Wildland Fire News

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Infrastructure bill carves out boosts to first responders, wildland firefighters

Technology upgrades for 911 call centers, firefighter wage increases and updates to roadside safety precautions are just some of the provisions in the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill that would boost funding and support for a host of first responders on the job around the country. One of the largest expenses in the $1 trillion bill would be $600 million geared in part toward the salaries and expenses of federal wildland firefighters. The bill would also direct the departments of Agriculture and Interior to convert at least 1,000 seasonal wildland firefighter jobs to full-time, permanent and year-round federal employment as well as develop and implement mitigation strategies that would help firefighters reduce their exposure to environmental hazards. Those administration department heads would also be in charge of establishing programs that help firefighter personnel address mental health needs including post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Hill

Western Montana wildfire season not over yet

Despite the wet, cool weather, fire officials in Missoula County say the fire season is not over with. The Missoula County Fire Protection Association (MCFPA) reports there were eight human-caused wildfires in the county over the past week because of abandoned campfires, illegal debris burning, and careless sparks. They say firefighters have been working long hours, running from one side of the county to the other because of human carelessness. The fire danger in the Missoula area remains at "Moderate" despite the chilly mornings and periods of rain or snow. Additionally, the area is still under severe drought and the precipitation received so far has not been widespread. “Even though the rain is bringing a much-needed reprieve from the current dry conditions, long term drought conditions remain in effect. Recreationists need to be cognizant of where they have a fire, especially if utilizing the canopy of a large tree.

Colorado’s Rocky Mountain National Park deters future wildfires with pile burn operations

As winter arrives in Rocky Mountain National Park, fire managers are taking advantage of the wet winter weather conditions to burn piles of slash. The downed vegetation, known as slash, has been generated from fuel reduction projects and hazardous tree removal. After two years of being cut and piled, the slash is now dry enough to burn. Pile burning operations from fire managers at RMNP made a significant impact in fighting the East Troublesome Fire in 2020. “Prior hazard fuels projects aided considerably in stopping the fire from jumping Bear Lake Road and Trail Ridge Road. Years of hazardous fuels reduction projects and bark beetle tree removal on the west side were instrumental in the successful burnout operations around the town of Grand Lake and helped minimize structure loss in the main park housing area,” said RMNP Public Affairs Officer Kyle Patterson in a press release.
KDVR-TV FOX 31 Denver

New Bond will finance $25 million of restoration to reduce wildfire risk on the Tahoe National Forest in California

World Resources Institute, Blue Forest Conservation, National Forest Foundation, U.S. Forest Service, Yuba Water Agency and the North Yuba Forest Partnership are pleased to announce the launch of the second Forest Resilience Bond (FRB): the Yuba II FRB. The new FRB on the Tahoe National Forest will finance $25 million in forest resilience and post-fire restoration projects in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains to restore 48,000 forested acres, protect nearby communities, and enhance water security. The announcement is timely given the world’s focus on nature and climate at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow and the attention on recovery efforts underway following the devastating wildfire seasons of recent years. The 2021 Dixie fire, the single largest wildfire in California history, burned nearly 1 million acres and cost over $610 million to suppress.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Minnesota experiences most wildfires in recent record

The state of Minnesota experienced an extra hot and dry summer, leading to one of the most active wildfire seasons in recent history. The Minnesota Department of Public Safety says this summer, it responded to 17 wildfires between March and October 2021. The most notable fire was the Greenwood Fire in northeastern, MN, which forced evacuations and briefly closed the Boundary Waters. Humans were the main cause of most fires in the state and across the nation, with 90 percent of wildfires caused by people. The DPS says wildfires can be caused by: Parking vehicles on vegetation, such as grass. Burning debris, such as trash or leaves. Using mowing or other equipment improperly. Poorly maintaining tires and chains, which can spark vegetation fires along roadways. Improperly disposing of cigarettes, such as tossing them from a moving car into a ditch.
Valley News Live

2021 brings wildfire relief to Colorado, so far

Colorado’s wildfire season has remained relatively quiet compared to 2020 thanks to more moisture and fewer wind events, according to experts. The three largest wildfires in state history happened in 2020, and nine of the top 20 largest wildfires happened in the last three years. “What really catalyzed the big fires or the big spread days we had last year were the big wind events. We haven’t really had as windy of a fall this year,” said Camille Stevens-Rumann, assistant professor at Colorado State University. Stevens-Rumann is a fire ecology faculty member, focused on studying how wildfires burn and how ecosystems recover after a fire. She said just a little more moisture in a given year can dramatically reduce the wildfire risk. The latest data from the U.S. Drought Monitor show 13.63% of the state is under extreme drought, compared to 77.72% one year ago.
KDVR-TV FOX 31 Denver

Early Sierra snow welcome sign after California wildfire season

The weekend storm blanketed the Sierra with up to three feet of fresh snow Monday, prompting many people to begin planning for ski trips and bringing business to Bay Area ski shops. The early snow was a welcome sign for Sierra ski resorts after the wildfire season that saw the Caldor Fire fully contained only one week ago. "Ski resorts from Sugarloaf to Mount Rose to Squaw Valley and Mammoth Mountain are reporting, up to 48 inches in the last 24 hours, so it's the perfect setup," said Kevin Cooper, of Outside TV, Lake Tahoe Television. Palisades Tahoe staff said more than three feet of snow fell on the upper mountain by Monday morning, as they prepare to open Nov. 24. Alpine Meadows got two feet of snow at its base area. South of Lake Tahoe, Heavenly ski resort got more than two feet of snow as they prepare for a November 19th opening.
KTVU-TV FOX 2 Oakland

Understanding the towering ‘fire clouds’ over forest blazes in New Mexico

PHOTOS: Across Northern New Mexico, it’s been a hazy summer and early fall for all to see — and smell. Much of that smoke was blown here by winds from the Bootleg Fire, which raged across south-central Oregon, and the Dixie Fire, which scorched Northern California. As these blazes obliterated hundreds of thousands of acres of forest, the roiling flames launched massive smoke plumes high into the atmosphere. Typically, the smoke has been lofted to a few miles above ground, and then picked up and carried by wind currents across the country, much like weather fronts that carry moisture and bring rain to blanket New York City and the eastern seaboard in a thick haze. But the Bootleg Fire also sent up a towering vertical plume lofting smoke to a record-breaking 10 miles. Intensely hot fires from dense fuels, local weather conditions and dry surface and high-altitude atmospheric clouds conspired to cause the plume to rise far above ordinary clouds.
Santa Fe New Mexican

Number of wildfires decreases this season in Maine

Wildfire season is nearing its end, and the amount of wildfires in the state has decreased compared to last year. “The amount of fires that we had this year was a little bit above average, but the amount of acres that we burned was lower than average, and certainly a lot less than last year,” said Kent Nelson, forest ranger specialist for the Maine Forest Service. According to Nelson, there have been 633 fires causing 376 acres to burn so far this year. “We really started off with a busy fire season. In early March, we started getting fires, and then through April and May and June, and we had that drought in June,” Nelson said. “Then in July, we got a lot of rain, so it really put a damper on things, which is good.” Director of the Maine Forest Service Patty Cormier said weather conditions in the state can change quickly, which could impact the likelihood of a fire. “The trees have lost their leaves for the most part, and that can add to the fuel as they dry out,” Cormier said.
WFVX-TV ABC 7 Bangor

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