Wildland Fire News

Friday, May 20, 2022

Crews working Twin Starts Fire in central Texas, the third to break out since Tuesday

Texas A&M Forest Service responded to a new wildfire Thursday evening in Llano County, making it the third to break out this week. The Twin Starts Fire is an estimated 420 acres wide and 75% contained. It is located about 3.3 miles south of the 52-acre Slab Road Fire off of E. State Hwy 71, according to the Texas Wildfire Incident Response System map. Texas A&M said dozers are working in rough terrain but making progress on building a containment line. Crews are also patrolling the area and engaged in mop-up. The Slab Road Fire is 90% contained and the Sandstone Mountain Fire is 95% contained. Both ignited on Tuesday, May 17.
KEYE-TV CBS 42 Austin

Additional resources called to assist with Road 201 East Fire at the Nebraska National Forest

PHOTOS: Crews continue to battle a wildfire at the Nebraska National Forest near Halsey. The Bessey Ranger District said the Road 201 East Fire has now grown to 1,489 acres. Crews worked all night to get the fire under control, but have been unsuccessful. There is a Red Flag Warning in the area and 35 mph wind gusts will be a primary concern for firefighters. Additional resources are on the way to help with helicopter and air drop operations. Crews are hopeful that the cooler weather and rain forecasted this weekend will help in their efforts. Officials have closed the forest through the weekend. They will reevaluate on Monday. Memorial Day weekend is still in question. However, they hope to learn more after this weekend. They are also asking ranchers to hold off turning their cattle over to pasture for now.
KNOP-TV NBC 2 North Platte

Hundreds of Southern California firefighters came together to practice fire control

VIDEO: Hundreds of Southern California firefighters gathered near Lake Skinner Thursday afternoon to participate in wildfire training. Part of a much larger operation statewide, the crews made up of more than 400 firefighters with 14 different Calfire agencies, were on hand to practice wildfire control. They practiced on a 55-acre plot of state land, where they practiced fighting fire with fire - using drip torches, hot-shot flares, handgun-style stubbies and something called a "terra-torch," a flamethrower of sorts that allows the user to create flames in a very specific location, often used on dry weeds and vegetation that act as fuel for wildfires. "As a strategic goal of Cal fire and for the governor, we try and treat 500,000 acres throughout the state," said Calfire Riverside Battalion Chief Josh Janssen, who detailed how the live fire training was crucial to not only help prevent devastating wildfires, but to prepare crews in advance of the hot, dry summer ahead.
KCBS-TV CBS 2 Los Angeles

New Mexico Sen. Ben Ray Luján introduces new bill to prevent wildfires

Two New Mexico senators are hoping to prevent more wildfires from happening across the country. On Thursday, Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D - New Mexico) introduced the "National Wildland and Fire Risk Reduction Program Act." The federal legislation would identify and invest in research and development, set up warning and forecast systems, develop observation and sensing technologies, and standardize data collection efforts to improve the nation’s preparedness, resilience, and response to wildfires. The bill is also co-sponsored by Sen. Martin Heinrich (D - New Mexico). "These fires are devastating," Luján said. "It's important that we all volunteer, that we all help, that we pass legislation, that we secure financial support or emergency declarations. Whatever our role is, we all need to do well at it now because families need our help."
KOAT-TV ABC 7 Albuquerque

Simms Fire burning in southwestern Colorado

A wildfire burning on Simms Mesa south of Montrose Thursday evening is prompting evacuations. The fire, called the Simms Fire, was first reported at 4:25 p.m. Thursday. It has burned about 370 acres, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The Montrose County Sheriff's Office said people living between Simms Mesa Road and Government Springs Road, as well as Wildcat Canyon, should evacuate immediately. Two heavy engines, two Type 6 engines and a fuels crew are fighting the fire Thursday night. Additional resources, including a Complex Incident Management Team, multi-mission aircraft and additional crews, have been ordered. Simms Mesa is located south of Montrose in southwestern Colorado.
KUSA-TV NBC 9 Denver

Thursday, May 19, 2022

What we know about the Mesquite Heat Fire in Texas

The massive Mesquite Heat Fire in Taylor County has reached an estimated 5,000 acres as of Thursday morning, May 19, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service. The fire service said only 5% is contained. According to the Taylor County Sheriff's Office, residents are being evacuated in the surrounding areas. The wildfire is near Buffalo Gab and not far from Abilene. The fire made a major push to the east, crossing HWY 277. Crews are focused on operations related to life safety, structure protection, and fireline creation where possible, according to Texas A&M Forest Service. So far, 10 houses and other structures have been destroyed by the Mesquite Heat Fire, according to the Abilene Reporter-News. However, officials believe those numbers will increase as they conduct new assessments.
My San Antonio

Black Fire becomes second largest wildfire currently burning in New Mexico

The Black Fire added more than 20,000 acres over the past 24 hours totaling more than 77,000 acres and becoming the second largest wildfire currently burning in New Mexico. The wildfire started under a week ago, on May 13, in the Gila National Forest — about 24 miles north of Mimbres. The cause of the fire start is still unknown and under investigation. High temperatures, low humidity and winds have culminated in creating the perfect conditions for the fire to grow quickly. Based on an infrared flight from Tuesday night, May 17, the fire is estimated to be burning 77,529 acres of forest land. No percentage of the perimeter is contained. More than 250 personnel are working to contain the blaze with more arriving continuously.
Silver City Sun News

Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado reopens after lightning sparks Medano Fire

The Great Sand Dunes National Park has reopened after a lightning strike ignited a wildfire in the grasslands along its main entrance road on Wednesday. The fire temporarily shut down inbound traffic and closed the visitor center for several hours. As of 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday, the 306-acre Medano Fire was 80 percent contained, according to a statement from the park. Crews worked through the night to suppress the fire’s growth. No injuries were reported, and the fire did not appear to reach the park’s main campground or famous dunes. The incident was the latest close call during an already active fire week across Southern Colorado. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning about dangerous fire conditions, which will last through Thursday afternoon due to dry and hot weather.
CPR News

Why staffing and critical fire weather could stretch fire departments in Northern California

Local fire agencies are preparing for an increase in calls as critical fire weather develops Thursday and Friday in Northern California. It all comes on the heels of the first 100 degree temperatures of the year, which is continuing to dry out lower elevation fuels like grasses. Late season rain in April and May helped slow the growing fire danger the valley was seeing after record dry conditions January through March, but Captain Keith Wade, spokesperson for the Sacramento Fire Department, said they are now seeing an uptick in calls for grass and vegetation fires as recent heat dries out fuels like grasses. Wade said they are getting calls to respond to at least five to ten grass fires every day as the weather transitions to the dry season and warming weather blankets the valley.
KXTV ABC 10 Sacramento

Virginia Tech alumni fuel a burning desire to fight wildfires

Laura Webster grew up on a beef cattle and tobacco farm in Mecklenburg County, a large slice of heaven in south-central Virginia that hugs the North Carolina line. Working on the family-run farm taught her a work ethic at a young age. She also learned to value the land and all that it offered, so when she enrolled at Virginia Tech, she ultimately decided to earn a degree in forestry and pursue a career that aligned with her values. “My brother decided to come to Virginia Tech, so we were both in forestry at the same time,” Webster said. “We still wanted to stay in agriculture, but our family farm wasn't going to be a business for us to take over. That’s kind of why we transitioned to forestry, which is just long-term farming. That's all it is. So we took our knowledge of the woods and put it to use.”
Virginia Tech

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