A 395-acre fire 31 miles south of Berlin is burning at a military base that was first established by the Prussian government in 1870. It was used as a training area for the Nazis, and later, Soviet tanks and airplanes, from 1935 until 1994. Unexploded munitions in the area require that all firefighting be done from roads or the air.
It reminds me of when we used to go to “fire school” for live fire training at Camp Pendleton in southern California. Instructors would light fires in grass or brush and then dispatch engines and hot shot crews to suppress them. The area was also used by the marines for training, and it was common for the fire to cause M-16 ammunition to explode. We were told that they were all blanks, but the empty cartridges whizzing past your head were, at best, extremely distracting while you were fighting a vegetation fire.
The fire in eastern North Carolina continues to spread to the north and east. It is now 35,691 acres and has moved into the “Hollow Ground Swamp” in the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge. But just judging from the heat detected by satellites, the swamp must be fairly dry, since the fire has burned quite a few acres within it.
The temperature at the fire today should be in the mid 90’s, the RH in the low 40’s, with the wind 7-11 out of the south and southwest.
The map below shows heat detected by satellites last night. Click on the images to see larger versions.
The map below is provided by the Incident Management Team and shows the fire progression.
In the photo below, Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge Manager Howard Phillips (far right) looks over high-volume pumping operation while George Constantino (back to camera) discusses the Water Handling Operations with the Rowan County Assistant District Forester.
In Florida yesterday, in Sarasota county, a sheriff’s department helicopter helped keep an entrapped Division of Forestry tractor from being burned over in a fire. The operator made it to safety while the helicopter saved the $100,000 tractor by dropping four bucket-loads of water on it. The fire was contained at 480 acres.
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.
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.
Update: The size of the fire is now at 32,556 acres, according to the Incident Management Team.