Firebomber Publications Blog

Wildfire News Of The Day (the Firebomber Publications blog) provides comprehensive international wildfire news. Subscribers include over 10,000 personnel from fire agencies, contractors, and government entities on five continents. "BEST NEWSLETTER I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY 32 YEARS IN THE FIRE SERVICE" - San Diego Fire Department Chief Brian Fennessy.

Saturday, April 11, 2009


We lead off wildfire news with something a little different today: real-time doppler radar maps which can provide useful up-to-the-minute info on weather conditions in wildfire areas. Our first item, therefore, is a link to the network of 155 doppler radar stations called RIDGE (Radar Integrated Display with Geospatial Elements) maintained by the National Weather Service here in the US. By incorporating the data provided with a free downloadable GIS package, maps suitable for use at fires can be created. This is complemented by the US Forest Service's Wildland Fire Assessment System (the second link below), which provides a higher level map of wildfire conditions across the US. Taken together, these tools can greatly enhance the effectiveness of fire managers to prepare for and react to wildfire conditions (you can also see the pollution levels in large metropolitan areas, for those interested in whether it's going to be a smoggy day!) One other aspect being developed on this platform is the means to detect wildfire smoke plumes using doppler radar, as posited in a paper from Dr. Walter Petersen of NASA's Marshall Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama (the third link below). Anyone interested in talking to Dr. Petersen (he loves to talk about his work!) can contact him at (256) 961-7861 or

RIDGE Doppler Radar Map Link
USFS Wildland Fire Assessment System
The University Of Alabama Huntsville Thor Center Instrumentation: Research And Operational Collaboration

Moving on with the rest of the news, two NASA scientists are using satellite technology to map invasive species in the western US - remove the invasive grasses, you reduce the wildfire threat! A California non-profit is being slammed with a massive bill by the state for a wildfire started by the child of an employee. The US Forest Service plans to remove a record 25,000 acres of timber on Colorado's Pikes Peak as part of their wildfire abatement plan; wildfires in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, area were quickly addressed by firefighters there; and Michigan fire officials are warning people against assuming their wet season will trump their fire season. Weary firefighters in Oklahoma may get some relief late today as a cold front bringing rain arrives; and as with the aftermath of the bushfires in Australia, residents of the wildfire-scorched communities in Oklahoma are coming together to deal with the tragedy. But in a tragedy reminiscent of the Black Saturday bushfires in Australia, a couple was overrun in their car by fast-moving wildfires in Texas. Having learned some hard lessons in the massive grass fires of 2006, Texas firefighters were better prepared this time for the infernos that scorched that state over the past two weeks (one observer remarking 'with the wind blowing 60 miles per hour and a ten mile fire front, who would have thought it would be out in 24 hours?') As firefighters get a handle on a 5,000 acre wildfire at Fort Hood, one Texas Forest Service commentator remarked that this year's fire season will be 'one for the record books'; and, as the next article shows, with over 120,000 acres burned, who can blame him? Georgia Forestry Commission firefighters worked with Texas Forest Service to help fight the wildfires this past week. Arson investigators in India believe a wildfire in a wildlife sanctuary was deliberately set. Determined to understand every aspect of the Black Saturday bushfire tragedy, the royal commission will be hearing testimony well into next year; while debate over whether to create a Black Saturday bushfire museum is going on in political are fire circles in Australia. And finally, we sometimes forget that firefighters do more than just fight fires - Happy Easter, everyone!

NASA-Ames technology used as weapon against devastation by wildfire

SoCal nonprofit billed $2.9 million for wildfire

Fire danger brings call for action on Pikes Peak

Firefighters battle series of grass fires in metro

Wet weather won't prevent wildfire season in Michigan, officials say

Rain expected to help ease Oklahoma wildfires

Tragedy prompts kindness from Oklahoma City metro area firefighters, policemen, volunteers

Texas couple waiting for son died surrounded by wildfire

Firefighting Strategies Change After 2006 Season Lessons

Firefighters battle blaze at Fort Hood

Texas wildfire conditions ease; weather a concern

Georgia firefighters join with Texas Forest Service to save Archer County town

Miscreants may have caused forest fire in Dangs

Public hearings likely to run into 2010

Bushfire museum would help stricken communities

Firefighters extinguish cancer, hope to

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