Wildland Fire News

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Wildfire risk to be ‘very high’ to ‘extreme’ in Michigan over holiday weekend, U.S. Forest Service warns

The risk of wildfires will be high over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and officials are concerned about abandoned campfires sparking them. U.S. Forest Service officials held an event today in the Cadillac/Manistee Ranger District of the national forest, which includes Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness Area and Lake Michigan Recreation Area, to alert recreationalists to the increased fire danger this weekend. Officials also encouraged visitors to follow the “Leave No Trace” principles, which includes tips on fire safety. Abandoned campfires are a big concern this weekend as forest fire danger levels are expected to reach “very high” or even “extreme” amid hot, dry weather, said Wildfire Prevention and Mitigation Education Specialist D-A Brabazon. Nordhouse Dunes is a popular destination for rustic camping, hiking and other recreational activities, USFS Recreation Technician Mike Trewartha said.

Arizona wildfires: Bighorn Fire at 118,000 acres, 54% containment as others wrap up

Fire crews were working to suppress wildfires' last remaining hot spots around the Phoenix area Wednesday, while other major wildfires continued to burn across Arizona. The Avondale Fire that started west of Phoenix on June 26 was completely contained Wednesday morning after burning more than 800 acres, state forestry officials said. Meanwhile, fire crews worked to increase containment past 98% on the nearly 200,000-acre Bush Fire northeast of Mesa. Evacuations for both fires had been lifted. Other major wildfires continued to burn in the Santa Catalina Mountains, on the Navajo Nation and north of the Grand Canyon. Fire officials did not have an update on the Bush Fire as of Wednesday morning, but said Tuesday the fire had burned 193,455 acres in the Tonto National Forest and remained at 98% containment.
Arizona Republic, AZCentral.com & KPNX-TV NBC 12 Phoenix

Feds ban metal target shooting on public lands in Oregon, Washington through summer

In hopes of reducing the chance of wildfires, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has added metal targets to a list of banned materials on public lands throughout the summer. BLM land is a popular choice for recreational shooting, and that activity is largely allowed with a few restrictions. Fireworks, exploding targets, and tracers or other incendiary devices are already banned during the summer months on public lands. The new prohibition on metal targets stretches from now through the month of October. “We need everyone to take an active role in preventing human-caused wildfires this year since the Pacific Northwest is predicted to have an extremely dry summer. To prevent these fires, we all have to follow these prohibitions,” said Barry Bushue, State Director for BLM Oregon and Washington.
KDRV-TV ABC 12 Medford

California’s PG&E emerges from bankruptcy, plans to repay victims with wildfire fund

Weeks after pleading guilty in court to 84 involuntary manslaughter charges for starting a wildfire that wiped out the town of Paradise, Pacific Gas and Electric Company announced Wednesday that the utility company is emerging out of bankruptcy with a plan on how it will repay 2017 and 2018 wildfire survivors. PG&E filed Bankruptcy in Jan. 2019 months after its equipment caused the Camp Fire in 2018, the deadliest and most destructive wildland fire in California history. PG&E coming out of bankruptcy will allow the utility company to pay $25.5 billion for losses from wildfires in 2017 and 2018. The settlements include $13.5 billion earmarked for more than 80,000 wildfire survivors. Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a law to create a wildfire fund of up to $21 billion to pay wildfire victims. Half the money comes from customers, while utility companies have the option to front another $10.5 billion.
KXTV-TV ABC 10 Sacramento

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Fire crews battling Arizona’s Bighorn Fire honor Granite Mountain Hotshots

The crews battling the Bighorn Fire near Tucson will pause their efforts briefly on Tuesday, June 30, to commemorate 19 wildland firefighters who were killed during a fire seven years ago. The crews will observe a moment of silence at 4:42 p.m., marking the time of day the Granite Mountain Hotshots died while battling the Yarnell Hill Fire, northwest of Phoenix. Also on Tuesday, Gov. Doug Ducey ordered the state’s flags flown at half-staff in honor of those who lost their lives on this day in 2013. The hotshots were overcome after a change in wind direction pushed the flames back toward their position. Ducey called it one of the most tragic days in state history. “The brave Yarnell 19 had their whole lives ahead of them,” Ducey said. “They had families, loved ones and friends who cared deeply about them.
KOLD-TV CBS 13 Tucson

Related: Examining the “Wildland Firefighter Week of Remembrance”

This is the “Wildland Firefighter Week of Remembrance”. On this date, June 30, in 2013, 19 granite mountain firefighters were lost in the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona. 34 wildland firefighters were killed in the line of duty that fire season. On July 6 in 1994, 14 firefighters died on Storm King Mountain in Colorado. 35 wildland firefighters died that year. The main focus for this week of remembrance is so that future wildland firefighters learn from those who served before them. This week is intended as an opportunity to renew the commitment to the health, wellness, and safety of wildland firefighters.
KNBN-TV NBC 1 Rapid City

Wildfires damaging Texas Volunteer Fire Departments equipment around the Big Country

Fire chiefs in the Big Country said they've been busy this month battling wildfires. "Usually it starts in July, but this year it started in June and it's been very hectic," said Eula Fire Chief Charlie Dawson. Dawson, with the Eula Volunteer Fire Department, said a wildfire in Callahan County on the 18th damaged four of his trucks, which were in service the next day. "In this situation, it was dark and heavy smoke and couldn't see what you were hitting, running over fences, trees, boulders and just fighting the terrain," said Dawson. The same fire damaged a brush truck with the Clyde Volunteer Fire Department, which is still out of service.
KTXS-TV ABC 12 Abilene

Remembering 4 airmen killed fighting South Dakota wildfire

It was eight years ago, on this date, that four North Carolina Air National Guard airmen were killed when their C-130 crashed near Edgemont. The C-130, equipped with an airborne firefighting system, was on a retardant run over the White Draw Fire when a microburst caused it to crash. Killed were the pilots, Lt. Col. Paul K. Mikeal and Maj. Joseph M. McCormick; navigator, Maj. Ryan S. David; and flight engineer, SMSgt. Robert S. Cannon. Two other airmen were injured. The Air Force report on the crash stated a thunderstorm created the microburst of turbulent air that caused the air tanker to crash. During a previous retardant drop, the C-130 lost airspeed despite being at full power. Before the second drop, the crew discussed this issue but decided they could adjust; however, the plane crashed soon after.
KOTA-TV ABC 3 Rapid City

Steady rain will delay onset of Western Montana wildfire season

The very wet late June storm system that has dropped several inches of rain on the valleys and mountains of west-central and southwest Montana over the last two days will have an impact on the summer fire season. Up until Sunday, much of the area had received only about 25% of the monthly average for precipitation, and forest fuels -- those sticks, logs, and other debris in the forest -- were drying up fast. But two days of steady rainfall -- along with areas of high elevation snow -- have given the area a two-week reset, meaning the earliest wildland fires might be an issue won’t be until late July. In addition, the next two weeks bring very little chance of hot temperatures to the region. The end result for the Northern Rockies Coordination Center is an adjustment in the forecast for July, but no change for later this summer.
KPAX-TV CBS/CW+ 8 Missoula

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