Wildland Fire News

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Man dies from burn injuries sustained in Bowers Fire in Arizona

VIDEO: A man has died after suffering serious burn injuries in the Bowers Fire, which officials said appears to be human-caused. The Cochise County Sheriff’s Office said 81-year-old Neil Edward Hesse died Tuesday from serious burn and smoke injuries. Around 6 p.m. Monday, authorities were called to a fire and multiple explosions, determined to be propane tanks, on a property at Sanders and Bowers roads in the Whetstone area. The sheriff’s office said an initial investigation shows Hesse, who owned the home, and his 52-year-old son were using a grinder at the residence Monday night when sparks caused a brush fire. Both men attempted to contain the fire and received serious injuries while doing so. They were hospitalized in Tucson, where Hesse later died.
KTVK-TV CBS 3 & KPHO-TV CBS 5 Phoenix (AZ Family)

County in Montana preparing assets, bracing for active fire season

With snowpack running well behind the seasonal average, Missoula County is racing to gather its resources ahead of what's anticipated to be an active wildfire season. On Tuesday, county officials reviewed seasonal snowfall averages, going back to 2016 and 2017, the latter being one of the busiest and most expensive fire seasons in recent memory. In 2016, the December snowpack rang in at 124%. But in December of 2023, the snowpack total was only 37%. Barring a barrage of spring snow, it could indicate what's expected this summer in terms of fire. “Those kinds of numbers do concern us, because so much of our taxpayers and districts are in the urban interface,” said Kirk Paulsen with the Missoula Rural Fire District. “If we can identify the number of people we need on scene as quickly as possible, we can hopefully put a good stop on anything that happens.”
Missoula Current

Firefighting archaeologists are protecting Colorado’s historical sites from wildfires

On an afternoon last summer, Brian Flynn sat on his back porch after work. As he drank a beer, he noticed a column of smoke rise above Grand Mesa. Despite all of the intel gathered during his workday that the Spring Creek Fire was extinguished, the plume suggested his mission had changed. The next day, the wind pushed the fire toward a part of the plateau south of Parachute, where he knew Ute artifacts were scattered. Flynn and his team rushed to defend them, thinning the forest surrounding a wickiup, a dwelling made of sticks and brush, to provide a fire break. In the end, the wickiup was saved but the team could not make it to another Ute campsite in time. The fire burned through the site, exposing stone tools and a hearth to erosion. Flynn isn’t just a firefighter — he’s one of three fire and fuels archaeologists for the Bureau of Land Management in Colorado.
Colorado Sun - Metered Site

Officials in Minnesota investigating ’unusual number’ of wildfires believed to be intentional

Authorities southwest of the metro are trying to figure out if someone is intentionally starting wildfires. The Brown County Sheriff's Office says fire crews responded to 16 wildfires between March 1 and April 22. Over the same period of time last year, there was just one fire call. The year before that, there were two. An "unusual number" of fires occurred on or near Conservation Reserve Program land, Wildlife Management Areas and other naturally vegetated land, according to the sheriff's office. Of the 16 fires, five of them were between Comfrey and Highway 4 in Mulligan Township. Authorities say there does not appear to be a specific pattern regarding the fires. Anyone with information is encouraged to call the sheriff's office.
WCCO-TV CBS 4 Minneapolis

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

15 years since Highway 31 Fire raged through 19,000+ acres in South Carolina

VIDEO/PHOTOS: Monday marked 15 years since the massive and destructive wildfire on Highway 31 that consumed more than 19,000 acres. The South Carolina Forestry Commission said it was the most destructive wildfire in South Carolina history and was started by an escaped debris burn near Myrtle Beach. The blaze, known as the Highway 31 Fire, destroyed 76 homes, damaged another 97 and forced the evacuation of more than 4,000 residents. The South Carolina Forestry Commission urges all citizens to exercise vigilance when conducting outdoor burning of any kind and always heed weather, wind and burning advisories.
WPDE-TV ABC/CW 15 Florence

Evacuation order to remain in place for Bowers Fire in Arizona

VIDEOS: The Whetstone Fire Department released new information about the Bowers Fire in Whetstone that caused evacuations near Sanders and Bowers roads late Monday, April 22. Whetstone Fire Chief Sam Foster says the 20 acre fire has destroyed three houses and several outbuildings so far. He said two people have been hurt. One person suffered smoke inhalation and the other suffered burns. Both victims were trying to save their homes. Whetstone Fire says the Bowers Fire is about 20% contained as of this morning and crews from several agencies will continue fire suppression efforts today. The fire chief says the Bowers Fire got out of control Monday night due to strong winds and the amount of fuel such as high grass and cottonwoods. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
KOLD-TV CBS 13 Tucson

Understanding wildfire behavior and fuel types in western South Dakota

VIDEO: Wildfire season in Western South Dakota is approaching as temperatures begin to rise. To prepare, it's important to understand the differences in vegetation and how they burn across the region's distinct habitats: the Black Hills and the Western Plains. Mike Reed, District Program Manager at SD Wildland Fire, says, "In the plains area, it’s grass field type. The primary carrier there is grass, and then until you get into some of the river breaks, and we'll have some timber in there." Reed says that in the Black Hills, the primary vegetation consists of Ponderosa pine trees, with a grass or brush understory. Understory refers to the fuels on the forest floor. In the Black Hills, it's essential to manage the understory burn while preserving the canopy of trees to maintain the ecosystem's health.
KNBN-TV NBC/MyNetworkTV/YTA TV 21 Rapid City

Preparing Tomorrow’s Firefighters: The 2024 Alaska Basic Wildland Firefighter Academy

From April 21st to April 30th, 25 aspiring firefighters from across Alaska are gathered at Birchwood Camp in Chugiak for the 2024 Alaska Basic Wildland Firefighter Academy. Cadets are pushed to their limits, both physically and mentally. Through teamwork, discipline, and unwavering determination, they learn to overcome obstacles, persevere in the face of adversity, and emerge as stronger, more confident wildland firefighters. The Alaska Basic Wildland Firefighter Academy is more than just a training program; it is a rite of passage. Over the course of ten intense days, cadets undergo rigorous physical training, classroom instruction, and hands-on firefighting exercises. From grasping the intricacies of firefighting tools, portable pumps, and chain saws, to gaining insight into fire behavior and safety protocols, they delve into a comprehensive curriculum crafted to lay the groundwork for their careers.
Alaska Wildland Fire Information

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