Miller-McCune’s 5th article about battling tomorrow’s wildfires

Posted on Categories Uncategorized

Miller-McCune has released the fifth in their series of five articles about the latest advances in managing wildland fires.


Their latest article, Part V, covers:

  • Small unmanned aerial vehicles that could be carried on fire trucks and used by firefighters at the scene of a fire.
  • An insurance company that will deploy private firefighters to your house if a wildfire or burning embers come within 3 miles of your house. But the house must first qualify by becoming fire-safe.
  • High-tech mapping systems
Thanks Dick

Silver State Hot Shots to host fund raiser for Wildland Firefighter Foundation

The Silver State Hot Shots, based in Carson City, Nevada, are hosting an event, called a “vertical drop competition”, to raise money for the Wildland Firefighter Foundation. I have no idea what a “vertical drop competition” is and was unable to find out after some brief research, but it is being held at a ski resort at Lake Tahoe, so maybe it involves sliding down a hill, or dropping off a hill. Their flyer and registration form don’t provide any further clues, but the event is scheduled for March 19.

The Wildland Firefighter Foundation does GREAT work, and even if you, like me, are not interested in vertical drops, it is an organization worth supporting. Here are some examples of the work they do:

*Provide immediate travel assistance to get an injured firefighter’s family to their firefighter’s bedside and assist with expenses for families while their firefighter is recovering.

*Arrange travel for crews to be able to take their fallen brothers home.

*Network crews and families with information and support after an injury or fatality.

*Give financial assistance to families of firefighters killed in the line of duty, ensuring the home is maintained and children are provided for.

*Help an injured firefighter meet their financial needs until they receive benefits, or are able to go back to work.

*Track injured firefighters to ensure they are receiving worker’s comp benefits.

*Assist children returning to school after the loss of a parent.

*Ensure survivors are able to attend “Family Fire” the Foundation’s annual gathering of families, co-workers, and wildland fire service personnel. Families share their path of healing and their children meet other kids struggling with the loss of a parent.

*Organize a Disneyland trip for children of our fallen wildland firefighters.

Two other fund raising events to benefit the WFF are listed on their web site:

  • The Dalton Hot Shots are participating in the Ragnar Relay Series 180-mile relay race, April 23-24.
  • Sporting Clay Shoot, April 23-24, sponsored by the Fulton and Texas Canyon Hotshots.

Driftwood piles being burned on frozen Pactola Lake

Burning piles on the frozen Lake Pactola.
Taken with my Droid cell phone a couple of hours after the piles were first ignited.

The driftwood piles at Pactola lake are being burned on top of the frozen lake surface. The six piles were ignited easily with a propane weed burner. I will post more pictures later.

Below is an update and better photos–taken with an actual camera.

Continue reading “Driftwood piles being burned on frozen Pactola Lake”

Video of Martin Mars’ drop in Vancouver today

Earlier today we told you that the Martin Mars air tanker would do a demonstration drop in Coal Harbor in Vancouver. Well, here’s the video proof. I had no idea it would be flying right next to skyscrapers. Turn up the SOUND so you can hear those big radial engines!


This was part of Forestry Day in downtown Vancouver. In addition to the Martin Mars, a Convair air tanker and a Bell 212 helicopter also participated.

Forests Minister Pat Bell was quoted as saying:

(British Columbia has) the largest forest industry anywhere in the world, and the demonstration of our air tanker fleet, I think, just shows what capacity we really have. It was impressive to see the amount of water coming down.

Ok, that’s enough airtankerporn for one day.

UPDATE Feb. 24, 2010

Since you insist, here’s another video of the Martin Mars scooping, dropping, and then mooring on the same day, Feb. 23, in the Fraser River at Steveston, just south of Vancouver. It did another demonstration at Steveston today.

Here are a couple of photos taken by Tony Walsh at the Steveston demo yesterday.

Martin Mars - Steveston - scooping

Martin Mars at anchor - Steveston

CHP officer arrests Battalion Chief for “blocking” highway at accident scene

This amazing story is from Firefighter Close Calls.

Last week (February, 15, 2010) on Highway 101 in Montecito, California there was a traffic crash and all the usual traffic crash attendees responded included the fire department, EMS and in this case, the California Highway Patrol. The crash occurred on the center divide, there were 2 vehicles involved, 6 patients, 1 known minor injury. The squad crew pulled past the fire engine, then it blocks the lane to provide a safe working area, (per FD SOP). Before we go further, it should be noted that the MFD normally have-and are quite proud of-the excellent relationship they enjoy daily with the CHP and area law enforcement officers. This is an isolated and rare incident.

At this point the recently assigned (very new to that area) CHP officer tells the Battalion Chief that the apparatus cannot block the lane because it will cause too much traffic backup, and to move the rig. The Battalion Chief tells him no, that he needs his crew protected until they take up from the run. About one minute from the time the BC goes on scene, the BC is now on the radio asking for a CHP supervisor to be sent to the scene. Next thing the crew saw was the CHP officer handcuffing/arresting the Battalion Chief.

Continue reading “CHP officer arrests Battalion Chief for “blocking” highway at accident scene”

Update on U.S. firefighters in Australia

The second contingent of wildland firefighters from the United States and Canada has arrived and replaced the first group, both of which are assisting our down under brothers and sisters during Australia’s 2009-2010 bushfire season. Here is a press release from Victoria’s Department of Sustainability and Environment that was issued yesterday, February 22.

A new team of 17 forest fire experts from the United States and Canada has arrived in Victoria to replace the 15 who have spent the past month based across the state.

Two firefighters, Miriam Morrill and George Sheppard, are joining the effort in the Otways and will be based at the Colac centre.

Department of Sustainability and Environment Otways District Manager Andrew Morrow said the firefighters in the first contingent made a valuable contribution to DSE’s firefighting efforts.

“The US and Canadian fire experts shared their experience and skills with firefighters across the state,” Mr Morrow said.

“Here in the Otways, Jeff Gardetto and Mark Struble contributed their information and aviation skills in pre-formed teams at Colac and this helped build the local capacity.

“We welcome this new team as it arrives to continue that good work and give the existing crew a spell after a month of hard work.”

“Fourteen members of the new team will be posted to the same regional locations as the fire experts they are replacing – Otway Ranges, Ballarat, Orbost, Traralgon, Woori Yallock, Bendigo and Alexandra,” Mr Morrow said.

“The remaining two members of the new contingent will be based in Melbourne as part of the team in the State Control Centre (SCC) working on coordination for firefighting effort across Victoria.

The experts have skills in aviation, planned burn management and execution, field operations, wildland urban interface and information management.  It is a valuable program to enable the sharing of information and experiences.

Mr Morrow said the CFA, DSE and its partner agencies have firefighting skills which are recognised around the world and this exchange program is adding to those technical abilities as well as increasing the state’s level of preparedness.

“The knowledge, experience and technical know-how that the US and Canadian personnel bring to Victoria will also improve future fire management operations by providing excellent mentoring, development and learning opportunities for our own people during this fire season,” he said.

The program also complements existing international agreements in place for general firefighting personnel that Victorian agencies will continue to call upon if necessary.

Thanks Roberta