Live reporting from a prescribed fire

prescribed fire video live
Micah and Laura as seen in the video shot at a prescribed fire.
Yesterday firefighters at Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in northwest Indiana broadcast a live report from a prescribed fire. This is at least the second time we’re aware of that they have used this new feature on Facebook. When they did it on March 19, 2016 Facebook was only allowing a relatively small number of users to stream live. Now they are rolling out this ability to everyone.

Periscope and a few other apps have been doing this for a year or more, but Facebook having this ability to send live video to hundreds of millions of users is a game-changer. I expect we will see more live reports from wildfires and prescribed fires around the world this summer.

Anderson Creek fire in Oklahoma and Kansas

(UPDATED at 11:30 a.m. March 25, 2016)

KS-OK fire from space
The Anderson Creek Fire in Oklahoma and Kansas as seen from space. Photo via Damon Lane


(UPDATED at 12:15 a.m. CDT, March 25, 2016)

This map was provided by Oklahoma Forestry Services, along with the information that the fire had burned an estimated 397,420 acres and was 0% contained Thursday morning.

Map Anderson Ck Fire 3-24-2016


(UPDATED at 6:12 p.m. CDT March 24, 2016)

The video below is a recording of the briefing by public officials of Barber County Kansas the morning of March 24, 2016 about the very large fire insouthern Kansas and northern Oklahoma. It was originally broadcast on Periscope by Amy Bickel, but since recordings there are automatically deleted after 24 hours, we preserved it here. It was recorded off a computer monitor, so we apologize for the low quality.

In the briefing referenced above, the County Attorney said “397,420 acres have burned over the last couple of days”. He did not indicate if that was the size of the very large fire in our maps, or if the acreage includes multiple fires. He also said two homes were destroyed.

The map below shows heat detected by a satellite at 2:25 p.m. on March 24. The light vegetation in the area may sometimes ignite, burn up completely, and then cool before the next satellite overpass, which can be about 12 hours apart. In this case the mapped data may under-report the true extent of the fire.

map fire wildfire kansas oklahoma medicine lodge
Kansas-Oklahoma fire map at 2:25 p.m. CDT March 24, 2016.

Here is an excerpt from an article at WIBW, dated March 24 at 2:10 p.m.

Strong winds have thwarted efforts to contain a wildfire that has burned 620 square miles of rural land in Oklahoma and Kansas, and it’s now approaching populated areas.

Oklahoma Forestry Services spokesman Mark Goeller said Thursday that strong winds shifted the direction of the fire late Wednesday and overwhelmed existing containment lines.

Officials are now monitoring a part of the blaze 5 miles away from Alva, Oklahoma, where about 5,000 people live. No mandatory evacuations have been issued in Oklahoma, though Goeller says officials are forming contingency evacuation plans as crews work to slow the fire’s spread.

Goeller says wind conditions and humidity are expected to improve throughout the day, making progress on containment more likely…

Anderson Creek Fire 3-24-2016

Continue reading “Anderson Creek fire in Oklahoma and Kansas”

Indiana Dunes ignites prescribed fires at West Beach

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore applied prescribed fire to about half a dozen units yesterday live-streaming from the scene two or three times on Facebook. The recordings are preserved and we posted a couple of them here.

The units the park worked on were in the West Beach area, a portion of the 600 acres they expect to burn this spring. The park is on the south shore of Lake Michigan in northwest Indiana.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore prescribed fire

Photos and videos by Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Experiment with live video from a fire via Periscope

Dudley Fire tree felling
Screen grab from Wildfire Today’s Periscope video March 4, 2016.

If you’re not familiar with the smart phone app Periscope, it makes it possible to broadcast to the internet a live video from your phone. The app is free to download and does not cost anything to stream the video. I tried it for the first time today from the Dudley Fire in Buffalo Gap, South Dakota.

The image above is a screen grab from the video as a faller from the U.S. Forest Service was cutting down a large cottonwood tree adjacent to a mobile home. You can view the video HERE, but I believe it goes away after 24 hours, so you’ll need to watch it before 10 a.m. MST on Saturday March 5, 2016.

It is interesting that a couple of seconds before the tree actually started to fall, the dozer, with the blade about 10 feet away, began moving toward the tree and raising the blade — as if he was going to catch it if it started to fall backwards toward the mobile home.

That was the second video I broadcast. I did the first one a few minutes before; it was a little rough, as I held my still camera in one hand and filmed with the phone in the other. Then at the end I had to figure out how to stop it, which took a while.

After you install Periscope on your phone you can follow us by searching for “wildfiretoday”. Optionally, you can be notified when someone you’re following is broadcasting live.

This app has a lot of potential for broadcasting live from a fire scene, a briefing, or a news conference.

More information:
Our original post on the Dudley Fire.
Additional photos of the Dudley Fire.

More photos from the Dudley Fire

(UPDATED at 1:20 p.m. MST March 4, 2016 with four more photos.)

Dudley Fire Buffalo Gap SD

Here are more photos from the Dudley Fire yesterday in Buffalo Gap, South Dakota taken by Bill Gabbert.

Dudley Fire Buffalo Gap SD

Two large cottonwood trees had fire established in the upper reaches of the branches and were threatening to fall.

Dudley Fire Buffalo Gap SD

xDudley Fire Buffalo Gap SD

Dudley Fire Buffalo Gap SD

This mobile home was seriously damaged and the asthmatic older woman who lived there may not be able to occupy it again. Rod Converse left this information in a comment on the original thread about the fire:

Please consider joining us in helping Millie Sanford get back on her feet after this fire. Milie is a caring and benevolent lady that has spent her life helping others in need. She did not have insurance, has no place to live and has little resources. If you feel led to help, her address is below.

Thank you.

PO Box 14, Buffalo Gap, SD 57722

Dudley Fire Buffalo Gap SD

The glass windows in the photo above softened and warped but remained in place. The cloudy areas on the panes are bowed out like a wave in the ocean.

Dudley Fire Buffalo Gap SD

You can watch the tall tree nearest the camera being cut down in the live video we broadcast from Periscope. It will go away after 24 hours, so you’ll need to watch it before 10 a.m. MST on Saturday March 5, 2016. More about our experiment with Periscope here.

More information:
Our original article about the Dudley Fire.
Links to and information about the live video we streamed from the Dudley Fire.

Dudley Fire burns close to structures in Buffalo Gap, SD

Above: Steven Esser applies water on the Dudley Fire in Buffalo Gap, South Dakota, March 3, 2016. Photo by Bill Gabbert.

A fire that started in Buffalo Gap burned very close to structures Thursday afternoon in the small town 24 miles south of Rapid City, South Dakota. A response by volunteer fire departments, South Dakota state engines, and personnel from the U.S. Forest Service stopped the fire at two acres. A large pile of old hay bales ignited and will require a significant effort by firefighters to completely suppress.

What started the fire is unknown. A cause and origin investigator was requested by the Incident Commander, but since he would not have arrived until after dark he will be on scene first thing Friday morning.

In addition to the photos you see here, we will post more of the fire on Friday and Saturday. All photos are by Bill Gabbert and are protected by copyright.

(UPDATE March 4, 2016: we posted more photos from the fire here.)

Dudley Fire Buffalo Gap Dudley Fire Buffalo Gap Dudley Fire Buffalo Gap Dudley Fire Buffalo Gap Dudley Fire Buffalo Gap Dudley Fire Buffalo Gap

More information:
More photos of the Dudley Fire.
Links to and information about the live video we streamed from the Dudley Fire.