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.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010


The homeless man who is accused of starting a wildfire in Southern California's Angeles National Forest days before the Station Fire broke out has made his first court appearance (1); while the Orange County community of Lake Forest is observing Fire Prevention Week through the 9th, something which has been done nationwide in memory of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 (2). A pair of wildfires which have burned nearly 9,000 acres in California's Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks have been brought to heel by a change in the weather (3); but a wildfire apparently sparked by farming equipment charred 8 acres near Forest Grove, Oregon (4). Washington state's Olympic National Forest will begin prescribed burns now that fire season is past (5); and although firefighters in Arizona's Kaibab National Forest have already been conducting controlled burns, they still have 200 piles left to ignite (6). A 530-acre wildfire that has been burning in beetle-killed trees near Fraser, Colorado, is now 40% contained (7); the next article taking a look at the role luck played in grappling with this wildfire (8); but an often overlooked aspect of evacuations, that of removing pets from the path of the recent wildfires there, is examined in the next article (9). An update on Utah's Twitchell Canyon Fire, which is 76% contained after burning nearly 45,000 acres, is provided by the next article (10); while a small wildfire that broke out west of Rapid City, South Dakota, is being blamed on an abandoned campfire (11). Texas Forest Service has had a busy week battling 17 wildfires in the eastern part of that state (12); this at a time when Arkansas, where 37 counties are under wildfire alerts, has reported 65 wildfires since the beginning of the month (13). The hazards of conducting illegal debris burns as Kentucky goes through its fall wildfire season is discussed in the next article (14). Birmingham, Alabama, is under a Red Flag warning (15); even as the wildfire danger worsens in Mississippi, prompting the governor to ponder declaring a state of emergency, prompting spotters from the Mississippi Forestry Commission to take to the air (16); and the National Weather Service has issued wildfire warnings for Northern Georgia due to increased winds and reduced humidity (17). A $250,000 FEMA grant will enable Florida's Caloosahatchee Forestry Center to clear out vegetation, reducing the danger from wildfires to local communities (18); but the Florida Division of Forestry is warning residents to keep proper vegetation clearance around their property because of the increased threat from wildfires this coming year due to a La Niña effect (19). For a second year in a row, Korea has sent firefighters to study with wildfire experts in British Columbia, Canada (20); but it looks like the Koreans should also train on high-rise fires, as an article demonstrates that was sent along by Wildfire NOTD subscriber Brian Fennessy, Assistant Fire Chief at San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, who commented: "A few years ago, we trained all SDFD fire companies as "airborne fire companies". As four person engine & truck company crews, they had to hover-step in and out of our hovering helicopters in full turnout gear with high rise fire suppression equipment simulating a high rise roof top insertion and extraction.

We would likely never consider dropping water on a burning high rise structure fire as this would tactically be considered grossly ineffective. Wouldn't pass the risk vs gain analysis/assessment.

Erickson Aircrane does have a nozzle attachment that does allow for their helitankers to pump from their tanks to project a water stream into a building. Tactically, this goes against all of our training and poses a significant risk to firefighters performing interior firefighting operations. We don't want the heat and smoke forced back onto us and/or victims. We need the heat and smoke to escape. That said, could a concentrated water stream being applied to a fire occurring in a highrise be effective? Maybe. Right conditions, no firefighters/victims immediately impacted...maybe. Could slow fire progress until firefighters make interior attack. Check out Erickson webpage. Don't know if they or anyone else have conducted this operation during an actual highrise fire. I know LA City at one time had capability. Maybe still do; don't know.

Feel free to share as you wish. Just want to be sure the perception is not that I believe dropping water on a highrise to be a sound or effective use of a helicopter during a highrise fire. Insertion of firefighters and removal of victims, perhaps if the conditions allow. Locating victims, firefighters in windows and evaluating fire progress and downlinking imagery to the ground and command centers does make sense in the right scenario"

Heading to Australia next, in Victoria, Nillumbik Council’s Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee has designated a new bushfire safer place (22); while a police sergeant who was instrumental in helping save lives during Western Australia's Toodyay Bushfire last December has been recognized (23). South Australia's Country Fire Service is advising citizens to prepare their property for bushfire season (24). And finally, it's dangerous enough trying to put out a fire inside a burning structure, but firefighters in Washington state had to also run a gauntlet of booby-traps inside the house!

(1) Lady Bug fire suspect appears in court

(2) Fire Prevention Week kicks off in Lake Forest

(3) Weather halts wildfire growth in Kings Canyon Nat'l Park, Sequoia Nat'l Forest

(4) Field fire scorches 8 acres near Forest Grove

(5) Olympic National Forest to Begin Prescribed Fires

(6) Pile burning continues near Williams

(7) Colorado wildfire now 40% contained

(8) 'Luck helps a lot'

(9) Pet Talk: Animal rescues galore, and a miracle, in Colo. wildfire

(10) Twitchell Canyon Fire Update: Road Closures Lifted - 44,874 -acres Burned - 76% Contained

(11) Human-caused wildfire burns west of Rapid City

(12) Recent surge in wildfires keeps firefighters busy

(13) Ark Crews Fight 65 Forest Fires Since Oct. 1

(14) Illegal outside burning can be hazardous

(15) Metro Birmingham forecast: Warmer, with sunshine and a high wildfire threat

(16) Governor Calls Emergency Meeting To Discuss Wildfire Risks

(17) Forest fire danger returns

(18) Federal grant will be used to clear vegetation in Lehigh

(19) State predicts more wildfires in 2011

(20) B.C. Training Korean Delegation on Forest Fires

(21) Fire Guts High-Rise in South Korea

(22) New bushfire refuge in Nillumbik

(23) Big honour for bushfire effort

(24) Act now before bushfire season

(25) Firefighters Face Booby Traps At Deadly Fire

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