In response to an article in Tuesday's edition of Wildfire NOTD, subscriber Colin Stewart, Thermo-Gel's Australian representative, sent along a link to an ultrafine particle filter firefighters in Australia use, even on bushfires, to protect their airways, along with the following explanation:
You may be interested to take a look at the Respro particle filter masks, which are a highly effective alternative to BA (but not a replacement). We have all experienced ‘mop up’, which goes on for hours & hours & for which nobody wears BA because of perceived hassle or cost (of keeping the cylinder truck there, swapping crews out etc etc)
We have imported these Respro masks to Oz for years, but due to the cost being greater than the cheap paper filter masks, people in the agencies think they are expensive. We have individuals or whole brigades using their own funds to buy them & they never look back after using them once. Replacement filters are available at a modest cost.
In a wildfire environment, particularly in Australia, it is well understood that wildfire smoke is hazardous, but still we see little emphasis on ensuring firefighters are well protected with the best equipment. A bit of a sleeping epidemic I think.
Elsewhere in the news, rare lightning-sparked wildfires broke out in Southern California's Angeles National Forest north of Glendora yesterday (1); and more dry lightning strikes forecast for Orange County have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a Red Flag alert (2); with similar warnings being issued for San Diego and Riverside Counties (3); even as Orange County touted its emergency text-messaging service, which could alert residents to wildfires (4). Residents of Santa Barbara County were urged to clear defensible space and take other precautions for fire season at a press conference yesterday (5); while CAL FIRE reported a 10-acre wildfire north of Morgan Hill yesterday afternoon (6); but a 5-acre wildfire that had been burning in Shasta-Trinity National Forest has now been contained (7). A Washington state man has been accused of starting a wildfire near Moses Lake on the Fourth of July (8); while firefighters in Colville National Forest will begin a series of prescribed burns, possibly as soon as this week (9). Colorado homeowners have been granted a grace period on paying premiums by Hartford Insurance in areas hit by recent wildfires (10); and firefighters have completed containment of a small wildfire burning in Roosevelt National Forest (11). A massive wildfire that has been burning in Utah's Fishlake National Forest may force some highway closures again (12); while the Antelope Fire, which is burning in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park, has expanded to 4,370 acres (13). Researchers in Montana's Glacier National Park are studying a burn area to see how forests rejuvenate years after a major wildfire (14); but a suspicious explosion in Indiana's Hoosier National Forest that ignited a tree is under investigation (15). National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag warning for southern Tennessee and northern Alabama through today (16). With only one month to go in the fire season, fire officials in Ontario, Canada, are cautioning residents to remain vigilant since 51% of the wildfires in that province are caused by humans (17); and as the wildfire season comes to an end in Newfoundland-Labrador, the next article provides a summary of this year's activity (18). Wildfire NOTD subscriber Kevin Ryan, Research Forest Ecologist at the USFS Fire Sciences Laboratory in Montana, sent along a couple of papers done by the European Forest Institute that provide a window into European wildfires (19)(20). With the onset of bushfire season, some Australian homeowners in northeastern Victoria are concerned about receiving warnings if they live in areas that have poor communications coverage (21); while the head of South Australia's Country Fire Service stunned authorities by changing jobs to head Victoria's Country Fire Authority (22). With the advent of bushfire season, residents of New South Wales will need burn permits beginning tomorrow (23); as a result, the Rural Fire Service will be conducting nearly a score of preventative burns in the Blue Mountains (24); but there is some concern that the state's new bushfire engines will cause more fires than they extinguish! (25) And finally, firefighters in Arizona are being trained on handling one of the more dangerous aspects of wildland firefighting: snakes!
(1) Lightning sparks fires in forest north of the San Gabriel Valley
(2) Red-flag alert: dry lightning heading to O.C.
(3) REGION: Red flag wildfire warning issued for county
(4) Orange County Register wildfire text message alerts
(5) Local homeowners urged to prepare for wildfires
(6) Grass fire burns 10 acres
(7) Fire in Shasta-Trinity National Forest contained
(8) Man accused of starting Moses Lake wildfire
(9) Colville forest plans fall prescribed burns
(10) The Hartford Provides Payment Relief to Colorado Policyholders Affected by Wildfire
(11) Buckhorn Canyon blaze is contained
(12) Twitchell wildfire burning close to highways once again
(13) With New Fuel, Antelope Fire Expands to 4,370 Acres
(14) From the ashes, life
(15) Investigation underway after explosion reported in Hoosier National Forest
(16) Red flag warning issued for region
(17) Despite low forest fire risk, MNR urges caution
(18) NL forest fire numbers down
(19) Towards Integrated Fire Management - Outcomes of the European Project Fire Paradox
(20) Best Practices of Fire Use - Prescribed Burning and Suppression Fire Programmes in Selected Case-Study Regions in Europe
(21) Residents say fix bushfire communication blackspots
(22) CFS chief quits to lead CFA
(23) The bushfire danger period starts for the entire region on October 1
(24) RFS prepares for bushfire season
(25) Fire tankers a fire hazard
(26) Group trains firefighters how to deal with snakes