Bobcat starts fire

Yes, that’s right. According to fire investigators in Ventura County, California, a bobcat climbed a power pole, was electrocuted, fell to the ground and started a grass fire. The 75 firefighters that responded put it out after it burned five acres near Piru at 3 a.m on Monday.

We have added this to our animal-arson series.

Geese fly into power line, cause fire, and 19,000 people lose electricity

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Yesterday two geese floating on the Spicket River near Methuen, Mass., took off, and laboring to get airborne from the water flew into a 28,000-volt power line that crossed the river. An eyewitness said there was huge, blue explosion, jarring loose several cables which fell to the ground and ignited a small vegetation fire.  Firefighters spent several hours putting out the fire. One of the geese was killed and the other was injured, but later could not be found by one of the people who witnessed the incident.

The power outage affected about 19,000 people and caused several manufacturing plants to shut down.

(added to our Animal-Arson series)

Cow causes fire

We have another case of animal arson — this time a cow is the culprit. No, it was not Mrs. O’Leary’s cow. And we’re not referring to the 293-acre “Cow fire” near Ukiah, California, it was the 35-acre “Green fire” near Big Sur, California. Both fires were recently contained, but investigators have concluded that a bull on the El Sur Ranch rubbed his horns and back on a power pole until it fell. The lines arced, starting the fire.

Woodpecker may have started 90-acre fire

Fire investigators are thinking that a woodpecker started a fire that burned 90 acres in northwest Jacksonville, Florida on Sunday. Annaleasa Winter with the Florida Division of Forestry said a woodpecker’s carcass was found near a blown transformer at the point of origin of the fire. It took 100 firefighters assisted by a helicopter six hours to put it out.

This the the third bird-caused fire within the last year. I’m not a conspiracy theorist… I’m just saying.

We have added this to our list of “animal-arson” incidents.

Another bird-arsonist

In November, 2008 we told you about a flock of European Starlings that conspired to start a fire using a power lline:

…the downed line was a result of a huge flock of European starlings — an 8-9 inch glossy black bird — landing on the lines. When the starlings all took off at the same time, it caused the lines to bounce too close to each other, causing the circuit to open up and cutting off power and causing a neutral line to fall to the ground.

And in April, 2009, a sparrow picked up a lit cigarette butt and placed it in it’s nest in the eaves of a store in the UK:

The resulting conflagration caused £250,000 of damage at Crescent Stores in Leasingham, near Sleaford, Lincolnshire.

Now a vulture is the culprit in another case of serial avian-arson. But in this case it is a suicide-arson. From the Katy (Texas) Times:

Firefighters said a vulture was the cause of a fire that destroyed approximately three acres of dry grass and brush on Groeschke Road just west of Highway 6 Wednesday afternoon.

According to a spokesperson at the Houston Fire Department Engine 90, the vulture’s large wingspan caused it to hit the telephone pole, electrocuting it. The dead bird fell, igniting the ground below. Dry conditions and dead grass caused the fire spread quickly.

Look UP when you’re outside….I’m just saying.

How do we deal with this threat? Should we appoint a Special Avian-Arson Commission to look into this? Or a special prosecutor? Should Obama speak out more forcefully on this very serious issue? Where are Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, and Jon Stewart on this? Has the new Chief of the Forest Service weighed in?

Should we negotiate with the Avians? And, with or without pre-conditions?