New fire station in Blue River, Oregon

The little community of Blue River, upstream in the McKenzie River valley from Eugene, Oregon, has a brand-new fire station up and running —  almost four years after the Holiday Farm Fire in 2020 burned their station to the ground.

Station 2 in Blue River is part of the Upper McKenzie Rural Fire Protection District, featured in another of a series of stellar reports on KEZI by Noah Chavez. Christiana Rainbow Plews, the well-known and well-loved fire chief called “Chief Rainbow” by the locals, worked with the district both before and after the Holiday Farm Fire. She decided to retire as the chief, but only after the new fire station was fully operational.

Chief Rainbow on NBC News
Chief Rainbow on NBC News

She says the new station compared with the old one is just the difference between night and day. “It’s bigger and the building we had prior to the fire was really just a garage to house the trucks and equipment. It was not like a fire station,” she said. “It was really just a storage building, and the fact that we were able to build something as beautiful as this building with a day room and a kitchen and a chief’s office is just super exciting.”


Station 2
The new Station 2 is designed to be both fire-resistant and earthquake-resistant, unlike the old building that didn’t survive the fire. Mike Godfrey, board chair for the Upper McKenzie RFPD, said the building is extremely fire-resistant. “This thing is going to be here until after the apocalypse.”

Taylor Wickizer is one of the newest volunteers at Station 2. Born in Blue River, she and her family moved to Iowa, but Taylor returned after the Holiday Farm Fire. She said everyone in her family felt like they needed to come back to help the community and she has since become devoted to being a firefighter for the district — because of what the community has been through together, they are more than just neighbors.

“Up here it is not even like a community, it is like a family — I mean everybody is here for the people and especially the fire and emergency services,” she said.

The little community of Blue River, upstream in the McKenzie River valley from Eugene, Oregon, has a brand-new fire station up and running —  almost four years after the Holiday Farm Fire in 2020 burned their station to the ground.

Station 2 in Blue River is part of the Upper McKenzie Rural Fire Protection District, featured in another of a series of stellar reports on KEZI by Noah Chavez.

Arsonist sentenced to 5+ years in prison

A former criminal justice professor who set at least seven fires during a record-breaking 2021 fire season — including one fire near the Dixie Fire —  was sentenced last week to five years and three months in prison. Gary Stephen Maynard, 49, pleaded guilty to three counts of arson on federal land back in February, and in his sentencing memo prosecutors wrote that his actions were “wanton and deliberate” and he’d set fires intended to harm people.

Arsonist professor Gary Maynard
Arsonist professor Gary Maynard

The Dixie Fire burned through five counties over 963,300 acres, destroying 1,311 structures and killing one person, according to Cal Fire.

Also, Marcus Pacheco, an assistant fire engine operator for the Lassen National Forest, died of Covid while working the fire, as did two water tender operators, Jose T. Calderon and Cessar Saenz, both of San Diego County.

In a report by the Redding Record Searchlight, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert said, “It is only because of the quick response by the U.S. Forest Service — and the actions of civilian witnesses — that those fires were extinguished as quickly as they were.” He said Maynard’s sentence underscores the danger that his fires created. “It serves as a reminder that federal law enforcement takes seriously the threats to life, property, and our national forests caused by arson.”

Dixie Fire at Greenville, California -- photo ©2021 Jay Walter.
Dixie Fire at Greenville, California — photo ©2021 Jay Walter.

Judge Daniel J. Calabretta of U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California sentenced Maynard to 63 months in prison. After his term he’ll  be on supervised release for three years; prosecutors said he was also ordered to pay $13,000 in restitution.

“He intentionally made a dangerous situation more perilous by setting some of his fires behind the men and women fighting the Dixie Fire,” said U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert, “potentially cutting off any chance of escape.”

The Record Searchlight has a dandy photo gallery by Ace Photographer Mike Chapman of the 2021 Dixie Fire online.

Arsonist professor Gary Maynard

Corral Fire in northern California at 12,500 acres

Northern California’s first major fire of the year has burned 12,500 acres in San Joaquin County. The Corral Fire started Saturday afternoon near the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Site 300, and CNN reported that the fire started in the city of Tracy.

Corral Fire survival home -- Cal Fire photo

Two Alameda County firefighters were injured, Cal Fire Battalion Chief Josh Silveira told CNN on Sunday. They had minor to moderate injuries and were transported to a local hospital.

UPDATE:  14,170 acres Sunday evening; the Associated Press reported 50 percent containment and one home destroyed.

The fire was at 15 percent containment this morning, according to Cal Fire, and fire managers said the gusty winds and dry grass have made it difficult to contain. About 400 people are assigned on the fire 60 miles east of San Francisco. has aerial images.


San Joaquin County Office of Emergency Services ordered residents to evacuate, as reported, and an evacuation map from the county is [HERE]. Interstate 580 is closed from 4.7 miles east of the junction of State Route 132 at Gaffery Road to the San Joaquin-Alameda county line; smoke has reduced visibility to “zero” according to Caltrans.

The Sacramento Bee reported this afternoon that both sides of I-580 had been re-opened. Caltrans officials said one eastbound lane would remain closed between I-205 and I-5 to buffer firefighting traffic; Highway 132 was also reopened after it was shut down for about 17 hours.

Freeway closures, CalTrans
Freeway closures, CalTrans —

The Corral Fire grew rapidly after 7 p.m. Saturday and Cal Fire said it was at   5,000 acres and 40 percent containment; a few hours later, containment dropped to 13 percent and the fire doubled in size.

Corral Fire outside of Tracy, California
Corral Fire outside of Tracy, California

The cause of the fire is unknown. The New York Times reported that residents were prohibited from burning anything on their own properties, and fire officials for the Santa Clara area announced that all burn permits in the region would be suspended beginning Monday. Lawrence Livermore National Lab said the fire started near the lab’s Site 300 but was not related to controlled burns conducted there.

“LLNL recently completed a series of controlled burns to eliminate dangerous dry grass areas and provide buffer zones around Site 300 buildings,” said Michael Padilla, deputy director of public and media relations. “There are no current threats to any Laboratory facilities and operations as the fire has moved away from the site. There was no on- or offsite contamination.”

Site 300 is a testing location at which researchers “formulate, fabricate, and test high-explosive assemblies to assess the performance of nonnuclear weapon prototypes and components.”


KEY MESSAGES from the U.S. Forest Service Fire & Aviation Management

I have no idea where this came from,
I just found it in the bushes outside my house this morning.

KEY MESSAGES from the Forest Service!

Firefighter and public safety are our top priorities during a wildfire.

      • The Forest Service uses all available strategies and tools to manage wildfires.
      • Our fire managers make sound, science-based, risk-informed decisions.
      • Flying drones near wildfires is dangerous for pilots and firefighters and can bring wildfire suppression efforts to a halt. Know before you fly. If you fly, we can’t.
      • Wildfires create smoke, which can impact communities. Check for updates.

The Forest Service is committed to a strong firefighting response this year.

  • We are providing 900 engines, up to 29 airtankers, more than 200 helicopters and many other fixed wing support aircraft (lead planes, multi-engine water scoopers and smokejumper aircraft). We can also mobilize eight C-130s equipped with Modular Airborne Fire Fighting Systems (MAFFS) and a limited number of other airtankers through agreements with Canada and Australia.
  • We will have more than 80 Forest Service Hotshot crews available. Contracted crews include 40 Type 2 IA and more than 400 Type 2 crews Forty-four interagency complex incident management teams are available, as well as significant logistical support services under contract including mobile food and shower units.
  • Our goal is to have 11,300 wildland firefighters onboard before the peak of the fire year. These men and women will be highly trained in emergency response and quickly adapting to changing situations. Our goal is to minimize the number of devastating, destructive large wildland fires.
  • Forest Service firefighters and managers make informed decisions based on science and risk assessments to safely deploy firefighting resources to suppress fires that threaten lives or property.
  • Federal, state, tribal and local resources, supported by available airtankers and helicopters, collaborate to contain fires.
  • That’s why about 98% of wildland fires are contained within 24 hours of the initial response and fewer than 2% grow into the larger fires we often see in the media.

Wildland firefighters play a crucial role on the frontlines of the wildfire crisis,
and we must take better care of them.

Firefighter Pay, Benefits and Housing:
  • Our focus is on increased pay and benefits, better housing, increased access to mental and physical health resources, and improved work-life balance.
  • Agency leaders are fighting for a permanent pay fix for wildland firefighters that more accurately reflects the difficult and dangerous work they do for the American people.
  • The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has provided wildland firefighters with a pay supplement since FY2022 that equals an extra $20,000 per year or 50% of their base pay, whichever is less.
  • Although FY2024 Forest Service appropriations continues the firefighter pay supplement, Congress must pass legislation to make a permanent pay solution a reality. If base pay returns to previous levels (sometimes as low as $15 per hour), the National Federation of Federal Employees Forest Service Council expects 30-50% of Forest Service wildland firefighters to seek higher-paying jobs.
  • The President’s FY2025 budget provides $216 million to implement a permanent pay increase for the wildland firefighter workforce, providing a more equitable wage, enhancing recruitment, and stabilizing retention.
  • In addition, the President’s budget proposes $25 million to address the urgent need for suitable employee housing through needed maintenance and repairs of Forest Service housing units.

Forest Service 2024 Fire Key Messages:

Firefighter Mental and Physical Health

  • Long, extreme fire years and the difficult and dangerous nature of wildland firefighting requires investing in mental health and wellbeing tools and services to ensure wildland firefighters can successfully confront and manage the mental and physical aspects of their mission.
  • The Forest Service has several reforms underway to provide better support to wildland firefighters, including an improved Employee Assistance Program that includes more trauma-trained and rural-based support, telehealth options, a smartphone app for quick access to services, and expanded proactive and preventive mental health and wellness and family services.
  • Working alongside the Department of the Interior, we continue to implement the Joint Federal Wildland Firefighter Health and Wellbeing Program to specifically address the unique experiences and mental and physical health challenges of wildland firefighters. This relatively new program will establish year-round prevention and mental health training, provide post-traumatic stress care, and enhance capacity for critical incident stress management — and create a new system of trauma support services with an emphasis on early intervention.

The Forest Service takes the challenge of hiring and retaining firefighters very seriously.
  • The DOI and the USDA together employ over 17,000 operational federal wildland firefighters each year. We can deploy more than 32,000 firefighters and support personnel when we include international, state, tribal, and local partners, plus contract and administratively determined (AD)  emergency hires.
  • The President’s FY2025 budget proposes $136 million for additional federal firefighting capacity (570 more permanent firefighters — and continued transition to a more fulltime workforce) to enable the Forest Service to meet the demands of the increasingly long fire year more effectively and improve the work/life balance of firefighters and support personnel.
  • These investments will help us recruit and retain the best wildland firefighters, who play a vital role in tackling today’s wildfire challenges.
  • Although we struggle to hire and retain firefighters in areas such as the Pacific Northwest and California, where the labor pool is limited and pay isn’t competitive, we have added more permanent positions in some regions through our firefighting resource modernization efforts and funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Sustaining and restoring healthy, resilient fire-adapted ecosystems will help communities reduce wildfire risk. Communities and residents also must prepare for wildfires.
  • Over a century of scientific data confirms that strategically designed fuels reduction treatments, such as mechanical thinning and prescribed fire, can reduce fire behavior and wildfire risks.
  • The Forest Service’s 10-year “Wildfire Crisis Strategy” is fueled by Congressional funding and informed by scientific research. It aims to dramatically increase forest health treatments over the next decade.
  • To be fully accountable to the “Wildfire Crisis Strategy” objectives, the Forest Service is using metrics to quantify specific outcomes of our work. We are measuring wildfire risk and landscape conditions before and after treatment to understand how our work, and other naturally occurring landscape disturbances like wildfires and insect outbreaks, is changing risk and resilience over time.

Knowing the outcomes of our fuel treatments and landscape disturbances will allow the Forest Service to:

          1. know whether we are doing the right work in the right places;
          2. communicate clearly about our “Wildfire Crisis Strategy” landscape accomplishments and
          3. ensure we are spending Congressional funding wisely.

Working with states, tribes, and other partners, the agency is focusing on protecting communities and critical infrastructure and enhancing forest resilience in areas facing the most immediate wildfire threats.

Cohesive Strategy Workshop registration opens


In 2017 the first Cohesive Strategy Workshop in Reno, Nevada featured the theme of All Hands All Lands: Implementation Rooted in Science. It focused on the Cohesive Strategy — what it meant then and what early success looked like. Presentations and discussions emphasized the role of science in supporting the Cohesive Strategy and identified processes to ensure the integration of science in all planning for wildland fire management.

The Cohesive Strategy stands as the framework by which all stakeholders can address barriers and identify solutions for complex wildland fire issues.

The Cohesive Strategy Addendum Update [PDF] was released earlier this year and examines critical emphasis areas and implementation challenges that either were not addressed then or have surfaced in the 10 years since the original Cohesive Strategy framework.

This workshop will gather the collective voice of attendees to identify solutions and the issues that keep us from implementing the Cohesive Strategy at scale. The Wildland Fire Leadership Council (WFLC) will pursue these actions after the Workshop to help overcome identified barriers and support implementation of the Cohesive Strategy.

Registration for the 2024 Workshop in Atlantic City includes:

        • All on-site presentations and discussion, plus refreshments. There will be no virtual presentations.
        • Access to all workshop sessions (for full registration) or the session(s) you attend (for 1 or 2 days of registration).

Field Tour:  New Jersey Pine Barrens

Wednesday, September 18 from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Field tour, transportation, and lunch included in your registration fee.

Pinelands Alliance

The New Jersey Pine Barrens field tour will highlight the cooperation of multiple agencies in New Jersey to support goals and themes of the Cohesive Strategy. The tour includes stops at Batsto Historic Village, the U.S. Forest Service Silas Little Experimental Forest, New Jersey Forest Fire Service Coyle Field Airbase, and the Roosevelt City Fire-Adapted Community and firebreak project.

Special IAWF Member and Student rates are available.
Early-bird discounts for full workshop registrations before August 15.

Cohesive Strategy workshop registration fees

⏩  Register here  ⏪ 

Scholarships available:

IAWF offers need-based travel and registration scholarships to attend the workshop, to provide opportunity for those who may not be able to attend because of the cost. We hope to increase participation of underrepresented communities and geographic areas for networking and peer learning.

Applications will be accepted continuously until the workshop; we will begin reviewing applications and making awards on June 15. It includes free registration and/or $500 USD for travel expenses.
⏩  Submit a scholarship application  ⏪

If you are selected, we will email your instructions on registering for the workshop, and you will receive travel reimbursement when you arrive at the workshop.

Questions about the workshop or
about registration?  CONTACT MIKEL:

workshop info



Workshop registration is
available online [HERE].


Frank Carroll stirs up Lake Tahoe

“The Forest Service has no authority to let fires burn millions of acres — misappropriating tax dollars and recklessly destroying our natural resources. It’s an inverse condemnation of private property and wanton destruction of public resources, pure and simple.” ~ Frank Carroll

Agitator Frank Carroll, whom Dana Tibbitts with the Nevada Globe refers to as a “Chief Forester,” is an active part of this “discussion” in the Tahoe Basin and in New Mexico and other states, advising forest owners who hire him and assisting people in suing the Forest Service over losses resulting from escaped prescribed fires or managed fires that burned more acreage than Carroll thinks they should have. In her report, Tibbitts quotes anonymous sources to claim that FS Chief Randy Moore’s “Burn Back Better” letter (the annual fire-related “letter of intent”) has “caused a firestorm among firefighters and Forest Service veterans nationwide.”

Some of Tibbitts’ anonymous sources are associated with the “National Wildfire Institute,” founded by Bruce Courtright (retired FS Deputy Chief for Management Improvement) and Michael Rains — who at one time directed the USFS Forest Products Lab. Char Miller in the Los Angeles Times refers to the group as “a suppression-friendly bloc of retired Forest Service officials,” but they don’t seem to have a website or any publicly visible managers or founders besides Rains and Courtright.

Some other more widely respected retired fire experts disagree, and they’ve written here before on this topic, citing the founder of the U.S. Forest Service Gifford Pinchot. “The debate within the agency defies permanent resolution,” writes Char Miller,”not least because deference to political exigencies is baked into the Forest Service’s DNA. For that, we can thank, or blame, Pinchot.”

Miller is a senior fellow of the Pinchot Institute for Conservation, and a fellow with the Forest History Society. “In an 1899 article in National Geographic,” he explains, “Pinchot clearly detailed wildfire’s essential role in regenerating forests in the South and mountainous West. But despite this robust ecological evidence, it would be fire’s bad optics that drove his pitch for establishing the Forest Service.” As per the agency’s first manual: “Probably the greatest single benefit derived by the community and the nation from forest reserves is insurance against destruction of property, timber resources, and water supply by fire.”

Opinion: The burning debate — manage forest fires or suppress them?

Carroll and his cohorts, though, claim that the USFS “just gave firefighters license to burn millions of acres of forest and rangelands with zero commitment to putting the fires out.”

Tahoe-Douglas Fire Chief and head of the Northern Nevada Fire Chiefs Association Scott Lindgren said, “The latest forecast and guidance from the Chief is so unhinged from firefighting realities on the ground as to defy rational analysis or practical guidance.”

“It’s caused a firestorm among firefighters and Forest Service veterans nationwide.”  ~ Dana Tibbitts

Fire Chief Scott Lindgren, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District
Fire Chief Scott Lindgren, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District

According to Tibbitts and the Nevada Globe, USFS Regional Foresters are supposedly enacting a new policy now, calling for all fires in the Tahoe Basin to be risk-assessed and monitored by those same Regional Foresters, “who alone would determine the appropriate response to new fire ignitions.”

Chief Lindgren says allowing fires to burn is criminal and claims that allowing fires to burn means the USFS can count those acres as “treated” in burn quotas ordained by administrators in Washington DC. “These are not treated acres,” he says, “they are destroyed acres!”

Frank Carroll says USFS fire commanders and administrators are using firefighter safety as a false flag to justify wildfire use, even at the expense of civilian lives and devastated communities.

“Firefighter safety is an excuse that is neither safe nor supportable — a feature of the persistent failure to build informed consent and to analyze environmental impacts before letting wildfires burn and then expand them on purpose,” Carroll said. “They’re unilaterally implementing giant prescribed wildfires — consequences be damned.”

According to the anti-managed-fire crowd, the Biden-Harris administration’s plan to Burn Back Better is detailed in Confronting the Wildfire Crisis and lays out a 10-year program to treat 20 million acres of National Forest System lands and 30 million acres of other federal, state, tribal, and private lands. Randy Moore Letter of Intent 04/24/24

Randy Moore Letter of Intent 04/24/24 — click to read