Wyoming State Forestry hosted their annual wildland fire training again this year at Camp Guernsey Joint Training Center, in Guernsey, Wyoming. They cleverly call it WYOFIRE, which comes from “Wyoming Fire Incident Readiness Exercise”. The objectives are to train and qualify wildland firefighters in Incident Command System positions and to provide the opportunity for firefighters to familiarize themselves with the processes of reporting to incidents, actions while at incidents, and how to properly demobilize.
This year there were about 200 registered for the May 16 through 18 event. We visited on May 17 and observed live fire training by personnel from Rochford FD (South Dakota), Camp Guernsey FD (Wyoming), and Big Laramie Valley VFD (Woming).
All of the photos were taken by Bill Gabbert for Wildfire Today.
A for-profit company that provides online exercises and training for emergency managers is making available at no charge a tabletop online wildfire exercise. The Disaster Resistant Communities Group will host the exercise on May 31. All participants will need to register in advance and should allow enough time to become familiar with information that will be distributed before the exercise begins. The company recommends that at least three people from each organization take part, acting as a disaster planning and response team.
US Forest Service Announces National Forest Fire Management Officer of the Year
Gary Brown, Chair of the National Forest Fire Management Officer Committee, recently announced the recipients of the 2012 and 2013 National Forest Fire Management Officer of the Year selections.
Selected for 2012 was Bob Lippincott from the Nez Perce-Clearwater NF of central Idaho, R1. Bob was recognized for his effort that year in leading the forest through an extremely difficult fire season that included multiple type I and II IMTs, supporting fire operations on other forests and regions and for leading the forest and cooperators through a difficult time following the loss of one of our fellow firefighters.
Selected for 2013 is Arlen Cravens from the Shasta-Trinity NF in northern California, R5. Arlen retired this past winter and is being recognized for his life-time achievements as a Canadian and Redding smokejumper, and a career in fire that culminated as a Fire Staff Officer. Arlen was always a student of fire and promoted sound risk and leadership principles.
CAL FIRE Battalion Chief sought in murder
A CAL FIRE Battalion Chief is suspected in the murder of his girlfriend in the Sacramento area. An instructor at the agency’s training academy at Ione, California, 55-year old Battalion Chief Orville Fleming, is being sought following the stabbing death of 26-year old Sarah Jane Douglas on Thursday, May 1. His CAL FIRE pickup was found abandoned Thursday night in Elk Grove, a suburb just south of Sacramento. A ground and air search was conducted by local law enforcement authorities and CAL FIRE law enforcement officers. Some of those officers are providing security at the academy in case Chief Fleming shows up there. The suspect is known to own firearms and is thought to be armed.
He was a firefighter with the city of Madera for three years when the city contracted with CAL FIRE for fire protection and was promoted to fire captain in 2001 and to battalion chief in 2012. He has been an instructor at Ione for about 10 years.
The video shows firefighters in Lancashire, UK engaged in wildfire training, using some equipment that you will not often see on the other side of the pond.
Here is how the video is described:
Firefighters along with partner agencies Bay Search and Rescue, Mountain Rescue teams (Bolton and Bowland), Pennine helicopters, United Utilities, the Moorlad Association and Lancashire County Council all joined together in an excercise on Bleasdle Fell, Lancashire to not only practice the skills required to tackle a wildfire but also raise awareness of the issues with the public through local media. This report was taken from Granada Television News, featuring Station Manager Shaun Walton, Jeremy Duckworth from the Moond Association and reported by Amy Welch.
And speaking of training, the photo below illustrates in a completely different environment annual firefighter refresher training in the National Park Service’s Midwest Regional Office in Omaha, Nebraska.
The only time during World War II when Japanese forces bombed the American mainland occurred in 1942. They loaded a small airplane with two incendiary bombs, launched it from a submarine off the Oregon coast, and tried to set the state on fire. It did not work out too well for the Japanese. Apparently there was no wildland Fire Behavior Analyst on the submarine’s crew.
…[From his lookout tower Keith] Johnson didn’t see the submarine as it surfaced. The boat creaked as its bow broke through the waves to the surface of the Pacific Ocean. A loud bell gave the “all clear” for the men to spring into action. On board that I-25 submarine was a single engine Yokosuki E14Y aircraft. This small, two passenger float plane was compact enough to store in a submarine but had enough power in its nine cylinder 340 hp radial engine to carry bombs on light attack missions. A team of men rolled the plane out its hangar that stood next to the conning tower, unfolded its wings and tail, then loaded two 176 pound incendiary bombs underneath its wings…
But when the fog lifted [Howard] Gardner saw smoke. He called for help then set off towards the fire, which he assumed was a remnant from a lightning strike fire that had sparked the previous day. What he and his men found was a smoldering fire covering a circular area 50 to 75 feet across. They quickly got the fire under control and found a crater about three feet in diameter and about one foot deep at the centre of the site. Inside was evidence of intense heat, hot enough to fuse earth and rocks.
Here is an excerpt from The Tribune about a county in southern California prohibiting them under most conditions:
The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed an ordinance prohibiting the ignition and launching of sky lanterns in the county areas outside the incorporated cities and fire districts. The ordinance goes into effect in 30 days.
A sky lantern — an airborne paper lantern sometimes called a “Chinese lantern” — is similar to a miniature hot air balloon. It is powered by a fuel cell or candle that heats the air, fills the balloon and makes the lantern fly up into the sky.
“What seems harmless is not, and these lanterns pose a serious threat to the citizens, property, and wildland areas of San Luis Obispo County,” said Cal Fire Chief Rob Lewin.
UPDATE at 9:14 p.m. MT, May 8, 2013:
After posting the above about the sky lanterns, we heard from Dietra A. Myers Tremblay who is studying Disaster Management and Humanitarian Assistance at the University of Hawaii. She said:
In regards to your May 8, 2013 Wildfire Briefing on sky lanterns, in 2012, Hawaii enacted a state law that prohibits the sale, offer for sale, distribution, possession, ignition, or other use of aerial luminaries also known as sky lanterns, Hawaii lanterns, and flying luminaries.