & Distinguished Sustainability ScholarSchool of Life Sciences, Arizona State University
- Dr. Sharon HoodPost-Doctoral Researcher, College of Forestry & ConservationUniversity of Montana
- Mr. Bruce HallinDirector of Water Rights and ContractsSalt River Project
- Mr. Bob EiseleWatershed and Fire AnalystCounty of San Diego, CA – Retired