Operations Section Chief explains the chronology and strategy of Little Bear fire

The Type 1 Incident Management Team headed by Incident Commander Joe Reinarz has produced a nine-minute video about the Little Bear fire which has burned 38,116 acres in New Mexico. The only person with a speaking part is Operations Section Chief Carl Schwope who talks about the chronology and strategy while soothing acoustical guitar music plays softly in the background.

The IMTeam should be praised for making this video and giving the public a glimpse of how a fire is seen from the eyes of a firefighter. It was no small endeavor and required a lot of editing and the use of video footage and still photos from the fireline.

Mr. Schwope mentions something that was news to me. The fire started June 4 and the Forest Supervisor authorized the use of chain saws and dozers in the wilderness area. Firefighters contained it at four acres with a line around it. After “several days” of mop up, on June 7 an interior pocket of unburned fuel flared up causing some trees to ignite and torch, sending burning embers across the line. The weather on June 8 “caused the fire to make a significant run”, then it was off to the races.

Little Bear Fire
Little Bear Fire, burning operation on 532 Road, June 13, 2012, Photo by Kari Greer/USFS

224 homes burned in New Mexico’s Little Bear Fire

Little Bear Fire - June 1, 2012
Little Bear Fire – June 1, 2012. Flickr

It has been ten days the Little Bear fire in southern New Mexico started, and in that time it has burned 224 homes, blackened 39,912 acres, and firefighters have it 40 percent contained. On the more populated east side the fire has moved into areas with less continuous fuel, slowing the spread and making it easier for firefighters to construct fire line. On Wednesday most of the fire activity was on the west side. Tanker 911, a DC-10 was used in this area, dropping 11,600 gallons in each sortie.

Map of the Little Bear Fire, June 14, 2012 MODIS
Map of the Little Bear Fire, June 14, 2012 MODIS

A more detailed map of the Little Bear Fire can be found HERE.

The video below is a good summary of the fire activity on Wednesday.

The DC-10 is shown making a couple of drops in the excellent video below.

Below are more photos of the Little Bear fire from Flickr:
Continue reading “224 homes burned in New Mexico’s Little Bear Fire”

New Mexico: Little Bear fire makes a strong push to the east

The Little Bear fire on the Lincoln National Forest in southeast New Mexico, the home of Smokey Bear, attracted attention today by making a big push to the east and putting up a huge amount of smoke.

Satellite map of Little Bear fire 7:01 pm MDT June 9, 2012
Satellite photo of Little Bear fire, 7:01 pm MDT June 9, 2012

The Little Bear fire started from a lightning strike on June 4 and is listed at 10,000 acres, but I’m guessing it increased to about 15,000 on Saturday.

More information about the Little Bear fire.

Time-lapse satellite images of Whitewater-Baldy fire

The video below shows time-lapse satellite images of the Whitewater-Baldy fire in New Mexico between May 20 and June 6 — which in itself is pretty cool, but this was done with an iPhone. Really?, you’re thinking? Yes, really. Kirk Klausmeyer made it after capturing MODIS satellite imagery on his cell phone.

The images were acquired with an app for the iPhone called The World Daily, which can capture satellite images of any place (as long as it is on the planet Earth). Mr. Klausmeyer told us that after collecting the images, he converted them to a video using the free Google program Picassa.

New Mexico fire becomes largest in state history

Whitewater-Baldy torching, May 28, 2012
Whitewater-Baldy, May 28, 2012. USFS photo

The Whitewater-Baldy fire grew by another 18,000 acres yesterday to 170,272 acres, becoming the largest in the recorded history of New Mexico, surpassing last year’s Las Conchas fire which blackened 156,593 acres. The Wallow fire last year was the largest in Arizona history. It burned 538,049 acres and destroyed 32 residences.

A person has to wonder. Is this going to be the new norm — frequent record-setting fires, while the number of federal firefighters and air tankers continue to shrink?