The maps in the March 1 National Significant Wildland Fire Potential Outlook issued by the Predictive Services section at the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) are nearly the same as the maps for the same months distributed on February 1. It took me a long time to see a couple of minor differences in the ones produced 28 days ago. The outlook predicts wildfire potential will be higher than normal in the Southern Plains through June, 2021. This will include portions of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Arizona and New Mexico will have enhanced fire activity April through June, according to the forecast.
The entire southwest one-quarter of the United States is currently experiencing either abnormally dry, severe, extreme, or exceptional drought.
More than 10.3 million acres of land were scorched by wildfires nationwide in 2020. Firefighters battling the harrowing flames often work shifts that exceed 24 hours, and they stay in close quarters in remote locations for weeks at a time, offering a prime opportunity for COVID-19 to spread.
In addition, firefighters in urban areas as well as in wildlands routinely are exposed to smoke, carbon monoxide, toxins from structure fires and other hazards to lung health.
Although there isn’t much data to indicate whether smoke inhalation affects the infection rate or severity of COVID-19 in firefighters, some experts are voicing concerns about lessened lung capacity upon recovery and other health issues.
“There’s definitely the question of whether or not those firefighters who are severely impacted will have trouble regaining lung capacity,” said Luke Montrose, an environmental toxicologist at Boise State University. “They’re already at risk for diseases like camp crud and lung cancer.”
A brush fire at a landfill has been sending smoke billowing over Hartselle for weeks.
City officials say the fire is burning deep within the brush pile, so water alone cannot put out the fire.
People who live nearby say they are not happy about the smell, or the smoke.
“The smoke has been coming through my vents. It creates a layer of smoke at the top of my ceiling,” said Hartselle resident Lauri Boardman.
Boardman says she had to buy an air purifier because smoke from a brush fire at the City of Hartselle Landfill is creeping inside her home.
“They should be doing their job by providing the necessary equipment to take care of the mulch fire that’s at the city dump,” Boardman said.
WAFF-TV NBC 48 Huntsville
When Steffen Kuehr looks at discarded fire hoses, he envisions belts, dog leashes and drink coasters.
When he looks at vinyl event banners and all those billboards along highways, he sees totes, wine carriers and messenger bags.
Kuehr, through his Santa Rosa company TekTailor, takes other people’s garbage and repurposes it into functional items. It’s called upcycling — the transformation of waste into a product people want.
Among his most ambitious undertakings was to look at what might be done with thousands of pounds of fire hose from the 2019 Kincade Fire that burned in northern Sonoma County and the 2020 Glass Fire that ravaged parts of Napa and Sonoma counties. Once a hose has been damaged it cannot be used for another fire.
“The fire hose was not easy to work with because it’s thick and hard,” Kuehr, 46, said. “We have to create products around the characteristics of the material. With the fire hose we soak it in a tub with natural cleaning liquid, power wash it, and hang it to dry.”
North Bay Business Journal