Wildland Fire News
CHANGE STATE

Friday, January 27, 2023

‘Edge to Edge’ project in Nevada aims to help communities better handle wildfires, other natural disasters


A newly launched interdisciplinary project headed up by the College of Engineering aims to collaborate with local organizations, and eventually citizen scientists, to study environmental conditions. Data gathered through the project called Elements: Innovating for Edge-to-Edge Climate Services can help communities better handle wildfires and other natural hazards. Computer Science & Engineering Professor Sergiu Dascalu leads the project, which involves installing temperature, snow and soil sensors in populated and wildland areas in the Tahoe Basin. The sensors will connect to new secure gateways on the existing Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) NevadaNet data network and in partnership with the Nevada Seismological Laboratory’s (NSL) science network and regional ALERTWildfire fire camera system.
Nevada Today

Crews in South Texas on high alert for potential grass fires


Firefighters in Brooks County are on high alert for potential grass fires after hundreds of thousands of acres burned in their area last year, causing some people in Falfurrias to lose their homes. Falfurrias fire Chief Rubén Ramírez said his department is doing all he can to prevent a massive fire from breaking out again. “Right now, it's a big concern,” Ramirez said. “Every year we're getting more and more acres burned, more money spent, more resources needed. So it's definitely a big concern this year." Earlier this week, Brooks County firefighters had to battle two different blazes.
KRGV-TV ABC 5 Weslaco

Burning brush to prevent fires in Central Florida


The Econ River Wilderness Area closes Monday. Seminole County said it will be closed for about two weeks as crews work to prepare for prescribed burns. During an interview on Talk to Tom, Allegra Buyer, the Natural Resources Program Coordinator for Seminole County said there are two main reasons for prescribed burns. She said the first is to prevent catastrophic wildfires. “If all this burned right now the flame heights would be very high and it would be very hard to control and it would be very hard for firefighters to come in and stop it,” Buyer said. But, once crews cut down some of the brush she said crews will be prepared even if lighting did strike. “We can bring in firetrucks very easily and put up enough water on the fire to control it quickly,” Buyer said.
WKMG-TV CBS 6 Orlando


Thursday, January 26, 2023

AI could be used to detect wildfires in Colorado


A year after the most destructive wildfire in the state's history scorched nearly 1,100 homes, Colorado lawmakers are considering joining other Western states by adopting artificial intelligence in hopes of detecting blazes before they burn out of control. A proposal that legislators will discuss in a hearing Thursday would create a $2 million pilot program to mount cameras on mountaintops in high-risk locations. An artificial intelligence program developed by a private company would analyze the images and sounds from cameras with 10-mile (about 16-kilometer) radiuses in hopes of detecting something that could signal the start of a blaze. It is part of an ongoing effort by firefighters to use new technology to become smarter in how they prepare and better position their resources.
KUSA-TV NBC 9 Denver

2022 fire season in Southern Oregon and Northern California lighter than feared, but 2023 challenges loom


Fire chiefs from around the West Coast gathered Wednesday to reflect on the 2022 fire season and look ahead to the dangers presented in 2023. Last year, Southern Oregon and Northern California were spared the worst. Officials say additional rainfall as a result of La Nina helped keep wildfires to a minimum in the Northwest. "There are complex variables that all impact what the fire weather situation looks like and we try to distill it down to something understandable. It's very useful data not just for fire service professionals to prepare for the upcoming fire season but also for our communities," Western Fire Chiefs Association Interim Deputy Director Bob Horton said. One factor fire officials say helped is the loosening of COVID restrictions. They say those restrictions led to many people trying to get out to the mountains and wilderness areas for recreation, and thus a lot more accidental fires.
KTVL-TV CBS 10 Medford

Montana PBS to air historical smokejumper film ‘Higgins Ridge’


Smokejumpers who survived a “gobbler” of a wildfire in 1961 will recount their harrowing experience in an upcoming film on Montana PBS. “Higgins Ridge,” named for location of the fire in Idaho’s Selway Bitterroot Wilderness, will air Monday, Jan. 30, at 8 p.m. In the film, 12 of the 20 smokejumpers who jumped onto Higgins Ridge on Aug. 4, 1961, share the story of how the fire surrounded them, forcing them to shelter in place. About three hours later, helicopter pilot Rod Snider managed to land on the ridge in smoke and wind and shuttle the smokejumpers to safety. Snider, now 92 years old, is featured in the documentary along with many of his original photos taken in 1961. “This is a story that, for 60 years, never was shared beyond a few smokejumper circles,” producer Breanna McCabe said.
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