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.

Monday, January 04, 2010


Instead of Christmas, it was more like the Fourth of July in Southern California over the past two weeks, with a flurry of stories about the USFS response to the Station Fire: leading off with an article passed along by Tony Morris and Bob Cavage of Wildfire Research Network about an LA Times investigation into dispatch logs showing that someone at USFS failed to send in air support when fire commanders on the ground requested it (1); followed by a call by local politicians to launch a formal investigation (2)(3)(4); and some Op-Ed pieces from a couple of local papers on the issue (5)(6). The harrowing tale of the Camp 16 burnover during the Station Fire and the sporadic communications that may have led to it are examined in the next article (7). The folks at Ten Tanker LLC were chosen as 'Persons of the Year' by a local paper for their heroics fighting wildfires in California in 2009 (8). AmeriCorps' contribution to replanting forests in Southern California ravaged by wildfires is profiled in the next article (9); followed by a story about the case of alleged jury tampering in the trial of Raymond Lee Oyler's Esperanza Fire case which will begin today (10). As MV-22 Ospreys replace the aging Marine helicopter fleet on the West Coast (making more helicopters available for fire agencies to purchase?), an Op-Ed commentator warns that they may ignite fires while battling wildfires due to their super-heated exhaust and powerful rotor wash (11). An article from Arizona expounds on the costs of letting wildfires burn versus conducting controlled burns (12); but despite the fact we're in the midst of winter, over two dozen communities in New Mexico are listed as being at risk for wildfires (13); and the US Fish and Wildlife Service is being sued by an environmental group in order to gain protection for a salamander endangered by, among other things, wildfires in its habitat in that state (14). The US Geological Survey will be utilizing UAVs to map terrain and wildfires in Colorado (and presumably, elsewhere in the US as well) (15). Montana USFS air-tanker contractor Neptune Aviation paid the power bill of a local homeless shelter for all of 2010 in a gesture of holiday largesse (16); even as an article from Montana laments the millions of acres of reddened, beetle-killed pines across the western US (17). Southern Florida is ringing in the New Year with wildfire warnings (18); and there was trouble in paradise, as three stories chronicle wildfires on the islands of Hawaii, one apparently sparked by fireworks (19)(20)(21). An editorial from Port Alberni, British Columbia, provides a year-end summary of what's been going on with the Martin Mars aircraft (22); but the gargantuan task of trying to stem the flood of mountain pine beetles invading from British Columbia (where an astounding 75% of their lodgepole pines are estimated to have been infected) is now being tackled by foresters in Alberta province (23). In South America, firefighters in Bogota, Colombia, had a number of wildfires to deal with on the outskirts of town (24). A wild wind storm sparked a large forest fire in the Central Asian nation of Azerbaijan (25); while forest fires have destroyed timber in India's Punjab (26). Firefighters in South Africa are hunting for a serial arsonist whose handiwork has been keeping them very busy (27). Revelers in New Zealand kept firefighters busy on New Year's Eve with blazes started by fireworks and sky lanterns (28); even as authorities are warning Kiwis about the danger from bushfires like the ones that have raged across nearby Australia (29); but if they do have a fire, at least one community really knows how to take care of firies (30)! Politics entered the fray again in Victoria, where the Premier was accused of misspending over $1 million to mail out bushfire preparation brochures to residents (31); but the results speak for themselves, as more Victorians are prepared for bushfires this year, according to the next article (32). Western Australia was prominently mentioned in bushfire dispatches: a devastating bushfire destroyed over three dozen homes, the worst loss in half a century (33); but an anonymous businessman from Perth has offered to match government donations to help bushfires survivors who lost their homes in the blaze (34); with authorities cautioning residents to be alert for bushfire warnings as the danger continues (35); even as three bushfires continue their advance, forcing residents in their paths to prepare for evacuation (36). Bushfires in northern Tasmania were threatening homes, as recounted by the next two articles (37)(38). And finally, a very old fire-spotting aircraft will go on the auction block in Arizona and can be yours for a paltry $1 million (what a bargain!)

(1) Records show no mention of terrain in withholding aircraft during Station fire

(2) Schiff, Antonovich call for Station Fire investigation

(3) Rep. Schiff to seek inquiry into Station fire response

(4) Lawmakers rally behind Schiff's call for congressional investigation into Station Fire response

(5) Our View: The fire next time

(6) Our View: Forest needs added protection

(7) Records show a disconnect between embattled fire crew and commanders in Station fire

(8) Crews of firefighting Super Tankers chosen as 'Person' of the Year

(9) Forest volunteers get financial boost

(10) Relative of convicted Esperanza Fire arsonist to be arraigned today

(11) Ospreys mean less at home

(12) Bragging about roaring wildfires

(13) New Mexico communities remain at risk for wildfires

(14) Fish and Wildlife Service sued over salamander

(15) Geologists turn to unmanned aircraft

(16) Neptune Aviation pays shelter's energy bill

(17) Beetle kill changes face of Helena Forest

(18) Fire conditions favorable in SW Fla. today

(19) Hawaii Kai brushfire caused by fireworks

(20) Brush fire smolders in a remote forest above Pacific Palisades

(21) Firefighters still battling two large blazes on Big Island

(22) 2009’s TOP 10 STORIES - part 3: Waterbombers fight U.S. fires

(23) Alberta faces almost impossible task of stopping pine beetles from spreading

(24) Forest fires cause concern across southern Bogota

(25) Storm and forest fire cause damage in Azerbaijan regions

(26) Fire rages in Bhaderwah, Daksum forests; Forest Minister has to wake up now

(27) Serial arsonist feared as Overberg burns

(28) Fireworks, lanterns keep firefighters busy

(29) Killer bushfires a risk in extreme dry conditions

(30) Colossal catering effort for firefighters

(31) Brumby attacked for fire warning mailout

(32) Fire message heeded

(33) Western Australia Blaze Burns Most Homes in 50 Years

(34) Businessman to match bushfire victim payments

(35) WA warned : More bushfires on the way

(36) Three major bushfires burn in WA

(37) Bushfire threatens homes in state's north

(38) West Tamar's Haze Hangs Over City

(39) Unique Canadian plane expected to fetch $1M in auction

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