Wildland Fire News

Thursday, November 14, 2019

As California burns, scientists search the smoke for threats to firefighter health

Matt Rahn was about 200 feet away when flames started climbing up the side of the garage and creeping toward the car inside. A wildfire researcher with California State University San Marcos, Rahn was at the edge of a fire that would go on to burn 4,240 acres across California’s Amador and El Dorado counties. He was there to study the smoke rising off blackening shrubs and trees. Watching the garage burn, though, he realized that firefighters fending off flames without any real lung protection were inhaling more than airborne remnants of burnt plants. “Think about the average home, all the chemicals and things that are in there, not to mention all the building materials and furniture,” said Rahn, who also is a member of Temecula’s city council.
Cal Matters

Heartbreaking video shows man giving water to koala burned in Australia wildfire

A man is wrenching hearts around the web after giving water to a koala that was badly burned by the wildfires ravaging Australia’s east coast. Koala Hospital Port Macquarie, a rehab facility for the care and conservation of wild koalas, posted a video Wednesday of the heartbreaking moment that has garnered thousands of likes and an outpouring of sympathy from the social media masses. The now viral Facebook clip shows a man identified only as “Darrel” caring for the scalded marsupial at the Bellangry State Forest in New South Wales, Australia, The Mirror reports. Darrel can be seen giving the poor creature — now named Kate — water from a plastic cup, which it gratefully laps up. “So badly singed,” commented the kind-hearted Samaritan, who later wrapped Kate in a blanket and brought her to the Koala Hospital Port Macquarie.
New York Post

Fighting fire from the air in Arizona, Forrest Towne explores aviation in his wildland fire career

Fighting fires. Sucking smoke. Working hard in an inferno of heat. You’ve been on assignment for four days and you have 10 more to go. You’re ready for a hot shower and solid food, you’re tired. But you’re still smiling. You’re a wildland firefighter. There’s many different reasons why a person would get into fighting wildfires, but no matter how you got there, everyone remembers their first fire. Forrest Towne is a senior forestry technician for the Navajo Region Helitack Crew, based in Fort Defiance, Arizona. He was 18-years-old when he went on his first fire assignment. “We had a local fire here — it was my first fire, they called it the Wide Ruins Fire. I got the call and showed up. In an hour we were out there and I was sucking in smoke and my eyes were burning. I was like, ‘I don’t know what I’m getting myself into,’ but it worked out,” Towne said.
Navajo-Hopi Observer

Inmates in Nevada raising sagebrush to help lands destroyed by fire

Local inmates are doing their part to help revitalize Nevada’s wilderness. Around a dozen inmates at the Warm Springs Correctional Center in Carson City grew sagebrush to replant areas destroyed by fire. This is part of the Sagebrush in Prison Project. It’s a partnership between the Nevada Department of Corrections, Bureau of Land Management, and Institute for Applied Ecology. The program started back in 2016 and works with inmates in Lovelock, as well. This year alone the inmates helped raise more than 200,000 plants. Scott Kelly with the Nevada Department of Corrections said, “Wildfires are happening more often and wildfires are more intense.” Kelly added, “If they don’t get sagebrush out and plant it in these areas, these areas can be overrun by cheat grass and other more flammable things.”

Arizona county post-fire flood model depicts Colorado River amount flowing down the Rio de Flag

A new county study modeling post-fire flooding in the Rio de Flag shows such an event could send the same amount of water that runs down the Colorado River through the middle of Flagstaff. A draft version of the study was finished earlier this year and modeled the impacts of a 100-year storm on the Rio de Flag if it followed a large wildfire. Storms of such size are rare. A 100-year storm has a 1% chance of occurring every year, and the chances of one happening after a large wildfire is even less likely. But Flood District Director Lucinda Andreani said it is important to model as the flood district develops a forest restoration plan, identifying high impact sections of the forest that the district may want to target for restoration efforts in the future.
Arizona Daily Sun

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Report: Oregon Wildfire Costs ’Will Exceed Tens of Billions’ Over 20 Years

The cost of fighting and recovering from wildfires in Oregon will rise beyond the tens of billions of dollars over roughly the next two decades, a new report from the Governor's Council on Wildfire Response found. While direct firefighting costs in a "high-fire" season rise above $500 million, the report found that related costs — like the resulting impact of smoke and fire on tourism and other industries, plus the recovery costs for areas damaged in the fires — are about 11 times greater, on average. As a result, a single year of particularly active wildfires can cost the state several billion dollars, the report found. “The devastation left in the wake of recent wildfires across the west is yet another alarming reminder of how this generation and the next will bear the costs of climate change — in lost dollars, homes, and lives," Governor Kate Brown said in a statement.
KDRV-TV ABC 12 Medford

Nevada Hopes to Become a Model for Combating Wildfires in the West

Nevada’s political leadership is continuing to develop measures to combat the increasing threats posed by wildfires across the American West and in the Silver State. A committee of state lawmakers will begin meeting next year to discuss the effect wildfires have on Nevada, and to develop ideas for legislation to introduce in the 2021 session. In the meantime, U.S. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., continues to draw attention to the issue. She hosted a summit in August in Reno to discuss strategies to fight wildfires, and she continues to seek out additional federal funding to help in the aftermath of the blazes. She said she thought Nevada could be a leader in fire prevention efforts.
Government Technology

Kansas: National Guard uses new firefighting techniques, training to fight Cherry Creek Fire

After two days of battling grass fires, Cheyenne County Emergency Management says crews have contained or controlled all the fires in the area. The flames sparked along U.S. 36 near the City of St. Francis Saturday leading to some voluntary evacuations. Sunday the governor issued a verbal disaster declaration for what they're calling the Cherry Creek Fire. The Kansas National Guard sent in two Black Hawk helicopters and the Kansas Forest Service sent in an air tanker plane to help fight the flames from the air. KAKE News Investigates first told you last September how The National Guard is employing new fire fighting techniques and equipment it spent the last two years developing and this summer perfecting to better help in situations like these. "Each year we get a little bit better with it," Gen. Lee Tafanelli, Adjutant General with the Kansas National Guard, said then.

3D interactive: How to protect your home to survive a wildfire in California

The fast winds, stray embers and ample trees that helped fuel 2018’s Camp Fire created what can appear to be a random path of destruction in Paradise, Northern California. But some homeowners benefited from one important factor that had nothing to do with the fire itself: The year their homes were built. A McClatchy analysis of fire data showed that homes built before California’s 2008 landmark building code burned at a much greater frequency than those built after. Slightly more than half of the 350 single-family homes built in compliance with the mandated fire-resistant roofs, siding and other safeguards in the fire’s path were undamaged. In comparison, only 18 percent of the 12,100 homes built prior to 2008 escaped damage.
The Sacramento Bee - Metered Site

Utah fifth grader’s grand-prize poster drives home Smokey Bear’s timely message: ‘Only you can prevent wildfire’

Penny Atkinson, a fifth-grader at Howard R. Driggs Elementary School, was honored by the Granite School District Board of Education Tuesday as the national winner of the National Garden Clubs, Inc. poster contest. Atkinson, who entered the contest as a fourth grader, won the grand prize for her original artwork of Smokey Bear, besting students across the country. “Penny may be small in stature but she is an amazing person,” said Principal Ben Peters. Each year, children from first through fifth grade are invited to participate in the National Garden Clubs, Inc. poster contest. The U.S. Forest Service and the National Garden Clubs, Inc. give students the opportunity to demonstrate their understanding of wildfire prevention and environmental conservation by creating original drawings of Smokey Bear or Woodsy Owl.
Deseret News

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