TBT: Firefighter’s film-making son invited to the White House

For Throwback Thursday I found a good news story — much needed during these turbulent times. Published March 21, 2015, it feels like it was a thousand years ago:


Noah Gue President Obama
Noah Gue talks with President Obama in the White House. Photo credit, White House.

The six-year-old son of a wildland firefighter was one of 15 filmmakers to be invited to show a video at a film festival at the White House. Noah Gue worked with his father, Michael Gue, a firefighter with the U.S. Forest Service in Bozeman, Montana, to make the film to help raise awareness of climate change and inspire conservation. Noah’s parents produced the film in which he is the on-screen narrator. He also got a credit for editing. The film was selected to be shown Friday at the second White House Student Film Festival.

Noah Gue President Obama
Noah Gue high-fives President Obama in the White House. Photo by Jacquelyn Martin.
Noah Gue Hilary Swank
Noah Gue talks with Hilary Swank in the White House. Photo by Jake Rosenberg.

The fact that Noah had a loose front tooth did not escape the notice of President Obama who mentioned it in his opening remarks at the event. Here are some excerpts from the official transcript:

Thank you so much, everybody! Have a seat. Well, hello, everybody, and welcome to the second annual White House Film Festival. (Applause.) It’s like the Sundance or Cannes of film festivals that are open to the public through a government website. (Laughter.) It may also be the only film festival where one of the entrants has his tooth loose. (Laughter.) And may pull it out right here at the ceremony. (Laughter.)

[and later]

…Today, we’re celebrating a 6-year-old in Montana. Is that you? (Applause.) He’s the guy without — he’s missing teeth. (Laughter.) But he’s also challenging us to see conservation through a child’s eyes…

Noah’s father, Michael, is a prolific photographer, as is his wife who is a wedding photographer. We have featured Michael’s fire pictures a couple of times on Wildfire Today, HERE and HERE. His Instagram account has over 7,000 followers…

Congratulations to Noah and Michael!

Numerous USFS permanent firefighter jobs available in several states

U.S. Forest Service Region 1
U.S. Forest Service Region 1

On Monday the U.S. Forest Service advertised numerous permanent firefighter job openings in the agency’s Region 1, Montana, North Dakota, and northern Idaho. Some of the notices say “Job Corps graduates of fire certified programs are encouraged to apply,” which is interesting in that students at USFS Job Corps centers have been sent home due to COVID-19. A massive recruitment beginning just as the wildland fire season starts is unusual.

Some of the announcements are only open for a very brief time.

The information below dated April 27, 2020 was copied from the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest Facebook page:


OPEN TODAY ON USAJOBS!🔥🌄
Region 1 Summer Fire Hire PERMANENT Jobs

Vacancy Number — Title — USAJOBS link:

20-FIRE-UHE-MT-FFTR-34DH Forestry Aid/Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression) https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566648700

20-FIRE-UHE-ID-FFTR-34DH Forestry Aid/Forestry Technician (Fire Suppression) https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566648000

20-FIRE-UHE-MT-ENGSRFF-5DH Forestry Technician / Engine Senior Firefighter https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566648400

20-FIRE-UHE-ID-ENGSRFF-5DH Forestry Technician / Engine Senior Firefighter https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566647200

20-FIRE-UHE-MT-HSHCSRFF-5DH Forestry Technician (Hotshot/Handcrew) https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566648900

20-FIRE-UHE-ID-HSHCSRFF-5DH Forestry Technician (Hotshot/Handcrew) https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566647800

20-FIRE-UHE-MT-AFEO-6DH Lead Forestry Technician (AFEO) https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566649400

20-FIRE-UHE-ID-AFEO-6DH Lead Forestry Technician (AFEO) https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566648200

20-FIRE-UHE-MT-HCREW-6DH Lead Forestry Technician (Hotshot/Handcrew) https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566649300

20-FIRE-UHE-ID-HCREW-6DH Lead Forestry Technician (Hotshot/Handcrew) https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566684100

20-FIRE-UHE-MT-FEOH-7DH Forestry Technician (FEO) https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566648800

20-FIRE-UHE-ID-FEOH-7DH Forestry Technician (FEO) https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566647700

20-FIRE-UHE-MT-HCREWH-7DH Forestry Technician (Handcrew) https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566649200

20-FIRE-UHE-ID-HCREWH-7DH Forestry Technician (Handcrew) https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566647900

20-FIRE-UHE-MT-SFEOH-8DH Supervisory Forestry Tech (Fire Engine Op) / SFEO https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566649000

20-FIRE-UHE-ID-SFEOH-8DH Supervisory Forestry Tech (Fire Engine Op) / SFEO https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566647400

20-FIRE-UHE-MT-HCREWH-8DH Supervisory Forestry Tech (Handcrew Supervisor) HIGH https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566648600

20-FIRE-UHE-ID-HCREWH-8DH Supervisory Forestry Tech (Handcrew Supervisor) HIGH https://www.usajobs.gov/GetJob/ViewDetails/566647600


Other areas are also hiring, with very short response dates. Here is another example.

Mendocino National Forest jobs
Mendocino National Forest jobs

Check out USAJobs.gov

BLM conducts 1,123-acre prescribed fire northeast of Billings, MT

BLM prescribed fire Billings Montana
BLM’s Kendall Coulee South prescribed fire northeast of Billings, MT on April 20, 2020. BLM photo by Colby K. Neal.

Bureau of Land Management firefighters conducted the 1,123-acre Kendall Coulee South prescribed fire northeast of Billings, MT on April 20, 2020.

BLM prescribed fire Billings Montana
BLM’s Kendall Coulee South prescribed fire northeast of Billings, MT on April 20, 2020. BLM photo by Colby K. Neal.

The BLM uploaded the video below, April 22, 2020: “Safely and successfully conducting a prescribed fire requires a great deal of planning and coordination. Addressing the additional health concerns we currently face adds to that challenge. The BLM Montana/Dakotas has developed an approach that is allowing firefighters to continue this important work.”

Missoula science lab assists firefighters

Above: Screenshot from the Missoula Fire Sciences Lab presentation. USFS.

The U.S. Forest Service has produced a fancy “story map” about the science being conducted at the Fire Sciences Lab in Missoula, Montana. I have toured the facility but was not aware of the breadth of the work now being conducted in the Wind Tunnel & Combustion Chamber, Soils Lab, Chemistry & Emissions Lab, Ecophysiology Lab, Tree Ring Lab, and Fuels Lab.

The presentation, which only takes a few minutes to scroll through, is mostly photos with brief descriptions of the work going on in the various departments. With science under attack in recent years, it is heart warming to know that some federal employees in Missoula have our backs.

Missoula Fire Sciences Lab
Screenshot from the Missoula Fire Sciences Lab presentation. USFS.

Smoke affects northwest U.S.

Forecast near surface smoke
Forecast for near surface smoke at 6 p.m. PDT October 24, 2019. NOAA.

Thursday morning there were very few wildfires producing large quantities of smoke, however the Kincade Fire 63 miles north of San Francisco has the potential to become an air quality problem for residents in northern California especially on Friday.

There is a surprising amount of smoke in the Northwest, especially in Idaho, Oregon, and western Montana presumably created by extensive prescribed burning.

fires northwest US Oct 24 2019
The map shows heat from fires detected in the Northwest United States October 24, 2019.

Investigators determine wildfire near Helena was started by exploding target

A suspect has been cited and may have to pay suppression costs

North Hills Fire Helena exploding target
Investigators determined that the North Hills Fire was started by an exploding target on July 26, 2019.

Investigators have determined that the North Hills Fire that burned 5,005 acres 10 miles northeast of Helena, Montana was started by a Tannerite exploding target July 26, 2019.

Below is an excerpt from an article in the Independent Record:

Two citations were filed Thursday against the person suspected of starting the North Hills fire that burned more than 5,000 acres near Helena earlier this summer.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management law enforcement cited the suspect with one count of causing a fire other than a campfire and one count of burning timber, trees, slash and brush outside of a campfire. Each ticket carries a $500 fine plus a $30 processing fee for a total cost of $1,060.

The citations do not include the costs associated with suppressing the wildfire or rehabilitating the burned area. Any possible civil action will be handled administratively by the agencies involved.
The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation has estimated the suppression costs “somewhere in the neighborhood of $7.2 million,” according to Helena Unit Manager John Huston.

“We probably will go after some suppression costs,” he said, noting that the process would probably take about a year.

Local and federal officials have declined to release the suspect’s name.

The North Hills Fire forced the evacuation of 400 homes northeast of Helena.

Walt Jester, Chief of the Lewis and Clark Volunteer Fire Department, took some excellent photos of the fire:

Exploding targets consist of two ingredients that when mixed by the end user explode when shot by a high-velocity projectile. They have caused many fires since they became more popular in recent years, have been banned in some areas, and caused the death of one person. After the ingredients are combined, the compound is illegal to transport and is classified as an explosive by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Paula. Typos or errors, report them HERE.