Montana Governor wants state to manage some forests

From the Missoulian:


MISSOULA – Gov. Brian Schweitzer says that creating healthier forests, possibly by having the state take over management of some federal timberland, is the best way to combat the infestation of bark beetles in the West.

In a speech, Schweitzer suggested that instead of spending $50 million to $200 million annually to fight wildfires, the state should budget $75 million each year for treating its forests before they’re burned or killed by beetles. The governor made the comments at the University of Montana during a conference to discuss the beetle infestation.

“We propose the federal government manage like we do after a fire n complete timber sales in six to eight months after a fire,” he said. “When we have dead or dying trees, we harvest them, but our neighbor doesn’t do a dang thing, in their checkerboard fashion.”

Schweitzer said leaders could propose a plan to manage 10 percent of federal timberland.



NC fire update

Here is an update on the Evans Road fire in North Carolina from InciWeb:

As of Saturday afternoon, the Evans Road Fire had grown to 30,809 acres in size. The fire continues to progress farther east and southeast into the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. Field observers noted the fire making short runs and also observed torching and short-range spotting. The fire is now 40% contained; however, 25 miles of containment lines still need to be constructed or improved. Firefighters are constructing containment lines and conducting burn out operations. Local fire departments and volunteer fire departments continue to support structure protection. The Phelps Lake water pumping operation to extinguish smoldering ground fires is well underway and will soon be a 24/7 operation. With 210 personnel now assigned to the incident, firefighting suppression costs are estimated to be $673,686.


A State of Emergency was declared yesterday for Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington Counties. Additionally, a state-implemented burn ban is now in effect for Hyde, Tyrrell, Beaufort and Washington Counties.

The map shows heat detected by satellites last night.


The size of the fire is now at 32,556 acres, according to the Incident Management Team.

NC fire creates lightning

The fire in eastern North Carolina continues to grow, but due to light winds yesterday did not spread as much as it had in previous days. It is reported to be about 29,970 acres, but the smoke prevents aircraft from mapping the fire accurately. The fire continues to burn in Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington Counties

The rising heat, smoke, and moisture in the convection column has created lighting and rain downwind of the fire. The thunder can be heard as far away as Washington and the smoke column has risen to 45,000 feet.

The fire is being managed by Reid Hildreth’s Type 2 Incident Management Team.

The temperature in the area was 96 degrees yesterday, but today, Saturday, it is predicted to reach 102 degrees with 42% relative humidity. The winds should be relatively light at 2-5 mph, increasing to 8 mph tonight. The wind direction will switch 180 degrees today, from northwest to southeast, which is always a challenge for firefighters. So far they have suffered two heat-related injuries.

The Planned Actions include:

“Hold containment lines to the north, east and south of the fire perimeter; continue water pumping operations to irrigate ground fire smoldering in peat soils; assess structure protection needs; deliver latest fire information at Roper community meeting.”

Here are two maps that show heat detected by satellites last night. Click on it to see a larger version.


On the map above the red color indicates active burning, the orange is heat from the last 12 hours, and black is the last 24 hours.

On the map above the red color indicates heat within the last 0 to 12 hours, orange is the last 12 to 24 hours, and yellow is 6 days previous to the last 24 hours.

Toaster heaven

For the past few weeks I have been using a new toaster. I know what you’re thinking…. WHAT? a toaster? Yeah…. a deluxe new toaster that is light years ahead in design and technology compared to any other toaster I have seen.

It’s a Breville Diecast 2-Slice Smart Toaster and is not just a simple mechanical device with heating elements. It has a brain. When you plug it in, or hit any button after it has gone to “sleep”, circles around all five buttons begin to glow a light blue color.

Put a slice of bread in one of the slots and push the Toast/Cancel button, and the blue circle around that button turns to red, while a motor gently lowers the bread into the toaster. At that time a row of lights above the browning control illuminate and one at a time each light in the row turns off, counting down like an animated bar graph, until they are all off. Then a motor gently raises your toast and you’ll hear a faint beep. The beep is so faint that there is no danger of waking your significant other if you have to get up and toast your bagel while they still snoozing.

If you are curious about the progress of your toast, or worried it might be over done, you can press the “Lift & Look” button while it is toasting. The motor will raise the toast for a few seconds then lower it again, continuing the rest of the interrupted toasting cycle.

If your toast is not quite brown enough at the end of the cycle, you can press the “A Bit More” button. This will automatically lower the bread carriage for additional toasting time.

Do you find that your toaster burns the outside of your bagel while the inside is just right? This toaster has a special system for bagels. You place the inside of the bagel facing the middle of the toaster and press the “Bagel” button. The toaster will activate additional heat to the center heating elements cooking both sides evenly.

There is even a “Defrost” button which adjusts the toasting cycle to account for frozen bread or bagels.

I love the labels for the buttons….”A Bit More“, and “Lift & Look“. None of those stupid international symbols that no one understands. Just plain, simple, common-sense, English, something that is in short supply too often these days.

And the innovate design does not stop at the toaster itself. The electrical plug is unique, having a hole through which you can insert your finger to make it easier when removing the plug from a wall socket.

This toaster is not cheap, but ya gotta pay for quality. The 2-slice model is $129 and a 4-slice model will set you back $179 at

OK. Now back to wildland fire.