“Flames of anxiety” in Boise

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NIFC fire
Representatives of the land management agencies in Boise meet in front of a map showing the wildfire situation in Alaska. BLM photo by Randy Eardley.

The Los Angeles Times has an interesting article about some of the decisions that land managers at the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise are making as fires break out in Alaska and other areas this summer. Below is an excerpt:


Flames of anxiety at the U.S. fire command center in Idaho

by John Glionna

The map on the large video screen at the far end of the room provides a real-time snapshot of the forest fires raging across the western U.S.

On this morning, the picture isn’t pretty. It’s ominous in a hold-on-to-your-seat way that casts a pall over two dozen fire analysts, meteorologists and forest experts. They see a growing scourge of fierce yellow and red dots, each representing a new fire, and they furrow their brows.

Alaska is burning.

The incident report for this day, Monday, June 22, at the National Interagency Coordination Center — the nerve center for the white-knuckle job of fire-control nationwide — shows the state at Planning Level 5, the highest possible.

Sixty-four new infernos have been sparked since the day before. In all, 12 large fires burn out of control, with 2,000 firefighters already on the ground.

Remote Alaska town threatened by lightning-sparked blaze; wildfires rage in West
Remote Alaska town threatened by lightning-sparked blaze; wildfires rage in West
In drought-baked California, 49 new blazes erupted in the previous 24 hours. The Lake Fire in San Bernardino has roared for days, and on this Monday is still only 21% contained. Two conflagrations further north — the Corrine fire near Merced and the Sky fire near Yosemite — have closed roads and threatened structures.

The fire watchers here at this wooded high-security complex hail from a phalanx of federal agencies — Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Weather Service, National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Previously, they met once a month to pool resources, manpower and ideas. Now they huddle daily. Soon they will meet twice a day…”


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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.