First up in wildfire news today, Wayne Coulson has hit another snag with Lake Elsinore wanting more money for use of the lake and some damaging and erroneous comments by the Lake Elsinore Fire Chief, who obviously doesn't understand that the Mars is a fire killer, not a retardant line builder. This has delayed the Martin Mars' arrival until 6/20/09 at the earliest. A video of the meeting at Lake Elsinore provides more details (just scroll down and click on Agenda Item 13 to go directly to the Mars debate). It looks now as though the Mars will be scooping from Diamond Valley Lake, over to the east of Elsinore, in order to get a full 7,200 gallon load. For those wanting more background material on the Mars, including comments from CAL FIRE Air Ops Chief Bill Payne about its effectiveness during the wildfires of 2007, go to this Military.com link.
Elsewhere in wildfire news today, the San Bernardino Press-Enterprise provides some insight on this issue from the various players' perspectives. More information on the strategy meeting between firefighting air crews at Ramona Air Attack Base in San Diego County yesterday is provided in the following article; while firefighters in nearby Orange County conducted training exercises to sharpen skills and enhance cooperation on the next wildfire. The 747 Supertanker demonstrated before a committee of fire officials outside of Sacramento today. In a possibly political boondoggle, a building material that could help homes resist wildfires like no other material is banned for use in California, ostensibly due to seismic concerns in earthquake country. A small wildfire was reported near Willcox, Arizona, today; while an update on New Mexico's wildfires is provided in the next item. Citing a lack of spring rains, British Columbia, Canada, has burned through over $14 million to suppress wildfires in the province, three times more than last year at this time. Residents of Canada's Maritime Province of Nova Scotia are also being reminded about their role in preventing forest fires. Wildfires were reported on the Pacific island nation of Brunei yesterday; and wildfires in Malaysia are making for smoky air in some parts of that Asian country. Rain squalls damped down a wildfire burning in India's Himalayan foothills yesterday; but elsewhere in India, a man caught in a forest fire was not so fortunate. As the Royal Bushfire Commission hearings continue in Melbourne, Australia, attendees heard just how close that city came to being on the front lines of the Black Saturday bushfires in February. Country Fire Authority's legal team is mounting a spirited defense of the Chief Officer after several days of criticism; and they may have to do so for the entire organization, as the next article details the problems that the hearings have revealed. In a bit of a mystery, did an undetected flame front annihilate a Victorian town during Black Saturday? The question of the safety of refuges from bushfires is tackled next; and a bereaved widower will speak to the Royal Bushfire Commission. Police are asking the arsonist who lit a deadly bushfire to turn himself in. In a tale of two fire services, Tasmania's fire agency is contrasted with Victoria's in regards to their legal authority for evacuations and public advisements during bushfires. And finally, we've all heard about people, pets, and livestock being evacuated from a fire zone - but fish??
How much to land that super scooper?
Firefighting pilots air response ideas
Firefighters practice for next big wildfire
Airtanker shows off firefighting prowess in Calif.
Material stops 2,000-degree fires -- but not in California
New wildfire burning south of Willcox
NM Firefighters Battle Grass Fires
Firefighting costs triple as B.C. blazes rage on
Reducing the risk of forest fires
Bushfires Along Jerudong Kg Rimba
Wildfires affecting air quality in Sarawak
Rain douses forest fires in Himachal
Man burnt alive in forest fire
Melbourne 'narrowly escaped Black Saturday'
CFA lawyers object to criticism of fire chief
Where to now? Rebuilding the system after Black Saturday
Separate Victorian firestorm may have killed 27
Lifesavers or deathtraps: commission considers refuge question
Widower invited to speak to bushfires commission lawyers
Police intensify hunt for Bendigo arsonist
Two states of firefighter power
Biologists help rare fish flee New Mexico fire