In the wake of devastating mudslides from fire-denuded hills above the Southern California community of La Canada this weekend, both that city's mayor and LA County Supervisor Mike Antonovich heaped scorn on the US Forest Service for their handling of the Station Fire last summer, our first wildfire-related story today (1). An Op-Ed piece from a Rocky Mountain consortium counsels wisdom in choosing the proper pre-treatment policies to suppress wildfires (2); even as the third annual 'FireSafe Montana' conference will kick off near the end of this month featuring, a keynote speaker who will discuss bushfires Down Under (3). An outdoorsman from Ohio comments on the benefits of fire to the ecosystem (4); while, in Washington, D.C., the Secretary of Commerce unveiled a new unified climate service, something which will undoubtedly have an impact on wildfire forecasts and climate change info in the future (5). The Iguaque Nature Reserve in Colombia is now being threatened by a wildfire that has been burning in that Latin American country for the past week (6). A wildfire in the African nation of Ghana, believed to have been set by hunters, destroyed several homes (7); but the South African Air Force had to dispatch a pair of Oryx helicopters to aid firefighters battling two veld fires in the popular vacation spot of Knysna, as related in the next two items (8)(9). The governor of the Cordillera Administrative Region in the Philippines urged residents to reduce wildfires there (10); while a high-tech fire alert messaging system is being implemented in the Indian state of Himchal Pradesh (11). Firefighters in New Zealand worked fast to quench bushfires, apparently set by lazy hunters near a sanctuary housing a population of endangered kiwis (12). Time Magazine examines the attitude of Australians to the bushfire danger on the first anniversary of Black Saturday (13); as the Royal Bushfire Commission hearings continue, in which it was revealed that eight of the twenty communities hardest hit by the Black Saturday bushfires didn't even have a Wildfire Management Overlay plan in place (14). Although the Insurance Council promised speedy claims settlements after the Black Saturday blazes, at least one insurance company is still dragging its feet in paying off (15); and several companies are competing for a contract for a bushfire-detecting camera system in Victoria (16). There was a quartet of bushfire stories out of Western Australia today: after a 12-day battle, firefighters in Karijini National Park feel they're getting the upper hand on a large bushfire (17); a bushfire was sparked when three sheds exploded in Hovea (18); a pair of bushfires north of Albany kept firefighters busy (19); and another was reported near Armadale (20). Firefighters have warned campers in Tasmania's Central Highlands that the Wayatinah Fire could threaten their locations (21); while the December crash of a firefighting helicopter in New South Wales is being attributed to 'white-out' conditions caused by cloud envelopment disorienting the pilot (22). And finally, it's the case of the haunted firehouse in rural Frankfort, Illinois!
(1) La Cañada mayor blames Forest Service for slides
(2) Greater Caution Needed Before Supporting Thinning, Biomass Projects
(3) FireSafe Montana sponsors "Communities & Wildfire Conference"
(4) Dick Martin's Great Outdoors: Fire is not always bad for forests
(5) Commerce Sec. Announces National Climate Service
(6) Huge Fire Threatens Nature Reserve in Colombia
(7) Wildfire destroys eight houses and food stocks
(8) Garden Route struggles against new infernos
(9) Wildfires rage in Cape
(10) Guv implores folk to stop forest fires
(11) HP to check frequent fire by "Forest Fire Alert Messaging System"
(12) Hunters blamed for fires near kiwi
(13) A Year After Fires, Australia Debates What Went Wrong
(14) Fire towns lack wildfire plans
(15) Bushfire victims face unacceptable claim delay: lawyer
(16) Early warning cameras to zoom in on fires
(17) Bushfire threat eases at Karijini park
(18) Hills explosion sparks bushfire
(19) Two bushfires burning north of Albany
(20) Forest fire near Armadale now contained
(21) Campers warned off bushfire danger zone
(22) 'White-out' caused fatal chopper crash
(23) 'Ghosts' do not alarm Frankfort firefighters