Poll: Preparedness Level 5 this year?

When do YOU think we will move to PL 5 this year? And, will there be a “Moses Letter” this year?

The National MAC Group just moved the national fire Preparedness Level up to 4, “due to increased significant wildland fire activity from central TX to WA state, the commitment of IMTs, and the potential for new wildland fires across multiple GACCs”. The highest level is 5.

NIFC has more information about Preparedness Levels, but here is the criteria for PL 5:

National mobilization is heavily committed and measures need to be taken to support [Geographic Areas]. Active GA’s must take emergency measures to sustain incident operations.
– Full commitment of national resources is ongoing.
– Resource orders filled at NICC by specifically coordinating requests with GACCs as resources become available.
– Potential for emerging significant wildland fires is high and expected to remain high in multiple geographic areas.

Please take our poll. Answers must be clicked by the end of the day on Monday, July 23, 2018.

When this year will the national preparedness level be moved to PL 5? The week of...

  • August 5 (35%, 123 Votes)
  • August 12 (27%, 94 Votes)
  • July 29 (17%, 60 Votes)
  • August 19 (9%, 32 Votes)
  • It won't move to PL 5 (7%, 24 Votes)
  • July 22 (2%, 8 Votes)
  • September 2 or after (2%, 7 Votes)
  • August 26 (1%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 352

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Sometimes when we’re in PL 4 or 5 the honchos in Washington will distribute a “Moses Letter”, telling regional and local units to Let My People Go so they can go fight fire and save lives.

Exodus 8:1

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Go in to Pharaoh and say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Let my people go, that they may serve me.”

Of course they don’t actually CALL IT a “Moses Letter” and probably won’t quote the Bible if they do send one, but we are in a new norm now, for many reasons.

For bonus points, let us know in the comments if you think the folks in the head shed will send a Moses Letter this year.

Wildfire crews create end-of-season video summaries

Above: Crow Peak Fire, south of Spearfish, SD, June 27 2016. Photo by Bill Gabbert

We have found five videos created by Hotshot Crews that show some of the highlights of their 2016 season fighting wildfires.

After you view them, take the poll at the bottom — which do you like best?

The first is from the Geronimo Hotshots.

Next, the Baker River Hotshots:

And, the Midewin Hotshots:

The Mad River Hotshots:

Wyoming Hotshots:

Take the poll

Which video do you like best? Let us know by choosing an answer in the poll below — then click on the hard to see “vote” box below.

Which of these 2016 Hotshot Crew videos do you like best?

  • Baker River (31%, 160 Votes)
  • Geronimo (24%, 125 Votes)
  • Midewin (22%, 116 Votes)
  • Wyoming (14%, 74 Votes)
  • Mad River (8%, 42 Votes)

Total Voters: 517

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The last day to take the poll will be July 1, 2017.

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Poll: which fire weather mapping product do you prefer?

Fire weather 3-14-2016

Today we have two very different fire weather mapping products. Both provide information about the predicted fire weather for today, March 14.

The map above is produced by the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma. It does not display Red Flag Warnings or Fire Weather Watches. Instead, it designates areas with “critical” and “elevated” fire weather forecasts. It also shows an area in South Dakota and Nebraska that has the possibility of “Iso DryT” — isolated dry thunderstorms. We checked the more detailed text fire weather forecasts for the Iso DryT areas and only found one that briefly mentioned that issue.

Below is the type of map that we have been using for years on Wildfire Today. It only provides information about Red Flag Warnings or Fire Weather Watches — which is good to know. Especially if you want to supply information to the public using just a few words that can convey an important message.

Both maps can be found HERE.

wildfire Red Flags 3-14-2016

Which map do you prefer us to use on Wildfire Today? Let us know by choosing an answer in the poll below — then click on the hard to see “vote” box below.

Which fire weather map do you prefer for Wildfire Today?

View Results

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Poll: the minimum number of firefighters dispatched to a fire

The issue of a firefighter suppressing a wildfire alone has recently come up on Wildfire Today. Here is your chance to weigh in on the issue.

As a routine practice during fire season, should an agency dispatch less than two firefighters to put out (not scout) a wildland fire if little is known about the fire other than the location?

View Results

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Poll: will seasonal firefighters get health insurance this month?

As we reported on June 10, President Obama has ordered that seasonal firefighters be offered the opportunity to purchase health insurance. According to the Wall Street Journal, quoting an unnamed administration official, access to the insurance will begin this month. Here is the poll:

Will seasonal firefighters be provided access to health insurance in the month of July, 2012?

  • No (70%, 144 Votes)
  • Yes (30%, 61 Votes)

Total Voters: 205

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Poll: how to improve the air tanker fleet

We have previously documented the current state of the federal air tanker fleet:

The air tanker fleet managed by the U.S. Forest Service, NPS, BIA, BLM, and USFWS, has deteriorated over the last 10 years from 44 large air tankers on exclusive use contracts to the 11 we have today. As the climate changes, fire seasons are getting longer. Last year there were records set in Arizona and New Mexico for the largest fires in the states’ histories. In March of this year fires burning in Colorado and South Dakota competed for scarce air and ground firefighting resources. The number of unfilled orders for air  tankers continues to increase. Congress regularly reduces the firefighting budgets of the land management agencies.

What do you recommend?

Mark as many options as you wish.


What changes would you make to the federal air tanker program in the United States?

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