Lots of wildfire news today, beginning with some action shots from the firelines posted on Boston.com and available through a link relayed by San Diego Deputy Chief Fennessy (including an impressive shot of the DC-10 making a drop); and for some NASA photos taken high above the wildfires by Ikhana RPVs, go to this weblink for some striking images.
In the news, two articles about the Martin Mars making a splash in Lake San Antonio, while Chubb Insurance Company's wildfire protection service saved homes in two states, underscoring the value of private firefighting organizations at a time when firefighting resources have been stretched beyond the breaking point and agencies are admitting that some fires are just being left to burn because there simply aren't enough firefighters to go around. Yet there are still success stories, like the one outside of Paradise where firefighters fought a massive fire to a standstill. Fires in eastern Washington state grew worse, causing the governor to declare a disaster area. Science is lending a hand coping with fires, both from a medical standpoint on smoke inhalation studies and some help being provided by NASA, both to map wildfires from on high and also interesting smoke data being collected in Canada.
A couple of articles relate how National Guard units are increasing their presence both on the ground and in the air over fires. Firefighters on The Basin Fire Complex are getting some relief around Big Sur (Highway 1 should reopen tonight), but are still having a hard fight of it inland. Some hopeful signs from The Gap Fire as well, with that fire 70% contained, but not until it had consumed over $15 million in suppression costs. Meanwhile, Governor Schwarzenegger is ordering up 2,000 more National Guard troops and the President is flying out to look over the fire areas next week during a season that has seen an unprecedented number of fires ignite statewide.
On the international front, worrisome news of arson arrests in Portugal after a spate of fires broke out. And last but not least, another cautionary tale, this one from Germany, underscoring the importance of checking the ID of firefighters at a fire!
Air tankers attack 200 acre fire near Collbran
Calif. National Guard joins firefighting effort
Wildfires - Schwarzenegger Doubles California National Guard Firefighting Deployment
Smoke From Wildfires Could Damage Lake Tahoe
House Bill to Help Firefighter Fuel Costs
Calmer weather slows fires in Calif., Wash.
Heat, smoke and breezes hamper firefighting efforts in Butte County
Wildfire burns 7 homes in Spokane suburb
Wildfires breach Trinity County
Wildfires threaten Carmel Valley
Water bomber back on California duty
Air tanker sets up at Lake San Antonio to battle fires
Wildfire Defense Service Saves Homes in California and Montana
Gap Fire 70 Percent Contained
Not enough crews to fight fires
Bush plans visit to survey California wildfire damage
Air support counted on to slow fire near Arroyo Seco
Gregoire declares statewide emergency in fight against wildfires
NASA declares Canadian forest fire smoke study a success
Surveillance System Detected Increased Respiratory Problems During Wildfires
NASA Responds to California Wildfire Emergency Imaging Request
Firefighters halt flames outside Butte County town
Country reports first large forest fire of the year
Drunk infiltrates team of firefighters