Tim Stubbs

Tim StubbsWe were saddened to hear that Tim Stubbs passed away yesterday, January 28. Tim was attending an aviation class in Albuquerque when he had an apparent heart attack.

Tim started his career with the National Park Service in 1969, and retired as the Fire Management Officer at Carlsbad Caverns/Guadalupe Mountains National Parks a few years ago. He was very active in fire aviation and was a fire behavior analyst. As recently as January 23 he posted on his Fire Behavior Services web site a fire behavior discussion for the Southwest Area winter fire season.

Tim will be missed.

UPDATE Feb. 4:

This was on the NPS’ Inside NPS yesterday:

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of Tim Stubbs, former fire management officer for Carlsbad Caverns and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Tim passed away due to natural causes in Albuquerque, New Mexico, on January 28th. A private memorial service will be held for Tim at his mother’s home in California.

Tim began his permanent NPS career in March 1990. He retired as the FMO in February 2003. In addition to being the fire management officer, Tim was a fire behavior analyst, long term fire analyst, and an air tactical group supervisor. He was a wildland firefighter icon and staunch advocate for firefighter safety.

Tim’s family has asked that in lieu of flowers, please address any cards and/or donations to his children, Jesse and Amanda Stubbs. Please send your cards and/or donations to the attention of: Ms. Kendra Mayes, 400 Pine Canyon, Salt Flat, Texas 79847. Kendra will forward them to the family.

Live discussion, firefighter pay and liability legislation

As planned, we held a live discussion on January 28 about the new wildland firefighter pay and liability legislation that was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, called the “National Infrastructure Improvement and Cost Containment Act”, H.R. 4488. The bill would affect the pay, retirement age, and fireline liability of federal wildland firefighters. The full text of the bill is HERE. We summarized it and offered some commentary HERE.

Our featured panelist was Casey Judd, the Business Manager for the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association who played a major role in crafting the bill and getting it introduced into the U.S. House of Representatives. Thanks to Casey and everyone else who participated.

The discussion is archived Here.

Video of DC-10 air tanker in Australia

We have not heard very much about air tanker 911, the DC-10, since it arrived in Australia on December 14 to evaluate its effectiveness on bush fires. But we do know that in early January it received certification from the Australian regulatory authorities to operate in the country.

The Country Fire Authority recently put together a fact sheet and this video about the aircraft.


Here are some photos of Air Tanker 911 down under, courtesy of the Country Fire Authority.

AT-911_parked DC-10 air tanker

AT-911_tanks DC-10 air tanker

AT-911_interior DC-10 air tanker

AT-911_crew DC-10 air tanker

Researchers: smoke promotes the germination of some seeds

We used to say “Wood smoke is good smoke”, when downplaying the negative aspects of putting smoke into the air during a prescribed fire. But apparently to some species that is literally the truth. Researchers have found that plant-derived smoke is a potent seed germination promoter for many species.

From an article in Science Daily:

Forest fire smoke. Photo by Bill Gabbert
Photo: Bill Gabbert

The innermost secrets of fire’s role in the rebirth and renewal of forests and grasslands are being revealed in research that has identified plant growth promoters and inhibitors in smoke. In the latest discovery about smoke’s secret life, an international team of scientists are reporting discovery of a plant growth inhibitor in smoke.

The study appears in ACS’s Journal of Natural Products.
“Smoke plays an intriguing role in promoting the germination of seeds of many species following a fire,” Johannes Van Staden and colleagues point out in the report. They previously discovered a chemical compound in smoke from burning plants that promotes seed germination. Such seeds, which remain in the undercover on forest and meadow floors after fires have been extinguished, are responsible for the surprisingly rapid regrowth of fire-devastated landscapes.

In their new research, the scientists report discovery of an inhibitor compound that may block the action of the stimulator, preventing germination of seeds. They suspect that the compounds may be part of a carefully crafted natural regulatory system for repopulating fire-ravaged landscapes. Interaction of these and other compounds may ensure that seeds remain dormant until environmental conditions are best for germination. The inhibitor thus may delay germination of seeds until moisture and temperature are right, and then take a back seat to the germination promoter in smoke.

The research was conducted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the University of Stellenbosch, the University of Copenhagen,  and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.

Thanks Stephen

Armed man thwarts theft of fire truck

On Monday a Montrose, Colorado man tried to steal a fire truck out of the garage of Lawerence Sanderson, who contracts with federal land management agencies for the use of the truck on wildland fires. The truck had the keys in it and was unlocked in the garage with the garage doors open when Sanderson’s neighbor alerted him that someone was trying to steal the truck.

Michael A. Chavez had started the truck, which was facing out in the garage, and put it into reverse and slammed the truck into the back wall of the garage, damaging the wall. About that time, Sanderson entered the garage and pointed a 9 mm handgun at Chavez’s chest, who asked if he was under arrest. Sanderson assured him that he was, but when Chavez figured out that Sanderson was not a law enforcement officer he advanced toward Sanderson. The two of them maneuvered around in the driveway until finally Chavez obeyed commands and decided to lie on the ground.

When the Montrose police arrived, Sanderson holstered his weapon and the police took over. Chavez was booked into jail on suspicion of driving under the influence, burglary, criminal mischief, possession of drug paraphernalia, careless driving and being an intoxicated pedestrian in the roadway.

Live discussion about new firefighter pay & liability legislation, Thursday Jan. 28

UPDATE January 28: We held this event and–

The discussion is archived HERE.


Thursday night, January 28, we will host a live discussion here about the new wildland firefighter pay and liability legislation that was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives, the “National Infrastructure Improvement and Cost Containment Act”, H.R. 4488.

Business manager Casey Judd presents Congressman Bob Filner with a plaque in appreciation of his support for our wildland firefighters.
Business manager Casey Judd (right) of the FWFSA presents Congressman Bob Filner with a plaque in appreciation of his support for wildland firefighters.

Casey Judd, the Business Manager for the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association will be our featured panel member and has graciously agreed to respond to your comments and answer your questions about the legislation. Mr. Judd has been working on this legislation for years and deserves a great deal of credit for getting it to this point where it is being considered by committees in the House.

Anyone can participate as described below.

The format will be text. You will be able to type in your comments or questions in real time and anyone will be able to comment or answer back. However, not necessarily everyone’s comments will appear. If the traffic is heavy, we will selectively choose which comments would be of the most interest to the audience. And, of course, rude or obscene comments will not be approved. You do not need any special software to participate, nor do you need to register. Just choose a name for yourself, then type in your thoughts.

It will be right here at wildfiretoday.com and will be obvious when you come to the site on Thursday night (or Friday down under). The post with the discussion feature will appear 5-10 minutes before the official start time. You will need to refresh your screen if you get here early.

10:00 p.m. ET (Thursday, January 28);
9:00 p.m. CT (Thursday);
8:00 p.m. MT (Thursday);
7:00 p.m. PT (Thursday);
12:00 noon (Friday, January 29) Melbourne, Australia;
05:00 a.m. (Friday) in Athens, Greece; and
02:00 a.m. (Friday January 29) UTC (GMT).

Other Live Discussions we have facilitated:
You can view the discussions we have held previously HERE.