This video features a firefighter with the National Forestry Commission of Mexico (CONAFOR), Fernando Navarro Jiménez, who for several months joined the U.S. Forest Service’s Fulton Hotshots on the Sequoia National Forest in California. It shows the impact of the experience on him and CONAFOR as well as the cooperation between the U.S. Agency for International Development, the USFS, and Mexico.
A fire that straddles the Mexican border in the boot heel of New Mexico has burned thousands of acres. During a satellite overflight at 2:23 a.m. MDT Friday most of the fire was in Mexico but it was well established in the United States.
Our very unofficial estimate based on satellite data put it at approximately 5,000 acres early Friday morning. It was still very active at 2:23 a.m. local time.
The San Luis Fire is 41 miles south of Animas, NM and about 2 miles south of the OK Bar Fire that burned a couple of weeks ago. It is possible that this new fire could burn into the southern edge of the OK Bar Fire.
There is a Red Flag Warning in effect east of the fire.
You can’t make this stuff up.
While performing a stunt on top of a ladder truck during a parade in Tijuana, Mexico, 19 firefighters fell and were injured November 20.
The truck was moving very slowly while firefighters were doing handstands on top of other firefighters. When the truck suddenly stopped, they all fell, with most of them going all the way to the ground. There is one report that first, a firefighter lost his balance at the front of the truck, and the driver hit the brakes so as not to run him over. But very rough Google automatic translations leave some of the details in question.
Below is an excerpt from LaJornada, translated by Google:
Tijuana, 20 November.- The Sunday morning accident was recorded during the parade on November 20 in Tijuana, in which 19 members of the Fire Department were injured.
Firefighters were performing stunts aboard one of its units-above boulevard Paseo de los Heroes, at the height of the Glorieta Independence- when the truck stopped making them off balance.
According to the office manager of the Ministry of Public Security official Jose Luis Lopez, the injured are being treated, none seriously injured, however, two of them have possible fractures collarbone and leg, while others already they were discharged.
When I worked for the U.S. Forest Service, forms that had to be completed after every accident had one section that asked: “How could this accident have been prevented?” Well, I have some ideas about this one.
Above: a screen grab from The Atlantic’s documentary about a fire crew from Mexico that assists a U.S. National Park.
The Atlantic produced this seven-minute documentary about Mexican citizens, Los Diablos, that help Big Bend National Park in southern Texas conduct prescribed fires and suppress wildfires. The crew assisted with the Powerline Fire that burned about 1,800 acres in Big Bend in February.
Here is how The Atlantic describes the video:
In Texas, Mexican firefighters are saving the Rio Grande. Known as Los Diablos, or “the devils,” the elite firefighting crew is hired by the National Park Service to fight wildfires and conduct controlled burns along the border. The river provides water to more than 5 million people in the U.S. and Mexico, and sustaining its flow is vital. The water in the Rio Grande is already 150% over-allocated. In this short documentary, The Atlantic follows the group’s conservation efforts to rid the river of giant cane, an invasive plant that narrows the river and threatens native plants and fish.
Below are more screen grabs from the video.
Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Bill.
25,000 acres burned in Mexican wildfires
According to the Latin American Herald Tribune, about 25,000 acres burned last week in the Huasteca Potosina region in the north-central Mexican state of San Luis Potosi. Two people were identified as suspects for starting a fire near the town of Lagunillas. One person died in one of the fires, which have been fought by 600 firefighters.
USFS says naturally occurring asbestos was not a problem on the Chips Fire
The U.S. Forest Service conducted extensive tests of naturally occurring asbestos on the Chips Fire that burned over 75,000 acres on the Plumas/Lassen National Forest last August. The results indicated that firefighters were not exposed to dangerous levels of asbestos particles and confirmed that there is no need to wear high-efficiency particulate air respirators in the area. During suppression activities a Safety Officer, worried that dust might contain asbestos, had raised the issue of firefighter safety in areas where fireline was being constructed by crews and dozers.
Victims of Colorado’s Lower North Fork Fire have filed 95 claims against the government
At least 95 claims have been filed against government agencies in Colorado following the Lower North Fork Fire, a state-run prescribed fire that escaped March 26, 2012, killed three local residents at their homes and burned 27 structures. An article in the Denver Post quotes a local resident who said two previous prescribed fires in the area also escaped or reignited before the state ignited the Lower North Fork project.
Volunteer firefighter charged with arson
Nathaniel Ridgway Schmidt, a former volunteer firefighter with the Timber Cove Fire Protection District in Sonoma County, California, has been charged with setting five fires in Sonoma and San Mateo Counties.
One of the cases occurred on a prescribed fire when Mr. Schmidt was tasked with patrolling a section of fireline. Here is an excerpt from the San Francisco Chronicle:
…A half-hour later, Schmidt yelled that the fire was out of control, but investigators determined he had set a new quarter-acre blaze, [District Attorney Steve] Wagstaffe said. He said authorities believe Schmidt, who has no prior criminal record, set the fires “for excitement.”
The San Mateo County fire happened eight days after the first two of four fires allegedly set by Schmidt in Sonoma County. Prosecutors there charged Schmidt with four felony counts of arson and five misdemeanor counts of falsely reporting emergencies, including a car going over a cliff.
Thanks go out to Dick, Chuck, and Kelly.