Wildland Fire News

Monday, September 23, 2019

Colorado’s Decker Fire still uncontained, has burned 937 acres

A wildfire burning south of Salida is approaching 1,000 acres since it started Sept. 8. Officials with the Decker Fire say the blaze is now 937 acres after growing by nearly 40 acres Saturday. There is no containment. The fire is not threatening structures and there have been no evacuations, but the smoke has been severe at times. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued an air quality health advisory on Sept. 14 for northwestern Fremont County, southeastern Chaffee County and northeastern Saguache County. Officials say the fire may be visible from highways 50 and 285. The fire is burning 9 miles south of Salida, with 293 acres burning in the San Isabel National Forest and the other 634 acres burning in the Rio Grande National Forest. It was started by lightning. Officials say the fire is doing some good: parts of the Sangre de Cristo Wilderness have up to 80 percent tree mortality from beetle-kill and blowdown.
KKTV CBS 11 News

Brush Creek Fire in Wyoming at 330 acres, 65% containment

The Brush Creek Fire south of Brumley Mountain on the west side of Old Fetterman Road is at 330 acres and 65% containment. The fire is located 30 miles southwest of Douglas in Albany County in rough terrain with scattered timber, brush and grass. There are 93 personnel assigned to the Brush Creek Fire, including personnel from five Wyoming counties, Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service, South Dakota Department of Wildland Fire, Wyoming Smokebusters and Wyoming State Forestry Division. There are two fire crews and nine engines. A slight chance of thunderstorms was in the forecast for Friday. Gusty winds were expected to be possible near thunderstorms. The relative humidity was forecast to remain above critical conditions. There are currently no closures or evacuations for the Brush Creek Fire.
Wyoming News

Firefighters monitoring wildfire in Alabama for days

Wildfires are sparking up in Sand Mountain because of the dry conditions. "The chances of having a destructive fire is really high," forestry specialist Jeff Keener said. Keener is with the Alabama Forestry Commission in DeKalb County. He says they've seen 20 wildfires just this month. "Every day we go through without rain, it gets drier and drier," he explained. Close to 450 acres have burned in the county. The majority of those acres burned in the last 3 days. On Thursday, firefighters were able to control a fire in Mentone at 76 acres, but the high winds and dry conditions caused the fire to break from its containment lines. It then burned more than 300 acres before crews were able to get it back under control. "If it breaks the lines again, this fire can grow even larger, but we're hoping right now we can hold it," Keener said. "The possibility of any fire, not just this one, any fire breaking out of containment lines or us losing complete control of it is very high."

Arizona’s Johnson Fire forces 1,000 Prescott-area residents from their homes

Summer did not end quietly for hundreds of people who live south of Prescott. A wildfire broke out on national forest land on the last full day of the season, leading Yavapai County officials to order a mandatory evacuation. Smoke was spotted shortly after two Sunday afternoon, near Lookout Mountain about eight miles south of Prescott. By late afternoon the Prescott National Forest said the Johnson Fire was burning in about 200 acres of brush and pinyon pine. Later the Yavapai County Sheriff's office issued a "code red" alert, ordering mandatory evacuation for about 1,000 people who live near the fire area The American Red Cross set up a shelter at Prescott High School, and a local nonprofit called Animal Disaster Services offered shelter space for household pets.
Arizona Public Media

Friday, September 20, 2019

Oppressed By Wildfire: Homeless People Left Out Of Federal Disaster Aid Programs

When a major wildfire burns into an urban area, federal disaster officials are quick to offer financial help to people who lose their homes. But not everyone is eligible for aid after a wildfire. In fact, if you don’t have a home address, there’s a good chance you can’t even get into a shelter. It turns out the Federal Emergency Management Administration doesn’t provide disaster aid to people who were homeless prior to a disaster. “Unless people are made homeless by a declared disaster, assistance for pre-disaster homelessness does not fall within the rules, policies, and guidance for eligibility to receive Stafford Act assistance,” a FEMA spokesperson wrote in an email to JPR. The Stafford Act is a federal law outlining how federal natural disaster aid can be spent.
Jefferson Public Radio

Building For Wildfire Summit In Montana Explores How To Protect Homes, Communities

Two trends are converging in large wildland states like Montana — more frequent and severe wildfires and rapid home development in wildfire prone areas. A conference this week examined how homes burn and how to protect them. Kelly Pohl is with Headwaters Economics, a non-profit research organization based in Bozeman. The group hosted the Building for Wildfire Summit in Big Sky this week along with the Big Sky Fire Department. "We know that wildfires are becoming more intense, larger and lasting longer in our state, and the data backed this up. Wildfires have gotten bigger since the 1970s. The average acres burned per year is now about triple what it was a few decades ago," Pohl says. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the wildfire season is also about three months longer due to a warming climate.
Montana Public Radio

U.S. Forest Service special agent in Colorado provides look inside wildfire investigations

Firefighters and other emergency workers, along with residents and visitors to the county, have been enjoying a fire free season in Summit so far this year. It wasn’t too long ago that crews were lined up along firebreaks just outside Silverthorne to combat the Buffalo Mountain Fire, hoping to stop the blaze before it burned its way through the Mesa Cortina and Wildernest neighborhoods. A year earlier in 2017, helicopters were flying over Breckenridge and dumping buckets of water to halt the advance of the Peak 2 Fire as it made its way up the mountain. Thousands of structures were threatened, and relatively widespread evacuations were ordered in Silverthorne and Breckenridge as a result of the fires. But more than a year since the last flames were doused, officials still aren’t sure how exactly the fires started, or by who.
Vail Daily News

Scientist in California a leader in new wildfire research

Research being conducted in Monterey could unlock secrets about the effects massive wildfires have on everything from climate to high altitude pollution. Dave Peterson, a meteorologist and atmospheric scientist with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, just returned to Monterey from a major endeavor involving hundreds of scientists and computer modeling experts where he led a team of fire and weather forecasters. The research venture, called the NASA/NOAA Field Campaign FIREX-AQ, studied a phenomenon that occurs in several wildfires that can affect everything from firefighting efforts to climate conditions. Firefighters involved in the 2013 Rim Fire near Yosemite and the 2018 Carr Fire outside of Redding have described the blazes as having created their own weather. Thunderstorms to be exact. When the conditions are right, such as the level of heat present and the amount of moisture in the air, these fires produce what Peterson calls massive pyrocumulonimbus clouds or pyroCbs.
Monterey County Herald

Kansas National Guard training to better help local agencies during wildfires

This week dozens of Kansas Air and Army National Guardsmen and woman go through training. Fifty-three ground, 12 air and six water tender guards, have their hands tied this week, preparing themselves for fighting wildland fires. “This came about after the 2016-2017 major wildland fires that we had, the Anderson Creek fire and also the Starbuck wildfire,” said LTC Larry Leupold, director of military support for the Kansas National Guard. The Kansas National Guard wants to better assist local agencies when major wildland fires break out. “Anytime we have a big fire, our local fire departments have limited resources,” said Leupold. “So, anytime the National Guard and our interagency partners can bring additional resources, it really helps get after the fire and get it under control quickly.”
KSNW-TV NBC 3 Wichita

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