Wildfire briefing, July 9, 2015

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Automatic camera system detects fire, leads to stranded mom and newborn baby

A new camera system designed to detect the first signs of wildfire smoke in a forest, did just that in northern California a couple of weeks ago not long after the cameras were installed. Below is an excerpt from an article in the Red Bluff Daily News:

…The story began two weeks ago when a pregnant Amber Pangborn reportedly went into labor while driving on the outskirts of Oroville, took a shortcut and got lost. Eventually her car ran out of gas and she was stranded on the side of a road in the Plumas National Forest. There was no cell phone service.

She told a Chico TV station that she laid out a sleeping bag in the back seat of her car and gave birth to her daughter, whom she named Marisa. She survived for three days on bottled water and apples and fended off bees and mosquitoes.

Desperate, she started a brush fire with a lighter and a can of hair spray. The fire was detected by the PG&E-funded wildfire detection camera systems, which use integrated GIS-Data to pinpoint fire start locations.

The images were sent to a dispatch center, which alerted Butte County fire officials who worked with their counterparts in the Plumas National Forest to send a helicopter. The woman and her newborn daughter were rescued and taken to an Oroville hospital.

The $2 million system, which PG&E funded to detect wildfires in key, remote locations in Northern and Central California, worked exactly as it was intended, said Mike Weber, battalion chief for Butte County Fire Department in Oroville…

Iowa political candidate bashes fire trucks use in chief’s funeral

Rhonda Appelgate, a write-in candidate for the city council in Nevada, Iowa was incensed that fire trucks participated in a procession honoring a recently deceased fire chief, Mark Farren. She wrote on Facebook that it was “another example of inappropriate use of our emergency services and vehicles.” She went on to say, “We do not use emergency personnel, or employees, to honor people, and firefighters, police, soldiers, EMS, etc. are just people like all of us. I am sorry for Mark’s family, but I need to address this issue as a potential city representative … I will make sure that our resources are no longer abused.”

Firefighters from Mexico assist with fires in Alberta

From CBC.ca:

Five dozen firefighters from Mexico are in Edmonton Thursday getting ready to help fight wildfires in northern Alberta.

The 62 brigadistas will join the 1,700 firefighters currently working in the province.

Firefighter Hector Trejo says the firefighting in the state of Jalisco season ended a week ago, about the time they received the request to come to Alberta.

“For most of the guys it’s their passion to fight fires, get to know the forest, and what a better way to do it than in another country and helping others,” he said.

One of the biggest adjustments for his crew will be using more water than they traditionally use against the flames, Trejo said.

Oregon fire department offers free housing for volunteers

The Forest Grove Rural Fire District in Oregon is offering free housing for firefighters who will live at the fire station and volunteer to fight fires.

From OregonLive:

The fire district is offering free rent in a manufactured home next door to its Gales Creek station in hopes of assembling a more reliably staffed volunteer firefighter pool.

The house will be home to any four volunteer or intern firefighters who want a free private bedroom and bathroom with utilities paid in a rural setting. In return, the firefighters agree to respond to fire and emergency calls in the area.

“It’s just really tough out there to find volunteers,” said Forest Grove Fire Marshal Dave Nemeyer of the rural fire district, which spans from Forest Grove to near Banks and deep into the Tillamook State Forest.

Footprint in Alaska

One of the Pennsylvania firefighters helping out with fires in Alaska, sent back this photo.

Bear footprint

(Via PA Wildfire News)

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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.

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