First up in wildfire news today, Tom Lewis, Director of Development at Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI), sent along the following information about an important webinar CFSI is hosting, starting at 2:00 PM EDT tomorrow: "In an effort to better educate Congress about the needs of the fire service, and to keep the fire service informed on activities in our nation's capital, we are proud to launch the CFSI Webinar Series. Each month CFSI will host a webinar featuring members of Congress, Congressional staff, federal officials, or fire service leaders discussing the pertinent national issues affecting the fire and emergency services. Please join us for our inaugural webinar. Moderated by Bill Webb, CFSI Executive Director, the program will feature Tom Harbour, Director of Fire and Aviation, U.S Forest Service, who will discuss the increasing challenges of reducing the threat of fire in the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI). Harbour will share his thoughts on how the development in WUI regions is imposing greater challenges on both federal and local fire suppression efforts and on the types of sweeping changes needed to address this growing problem. To register for this webinar please email Mike Alderfer at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please RSVP by April 29, 2009."
Elsewhere in wildfire news, the Los Padres National Forest supervisor tries to clear the air about misunderstandings over the change of status of the air-tanker base at Santa Maria; and a 200 acre wildfire in Riverside County was quickly roped in by firefighters yesterday. With memories of the raging wildfires last summer still fresh in their minds, residents of a California community are having a golf tournament and benefit to fund firefighting efforts. Firefighters in Spokane, Washington, are trying out ruggedized laptop computers for better communications and coordination with headquarters and each other during incidents, both structural and wildland. With estimates of millions of dollars worth of damage to cattlemen's' property, the bills from the Texas wildfires of a few weeks ago are being tallied up; while wildfires continue to burn in Kentucky, one in Perry County nearing the 1,000 acre mark. Some details about the ongoing wildfires in Tennessee are provided in the next article; and Massachusetts firefighters had their first couple of wildfires of the season. With a little help from the weather, firefighters battling a blaze in Ohio's Shawnee State Forest were able to nearly contain the blaze after it burned several square miles of forest. A wildfire in New Jersey caused some delays in train transit as it burned near rail lines; and a 100-acre blaze was engaged by firefighters in that state Tuesday. With fire danger 'through the roof', West Virginia fire officials are hoping an oncoming rain front will dampen the danger, if however briefly; and activity by firefighting's elite 'Hotshot' teams on the fireline in Florida is recounted in the next item. As the wildfire in China's Heilongjiang Province continues to burn, firefighters on the line now number over 3,000 and 1,800 residents have been evacuated; and, in light of the ongoing wildfires in the northeast, the Chinese Vice Premier urged caution and preventative measures throughout the region. Fire agencies in the Mount Abu district in India responded to a forest fire there, which included a significant military involvement; while a small wildfire burned near a highway in the island nation of Brunei. The Prime Minister of Australia's northern neighbor, Papua New Guinea, toured Victoria's Integrated Emergency Coordination Centre in Melbourne. Residents of one region in Victoria state have been advised that officials are reconsidering their bushfire policy, considering what happened on Black Saturday; but the Australian Red Cross and other relief agencies are hard-pressed to get bushfire relief funds to those in need quickly. And finally, we've heard of The Battle Of The Bands between competing rock-and-roll bands, but Williamsburg, Virginia, had a Battle Of The Firefighting Fundraisers!
Forest Service ready for fires
Wildfire Burns 200 Acres in Winchester
Golf tournament to benefit lookout, firefighters fund
Spokane Fire Department Deploys GD-Itronix Notebooks
Wildfires destroy about $10 million in fencing
900 Acre Forest Fire In Perry County
Crews working to contain Laurel Falls wildfire in Smokies
Brush fires keep firefighters busy
Weather helps to slow forest fire
Firefighters contain NJ fire that delayed trains
Ocean Co. Forest Fire Kept Under Control
Wildfires fueled by dry spell, heat, high winds
'Hotshots' help hose down Collier County fire's hot spots
One dead, 4 injured in NE China forest fire
Chinese vice premier calls for fire prevention measures
Foresters fight fire in Abu
Massive Bushfire Along Highway
PNG PM tours firefighting nerve centre
Otway Ranges bushfire plan rethink urged
Bushfire funds 'should flow soon'
Firefighter fundraisers clash in Williamsburg