Here is the latest information we have gathered from the National Interagency Fire Center and the Eastern Area Coordination Center concerning the firefighters and incident management teams that are assisting with the recovery from Hurricane Sandy.
This is a very fluid situation. Some resources are arriving at one location and being reassigned in another state. The list is probably not complete or 100 percent accurate, but it will give you an idea of how wildland firefighters are assisting with the recovery.
Firefighting Resources Committed:
Team: one short Type 2 Incident Management Team (Grant), staged at Fort Devens, MA.
Crews: two Type-2 IA fire crews (MI and MN); staged at Fort Devens, MA.
Teams: One short Type 1 IMT (Pisarek) is operating a supply depot. Also en route or arrived are three National Incident Management Organization Teams (NIMO) (Quesenberry, Hahnenberg, and Houseman; Dan Kleinman is the IC on the Houseman team)
Crews: Cherokee IHC Short Crew, Augusta IHC, and five 2 person Saw Crews
Buying Team: one is assigned to work remotely supporting IMTs.
Team: one Type 1 IMT (Wilder) at Middletown, PA is operating a mobilization center.
Crews: four crews are en route or have arrived in PA (Laguna IHC, Palomar IHC, Los Padres IHC, and Breckenridge IHC) ; two of them will probably be reassigned to NY
HERE is a link to a five-minute podcast Jennifer Jones, a Public Affairs Specialist with the USFS in Boise did yesterday with Steve Gage, the new Assistant Director for Operations with the USFS at NIFC, about using IMTeams and fire crews to help with hurricanes and other non-fire emergencies.
Since our report yesterday about the wildfire resources being sent to the east coast to assist with the recovery from the impacts of Hurricane Sandy, there has been an increase in the numbers heading east. Yesterday there were 2 Incident Management Teams and 7 crews or portions of crews being mobilized. Today 5 incident management teams and 11 wildfire suppression crews or portions of crews, for a total of more than 200 personnel, are ordered, staged in, or en route to New York, Washington, DC, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. One of the IMTeams is a National Incident Management Organization, or NIMO team. (We need to come up with a better name for these teams. “National Incident Management Organization Team” is almost as bad a term as “fire for resource benefits”.)
The firefighters ordered, en route, staged, or on scene include:
Two interagency hotshot crews, one 20-person Type 2 wildfire suppression hand crew, one 10-person saw crew, and one short Type 2 incident management team (Pisarek) are staged at or en route to Republic Airport, Farmingdale, New York (Long Island). The IMTeam will be operating a supply depot.
Two 20-person Type 2 wildfire suppression handcrews are enroute to Washington, DC. A short Type 2 incident management team has been ordered for Washington, DC.
Three 20-person Type 2 wildfire suppression handcrews en route to Pennsylvania. A short Type 2 IMTeam has been ordered for Annville, Pennsylvania.
The Southwest National Incident Management Organization team (Houseman) has been sent to Lakehurst, New Jersey. Dan Kleinman will be the Incident Commander.
Two 20-person Type 2 wildfire suppression hand crews and one short Type 2 incident management team (Grant) staged at Fort Deven, Massachusetts.
I expect that as responders switch from rescue to recovery and are able to gain access to the impacted areas through blocked roads to access the damage, there will be increasing demands for crews and perhaps IMTeams.
Originally published October 11, 2012, updated February 6, 2013
Targets that are designed to explode when shot with a rifle have become more popular in recent years, emerging as an increasing threat to our wildlands. The problem is, they sometimes start fires in spite of claims by the manufacturers saying they are safe.
The military has been using them for at least 20 years when training marksmen to hit targets hundreds of yards away, since it can be difficult to see if a target was hit at that distance. When struck with the bullet from a rifle, the explosion and smoke are easily seen and indicate that the shooter hit the target
They are sometimes called “binary exploding targets”, since they are completely inert until two powders are mixed at the site by the target shooter. After they are combined, the compound is illegal to transport. The manufacturers claim that the only way they can be detonated is by striking them with a high-velocity bullet fired from a high-powered center-fire rifle. At least one company has recently started offering targets that will explode when hit with a much less powerful .22 caliber rim-fire rifle.
While the manufacturers claim they can’t start a fire, the screen grab (above) from a video shows flames in the grass just after a target advertised by Cabela’s and manufactured by Star Exploding Targets, explodes. The video is below, however we expect that eventually Cabela’s and Star will remove it from YouTube. The flames are visible three seconds into the video at the bottom left.
In a quick search, we found numerous reports of wildfires having been caused by exploding targets in a 5-month period. The dates below indicate when the information was published.
June 17, 2012, Colorado. The Springer Fire in Park County on the Pike National Forest burned 1,045 acres. It was caused by exploding targets.
June 13, 2012, Idaho. Four wildfires were caused by shooters using exploding targets up to that date in 2012.
June 15, 2012, Washington. A small fire near the mouth of the Grande Ronde River was apparently started by someone shooting at exploding targets.
June 16, 2012, Utah. The 300-acre Little Cove fire was caused by shooters using exploding targets.
June 29, 2012, Utah. A fire investigator said eight wildfires in the previous three weeks were caused by shooters using exploding targets.
July 2, 2012, Nevada. A five-acre fire in Elko was caused by shooters using exploding targets.
August 19, 2012, Oregon. Five shooters were cited for starting a 35-acre fire using Tannerite exploding targets.
September 6, 2012, Washington. The Goat Fire burned 7,378 acres 3 miles southwest of Pateros, WA. It was started by exploding targets. Forest Service officials previously said two smaller fires — a 120-acre blaze in Mud Creek Entiat and one on Deadman Hill near Cashmere — may also have been ignited by exploding targets.
October 7, 2012, Pennsylvania. Two state Game Commission workers suffered injuries including burns, temporary blindness and hearing damage when an illegal exploding target blew up while the men attempted to put out a fire at a gun range in Pike County.
October 11, 2012, California. A 364-acre fire was started by shooters using exploding targets. A news report (see video below) shows two pounds of the explosive being used to blow up a car.
October 19, 2012, Utah. Two men have been charged with starting the Dump fire near Saratoga Springs, Utah that burned more than 5,500 acres and cost $2.1 million to put out. About 2,500 people were forced to evacuate. Investigators say the men were shooting June 21 when they hit an explosive target that started the fire in vegetation.
October 23, 2012, Nebraska. Three men have been charged with starting a fire by using exploding targets in Nebraska, and starting the Spotted Tail fire that burned 83 acres south of Chadron October 23.
This is a total of 24 fires that were either confirmed or suspected to be caused by exploding targets since the first of June, 2012. And these are just the ones that we were able to find using Google.
In most areas in the western United States exploding targets are illegal to use if there is a law or temporary ban on open fires.
One of the primary manufacturers of the targets is Tannerite. The company has a patent on the devices and has said the fires are caused by other companies infringing on their patent and adding an additional incendiary component in order to produce a more spectacular explosion.
At an online forum for firearms enthusiasts, The Firing Line, some of the posters decry the lack of wisdom of target shooters who start fires with exploding targets. A person using the moniker “g.willikers” wrote:
It seems that we gun owners have two enemies. Those who would deprive us of our gun rights. And those who throw those rights away.
Others on the forum suggested some alternative targets that can produce an impressive display when hit with a bullet, such as:
A milk jug filled with water
Pop can filled with water
Fresh cow pie
UPDATE October 12, 2012:
Ken told us about this news report that appeared on television in southern California October 11, 2012, explaining and demonstrating the hazards of these explosive targets. They use two pounds of the explosive to blow up a car, and Chief John Hawkins of CAL FIRE provides his point of view on the problem.