First up in wildfire news today, the North County Times reports on pivotal hearings in San Diego over wildfires sparked by power lines; and as wildfires in Texas continued to burn, EMS personnel from around San Diego County were dispatched to help out in that state. A small wildfire in Colorado was quickly extinguished by firefighters; but a debris fire scorched several acres in South Dakota. As firefighters in Michigan are coping with grass fires, advice is provided to residents of communities there; but Louisiana is feeling the budget crunch, as their department of agriculture faces a 25% cut in funding, impacting forest fire protection. With meteorologists predicting several months of dry weather ahead, firefighters in Florida are already reporting a busier-than-usual wildfire season. The United Nations weighed in on the impact on wood product providers caused by the financial crisis reducing orders, coupled with increasing threats to forests from wildfires as the climate warms. Firefighters in an Ontario, Canada, town are excited about their new six-wheel firefighting buggy that will be a big help in fighting forest fires; but five South African firefighters were injured while battling a wildfire on that region's landmark - Table Mountain. NASA provides some striking photos showing smoke plumes in the Himalayas; followed by a story about wildfires burning on the border with India that have sent thick smoke into the capital of Tibet. After a stormy first session of the royal commission looking into the Victoria bushfires, officials may be rethinking the remaining sessions (body armor, anyone?) A Member of Parliament was also disappointed that the Australian government is not commissioning a Parliamentary inquiry into the Black Saturday bushfires. Arson investigators have linked a Sydney bushfire with a 21-year-old whose jersey was found at the scene; followed by two stories of supporting players during Black Saturday: first a story of how a US Air Force C-5 Galaxy became the world's largest retardant-carrying aircraft (okay, so they just transported 52 tons of retardant from California, they didn't actually bomb the fire); the second provides some insights into veterinarians helping treat livestock injured in the bushfires. And finally, Sam the Koala, who was rescued from the bushfires, is gaining in star power, with an agent and possible book and movie deals, prompting one to ask what's next - koala groupies?
REGION: CPUC holds hearing on fire prevention rules
Emergency responders to shadow Texas firefighters
Wildfire scorches 9 acres
Fire smolders near Keystone
Fields afire across county
Forestry may lose firefighters
Relief from fires, drought proves elusive
UN: Financial Crisis Puts Pressure on World's Forests
Specialized ATV to aid rescues, firefighting in forests, ponds
S.African landmark Table Mountain ablaze
NASA MODIS Image of the Day: March 18, 2009 - Forest Fires in Nepal
Tibetan towns shrouded in heavy forest fire smoke
Angry residents attend bushfires inquiry
Fran Bailey wants bushfires inquiry
DNA leads to charges over bushfire
Airmen represent U.S. military at airshow 'down under'
Back from a bushfire 'war zone'
Australian koala now has agent, possible book and movie deals