Wildland Fire News

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Arizona’s Cellar Fire grows to more than 8,000 acres Tuesday

What started out as a small 5-acre fire started by lightning near Wagoner this past weekend grew to more than 8,000 acres by Tuesday evening, according to the Arizona Interagency Wildfire website. Reports earlier in the day had the Cellar Fire estimated to be at 1,000 acres. "It's probably more than that," Prescott National Forest spokesperson Debbie Maneely said at the time in a phone interview with the Courier on Tuesday night. "We'll get a better idea tomorrow."The smoke from the blaze could be seen for miles in towns like Dewey, Mayer, Chino Valley, Mayer, Prescott Valley and parts of Prescott as the sun set Tuesday night. A tweet from the Prescott National Forest Service account said winds were pushing the fire to the north and east.
The Daily Courier

To protect forests from wildfires, Utah and feds launch $20 million effort

Utah will get up to $20 million over the next four years to protect communities and watersheds in forest areas from the threat of catastrophic wildfire, Gov. Gary Herbert announced Tuesday. Under Utah’s Shared Stewardship agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Forest Service, the state will start two large, forest restoration projects intended to head off large unwanted fires in critical areas, Herbert’s office said in a news release. They include the upper Provo River project, located on the Uinta-Wasatch-Cache National Forest, and the Canyons project, located on the Manti-La Sal National Forest. The Canyons project, which is currently undergoing an environmental review, would clear about half the beetle-killed Engelmann spruce on 30,000 acres on central Utah’s Wasatch Plateau. The 171,000-acre project area also includes thinning, prescribed burns and reseeding in an effort to nurse an ailing ecosystem back to health and restore aspen groves that have been displaced by conifers after years of fire suppression and livestock grazing.
The Salt Lake Tribune

DNR unveils new tool to fight Washington wildfires

VIDEO: Heading into the peak of wildfire season, the Department of Natural Resources just unveiled a new tool it plans to use to keep communities safe. This year, Washington has already seen an unprecedented 900 fires that have burned 28,000 acres. “Last year, around this time, we were more in the 500 range,” said Hilary Franz, DNR Commissioner of Public Lands. David Ritchie sees the damage firsthand. He’s the DNR’s chief helicopter pilot. Ritchie said wildfires are getting worse, especially in western Washington. Transmission lines and tall buildings make traditional 100-foot-long lines and Bambi buckets tough for helicopter crews to use in Puget Sound. “Before we got the tank, our only option for fighting
KIRO-TV CBS 7 Seattle

Photo essay: Females fighting fire in Colorado

The Bureau of Land Management recently partnered with the Western Colorado Conservation Corps and is helping to fund the work of crew members working for WCCC. This year was the first year the corps put together an all-female fire crew in Colorado. The women came from all across the United States to work on fuels projects and are on-call for any fires that require assistance in the state. The goal of the program is to increase diversity in the fire program by creating entry-level opportunities to help with recruitment. The women are learning skills that will be helpful in getting a position with a wildland fire program in BLM or other land management agencies. Marissa Wyatt, age 22, from Florida was inspired to go into this line of work by a former project sponsor who was an older female firefighter. “I have a great group of women to work with out here, and the work is really empowering,” she said. “Running chainsaws all day — you really can’t beat it.”
Post Independent

PG&E introduces revolutionary wildfire monitoring using satellite technology in the fight against California wildfires

After several years of testing and development, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) has deployed the PG&E Satellite Fire Detection and Alerting PGE logoSystem. The Satellite Fire Detection and Alerting System is a state-of-the-science program that incorporates data from the two new GOES satellites, as well as three polar orbiting satellites, to provide PG&E with advanced warning 24/7 of potential new fire incidents. The satellites are operated by the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service division. "This capability offers first-of-its-kind situational awareness by providing a live feed from the satellites to our Wildfire Safety Operations Center. Emerging technologies such as this are another way we are working to reduce wildfire risk and protect our customers and our communities," said Sumeet Singh, Vice President of PG&E's Community Wildfire Safety Program.
Sierra Sun Times

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

2 brush fires in Hawaii declared fully contained after causing major disruptions

Maui firefighters have fully contained two wildfires that started last week and burned a total of about 9,200 acres, county officials said Monday. “Words cannot express how relieved I am that there were no injuries or major property damage from what were dangerous, fast-moving fires that required evacuations and road closures,” Maui County Mayor Michael Victorino said Monday in a news release. Firefighters will continue to monitor areas to extinguish any hot spots and officials urged the public to avoid affected areas due to hazards. The wildfire in Central Maui broke out at about 10:40 a.m. Thursday near the intersection of Kuihelani Highway and Waiko Road. Winds fanned the flames quickly toward the south and east, which caused road closures and the temporary evacuations of thousands of residents and tourists in Maalaea and North Kihei.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Wildfire burning in Utah reaches 70 acres, possibly human-caused

A wildfire burning close to homes east of Springville reached 70 acres and may have been human-caused, officials reported. The Round Peak Fire started on Monday about 10:12 p.m., according to information from Utah Fire Info. The closest structure is barely half a mile away, although the fire moved down the mountain slope during the night. The wildfire is primarily burning in grass and brush and reached around 70 to 100 acres as of Tuesday morning. Officials suspect the fire is human-caused and the investigation is still ongoing. Multiple agencies are working together on the fire, including Springville Fire Department, Utah County Fire, the Division of Natural Resources, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.
Daily Herald

Follow Up: Oregon, Washington firefighters assist Alaska as Oregon’s fire budget fizzles

Over 1,000 firefighters from Oregon and Washington headed to Alaska to help battle a spate of wildfires caused by lightning strikes. At the same time, officials from vulnerable parts of Oregon worry that this state is not doing enough to protect themselves from wildfire risks. According to the Bureau of Land Management, dozens of fires across Alaska are currently burning over 600,000 acres, and lightning strikes have started as many as 11 fires in only three days. Along with firefighters, Oregon is also sending professional fire managers and helicopters. Other government organizations, like the Alaska National Guard, are also being mobilized to assist. One lesser-known casualty of Oregon’s cap and trade bill, which failed in June after a nine day walkout by Republican Senators, was a $6.8 million bill to thin forests in southern Oregon as a method of wildfire prevention.
The Corvallis Advocate

Volunteer firefighters in the West are at the front lines of today’s larger, more dangerous wildfires. Are we up for the job?

The call came in on July 5, 2018, at 12:31 pm: a vegetation fire in the vicinity of Klamathon Road, near the town of Hornbrook, California, just a few miles south of the Oregon border. It was a hot, windy day, and bone-dry. Tim Thurner, fire chief for the Hornbook Fire Protection District, was heading to Yreka to have lunch with his wife, Sherri, when they got the tone-out. “Three of us responded,” recalls Thurner. “We took our wildland engine and I was on water tender.” A CalFire engine and battalion were already on scene. Their goal was to set up a fireline, or break, to keep the fire from heading northeast, toward town. But erratic winds pushed the fire toward them. Twice Thurner and his crew had to retreat. As the fire flashed over them, Sherri Thurner barely had time to pull the shield up over the open cab of the wildland rig to keep from being burned.
Jefferson Public Radio

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