Tuesday morning one-liners

FSPRO analysis of the Hathaway Fire
FSPRO analysis of the Hathaway Fire in southern California, if there was no suppression, June 9, 2013

Data sharing leads to powerful tools for fighting fire.

The U.S. Forest Service and The Nature Conservancy have been conducting some prescribed fires near Orleans, California.

In California, the weather this month will determine if a new record will be set for the driest year on record.

A former trombone player continues to be in the news about his effort to improve the fire shelter.

The New York Times has an article about inmate fire crews.

After the county Sheriff has repeatedly publicly criticized how the Fire Chief handled the first two hour of the destructive Black Forest Fire in Colorado Springs, an independent investigator has been called in.

A man whose body was found during a brush fire in Arvin, California in August was murdered, before the suspect tried covering up the crime with a fire.

Protecting archaeological sites from wildfire and extreme weather using a wireless sensor network.

Vail Colorado maps and rates wildfire hazard for all structures.

Thanks go out to Dick, John, Bean, Ken, and Roy.

Inmate firefighter dies after falling ill on California fire

The 2,681-acre Buck Fire south of Hemet, California, was fully contained on Friday morning, and the North County Times reported that an inmate firefighter died yesterday after he became ill on the fire.

The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and Cal Fire are investigating the illness and subsequent death of 44-year-old Jimmy Randolph, who died at a hospital in Palm Springs with his family at his bedside. The cause of death will be announced after an autopsy is completed.

(UPDATED July 13, 2017. Mr. Randolf died in a hospital August 19, 2012 seven hours after he was found unresponsive where he was sleeping at the fire. The cause of death was listed as anoxic encephalopathy combined with complications of heat stroke.)

Buck Fire location

Fenner Canyon Conservation Camp on the Angeles National Forest houses minimum-security inmates and is operated jointly by CDCR and Cal Fire.

The Buck Fire also had a microburst rip through the ICP early Thursday, with hard rain and hail and 60 mph gusts that sent tents and much of the camp skittering across the ground. The fire, ignited by lightning last Tuesday, was also plagued with injuries; according to the Desert Sun, one firefighter was taken to a hospital for minor injuries. Three other firefighters incurred minor injuries, along with two civilians, one of whom suffered severe third-degree burns to his legs.

Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies are investigating a marijuana patch discovered in the area. According to the L.A. Times, firefighters encountered two men trying to protect the small grove of plants.

This fire had more than its share of weirdness. The Desert Sun also reported that a 59-year-old local man was charged with driving over a fire captain’s foot on Tuesday afternoon. Gregory Lance Good is being held in lieu of $30,000 bail on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and interfering with a firefighter in the line of duty. He was arraigned in Riverside County Superior Court and entered a “not guilty” plea.

California reducing inmate crews

CalFire says the state’s inmate fire crews will be reduced because of the California’s decision to move low-level offenders from state prisons to space in county jails. The state’s inmate crews are often the first crews on initial attack. More than 4,000 in the state are trained in wildfire suppression skills, but the number is expected to be closer to 2,500 this summer.

The shift is one result of Gov. Jerry Brown’s realignment program, which reduces the number of state prisoners and cuts costs by housing more inmates in county jails. The San Francisco Chronicle reported that county inmates could make up the loss, but the state and county sheriffs have not yet agreed on details.

CalFire inmate crew
CalFire inmate crew

Inmate crews stay in 42 conservation camps throughout the state. They can be assigned to wildfires or dispatched out for non-fire emergencies, and the crews provide labor for fuels reduction projects and even park maintenance. Inmates are paid about $1 per day, or $1 per hour when fighting fire. The state has 169 crews, three of which are women-only, with 13 to 17 people on a crew.

An editorial in the Redding Record-Searchlight said the conservation camps need a hero who can save the system from collapse.

Nevada County Sheriff Keith Royal, the president of the California State Sheriffs’ Association, said sheriffs and state officials are drafting an agreement that would charge counties $46 per day for keeping county inmates in the camps. Royal said most sheriffs won’t participate, though, because of the cost.

California inmate dies while training with CAL FIRE

On Wednesday an inmate that was training with CAL FIRE died. Our condolences go out to the family, friends, and coworkers.

Here is an excerpt from a news release by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation:



Inmate Firefighter Dies of Presumed Natural Causes

SAN LUIS OBISPO – A California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) inmate firefighter assigned to Cuesta Fire Camp at the California Men’s Colony died of presumed natural causes Wednesday afternoon January 4  during a training exercise with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention (CAL FIRE).

The inmate, Crisanto Leo Lionell, 54, was participating in a training exercise at the California National Guard’s Camp San Luis when he lost consciousness. Emergency personnel transported him to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead at approximately 4:45 p.m.

(UPDATE July 13, 2017. The cause of death was listed as a heart attack.)

Lionell was received by CDCR on February 10, 2010, to serve an 11-year sentence for transportation and possession for sale of controlled substances in Tulare County.

CDCR and CAL FIRE will conduct a review of the incident.

CDCR currently operates 44 adult and two Division of Juvenile Justice Conservation Camps in California. CDCR jointly manages 39 adult and juvenile camps with CAL FIRE and five adult camps with the Los Angeles County Fire Department. Nearly 4,000 offenders participate in the Conservation Camp Program (CCP), which has approximately 200 fire crews.

Since 1946, the CCP has provided the State’s cooperative agencies with an able-bodied, trained workforce for fire suppression and other emergencies, such as floods and earthquakes.