Suspect arrested for starting a fire in Florida

Firegeezer has information about a suspect being arrested this morning for starting a fire in Brevard County in Florida. It is Brian Crowder, who was arrested after a surveillance effort by 60 officers observed him exit his car, walk into a vegetated area, and drive away. A fire then started in that location.

Officers pursued him, but lost him. Eventually, following up on license plate information, they found him, but he ran into the woods. Police set up a perimeter, closed in on him and arrested him. He is now in a hospital being treated for dog bite wounds.

It is not clear if Crowder will be charged with starting some of the other fires in Brevard County.

Bighorn fire; Mt. Baldy, So. Calif.

UPDATE, 5/13/2008 @ 5:38 MT
The winds have died down to about 5-15 mph and the size is reported to be 300 acres. The weather forecast for the valley south of the fire calls for decreasing winds this evening and tonight at 2-8 mph, with the RH going up into the 50’s tonight. Tomorrow afternoon they expect west winds of 14 with gusts up to 22.

Here is an updated map, showing heat (in red) detected by satellites.

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The Bighorn fire near Mount Baldy in southern California started early this morning. It is being pushed by 15-20 mph winds gusting up to 60 mph which at times made it impossible for aircraft to be used. The last report on the size was 200 acres. It is being managed by LA County and the US Forest Service and is burning in the Bear Creek drainage which has not burned since 1975. Mt. Baldy Village is not threatened at this time.

Smoke from the fire can be seen from the UCLA Dept. of Physics & Astronomy live web cam. The cam does not refresh automatically.

Heat from the fire is showing up on satellite imagery as you can see by the red areas on the map below.

Florida fires

Winds from a stalled cold front yesterday pushed some fires in Florida into populated areas.

The Osage fire in Brevard County, near Valkaria, Florida has burned 3,000 acres and at least 5 homes. A witness saw someone drop something out of a car, and the fire started shortly afterward. The map below shows heat detected by satellites last night. Click on the maps to see larger versions.


The LPGA fire west of Daytona Beach is 797 acres and caused the evacuation of 500 homes yesterday and the closure of a stretch of LPGA Boulevard. The satellite map below shows a relatively small amount of heat detected last night.


Photo courtesy of the AP.

Firefighters take train to a fire

In the Portland/Hillsboro area of Oregon on Saturday a train conductor who also happened to be a volunteer firefighter spotted a fire near the train tracks at Cornelius Pass. Knowing that access into the remote area would be difficult, the train backed up 1.5 miles, picked up 3 firefighters and gave them a ride to the fire.

Later a railroad company vehicle equipped to drive on the tracks carried an additional 11 firefighters to the fire, which was successfully extinguished.

"Wildland Firefighter" demobilizes

Wildland Firefighter magazine just announced in it’s May issue that it is ceasing publication. It will no longer exist as a stand-alone publication dedicated to wildland fire. In a publisher’s note, Jeff Berend, the Vice President and Publisher said:

Beginning in June, we will be merging Wildland Firefighter into a new Wildland/Urban Interface (WUI) section in FireRescue magazine…..
But from a business perspective, we simply have not been able to grow the readership or advertising beyond that loyal core. At the same time, publishing costs have risen at unprecedented levels.

Wildland Firefighter and FireRescue are both published by Elsevier Public Safety.

This leaves Wildfire magazine, an “official publication of the International Association of Wildland Fire” as the only remaining magazine-type publication dedicated solely to wildland fire. The IAWF also publishes, through CSIRO Publishing, the International Journal of Wildland Fire, a professional journal containing peer-reviewed papers on the subject of wildland fire.

In the interest of full-disclosure, for the last 3 years I have been the Executive Director of the IAWF. Since January I have been helping the Board of Directors find a replacement so I can concentrate on other pursuits.