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June 30, 2005

Cave Creek Complex

Active Fire Map

40% containment on South side, firefighters meet lighter winds sparse fuel.
Local coverage

Cave Creek fire claims largest saguaro

"The so-called Grand One on a ridge south of the lake is recognized in the National Register of Big Trees for its height, mass of limbs and a base circumference of 7 feet, 10 inches.

"That entire ridge did get burned," Garber said, adding that the Grand One and another large saguaro near it were burned by the Cave Creek Complex fire....

No one has taken a close look this week at the giant saguaro, one of the icons of Arizona's Sonoran Desert.

The Grand One was identified in 2003 as the world's largest..."AZCentral.com (link broken,story taken down)

cave creek fire

June 29, 2005

Rural Firefighters Gain New Skills

"High-rise drill tests firefighters' skills"

BY PAULA M. FELIPE/Public Safety Reporter Oroville Mercury

"Firefighters from Oroville City, the El Medio Fire Department, Sacramento Metro, and CDF/Butte County Fire Department conducted a realistic, intensive hands-on fire drill at Gold County Casino on Tuesday.

There were 35 firefighters on scene along with six fire companies, five fire engines, a ladder truck, and two Battalion Chief vehicles.

"This is the first time these firefighters have trained on a multi-story high rise building, which involves learning from the building's engineers about the fire control rooms and safety systems, including state-of-the-art elevator, heat and air-conditioning, smoke detector, and automatic sprinkling systems at Gold Country Casino," said Captain Mike Carr, Public Information Officer of CDF/Butte County Fire.

"The Mooretown personnel at Gold Country Casino have been very cooperative.......", complete story at Oroville Mercury

This is an important topic. As a rule rural municipalities seldom train for high rise fire and rescue incidents. Indian casinos are popping up in several rural counties (at least in California) and often there are 2,000 or more gamblers attracted to the casino's daily. These are small "cities" that require emergency services of any city that size. Butte county fire officials are on it!

Technorati tag:

June 24, 2005

Blogging Fire Photos Just Got Easier

Blogger just added the ability to insert pics with one click. Prior to today adding photos was a convoluted process that required running through a combination of Picasa and Hello. I am sure there was an easier way to do it but I was not aware of it.

This photo was taken in Kelowna B.C in 2003. The photographer is unknown to me but if he sees this photo and has a problem with its publication here I will gladly remove it. It may be the coolest fire photograph I've ever seen.
If anyone viewing this blog has a photo to share I will put it up in some form for all to see. Put a story to it and I'll blog it immediately!

Arizona Burning


Source CIDI.org

"CAVE CREEK COMPLEX, Tonto National Forest. A Type 1 Incident Command Team (Whitney) is assigned. This complex, comprised of the Bronco and Humboldt fires is six miles northeast of Carefree, AZ in chaparral, oak, and grass. Evacuations are in place for the Camp Creek Summer Home Area and the Mistress Mine. Structure protection for private property, FAA facility and power lines is in place. A road closure has been established at Bartlett Lake. Cave Creek, Seven Springs riparian areas, endangered species habitat, and archeological resources remain threatened. Rapid rates of spread with 50 foot flame lengths and extreme fire behavior were observed.

HUMBUG, Arizona State. A Type 1 Incident Management Team (Oltrogge) has been ordered. This fire is eight miles south of Crown King, AZ in grass and brush. The historical mining town of Crown King is threatened. Steep inaccessible terrain and rapid uphill rates of spread are slowing containment efforts.

PERKINS COMPLEX, Phoenix Field Office, Bureau of Land Management. A Type 2 Incident Management Team (Reinarz) is assigned. This complex, comprised of the Salt, Pepper, Union and Chuey fires is 34 miles north of Kingman, AZ in grass and shrubs. Privately owned residences and range resources are threatened. Rapid rates of spread and new fire starts are slowing containment efforts.

THREE FIRE COMPLEX, Tonto National Forest. A Type 2 Incident Management Team (Philbin) is assigned. This complex comprised of the Three and Four fires is eight miles northwest of Tonto Basin, AZ in chaparral and grass. Recreation facilities on Roosevelt Lake, Four Peaks Wilderness Area, Game and Fish wildlife enclosure, and wildlife habitat are threatened. Spotting across State Highway 188 and wind driven downhill runs were reported. AZTEC, Coronado National Forest. A Type 2 Incident Management Team (Raley) is assigned. This fire is four miles south of Patagonia, AZ in grass and brush. Few isolated interior smokes were reported.

BIGHORN, Arizona State. This fire is 24 miles south of Aguila, AZ in brush and grass. Hummingbird Springs, and endangered wildlife habitat are threatened. Plume dominated weather caused extreme fire behavior and prevented suppression efforts.

GOLDWATER, Phoenix Field Office, Bureau of Land Management. This fire is 16 miles north of Ajo, AZ in grass and brush. Native cultural resources and wildlife habitat remain threatened. Active fire behavior was reported.

COTTONWOOD, Coronado National Forest. This fire is five miles east of Catalina, AZ in mesquite and grass. No new information was reported. JANE, Arizona State. This fire is eight miles east of Aguila, AZ in grass. Three structures and two civilian vehicles have been destroyed. Some residences in the community of Gladden were evacuated. High rates of spread in continuous flashy fuels was reported.

NORTH GILA COMPLEX, Gila National Forest. A Fire Use Management Team (Hall) is assigned. This lightning-caused Wildland Fire Use (WFU) complex, comprised of the Fork and Johnson fires, is 13 miles southeast of Reserve, NM in timber and grass. The complex is being managed to accomplish multiple resource objectives. Minimal new growth with low to moderate fire behavior was reported. "

Almost 160,000 acres taken, 1,600 firefighting personnel, 56 handcrews, 9 helicopters and 580 engines. Surprisingly only 3 structures taken as yet. This a testament to the skill and heroics of the firefighters.


California Rainy Season Breeds Fires

Wildfire Dangers Grow as Hills Dry

By Hector Becerra and Jia-Rui Chong, Times Staff Writers

"The near-record rains that drenched Southern California this winter have created conditions for a potentially dangerous fire season as dense vegetation nurtured by the storms dries out.

The first major wildfire of the season, a blaze north of Palm Springs that destroyed six homes and a barn, was fueled by much-taller-than-normal hillside chaparral and grasses.

Firefighters fear a hot summer will dry the brush and leave ample fuel for major wildfires when the Santa Ana winds kick up in late summer and early fall.

"We're seeing brush that is like 6 feet tall in some places, where it usually only grows 2 to 3 feet tall," said Matt Shameson, a weather forecaster for the U.S. Forest Service in Riverside. "Right now our live fuel moisture is going down, and it should be at critical levels pretty shortly, maybe the first or second week of July."
Some of Southern California's most destructive wildfire seasons have come after heavy rains.

The 1992-93 rain season was the ninth wettest on record, with more than 27 inches falling in downtown Los Angeles...."

Complete story


June 21, 2005

The Ghost of General Patton Speaks and We Must Listen

Not Kid friendly but the message is one we should all take to heart.

Click to play

We must never take our eye off the ball in fighting terror where it lives!!


Scout Brennan Hawkins Found

Forrest Nunley, the rescuer who found Brennan Hawkins on the trail is a bonified hero as are the hundreds of other citizen rescuers who dropped everything to help in the search for Brennan.

A lesson for all of us is how Brennan is said to have at first hid from his rescuer. The father had advised that Brennan was extremely shy and would most likely avoid walking up to his rescuers.

As we know children will hide during a house fire. We are trained to look for children hiding in closets and under beds. I do not know if this characteristic applies to children lost in the woods in general. In this case at least it applied.
Let's assume it is a common characteristic and leave no ground unturned in our searches.

God bless you Brennan, his plan for you is not yet complete!!

Yahoo full story
"....Kay Godfrey, a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts' Great Salt Lake Council, pronounced the boy's rescue a "modern-day miracle."

Thousands of searchers — many of them volunteers — had scoured the area for the boy, using long poles to probe a swollen river.

Volunteer Forrest Nunley, a 43-year-old house painter from Salt Lake City, said he found Brennan "standing in the middle of the trail. He was all muddy and wet."

The boy saw some volunteer searchers on horseback, but "he didn't want to come out. He was too scared. He was a little delirious. I sat him down and gave him a little food," Nunley said...."


FDNY Survivor is Back Home

Kerry Burke, NYDailyNews.com (link in title)

"A firefighter who jumped four stories to escape a January blaze in the Bronx went home for the first time yesterday - celebrating Father's Day before heading back to the rehab center.
Eugene Stolowski, 33, left his New Jersey hospital bed at the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation in West Orange to spend the day with his wife, toddler daughter and newborn twin girls.

"It was very uplifting to see our 2-year-old run to him," his wife, Brigid, said from their Orange County, N.Y., home. "It was wonderful to have him home with all our girls, if only for a little while."

Stolowski, of Ladder 27, was one of six firefighters forced to jump from the top floor to escape a Bronx inferno on Jan. 23. Lt. Curtis Meyran and Lt. John Bellew died in the plunge.

"He's got a long way to go," his wife said after the visit. "He has more surgeries, but he's pushing hard at rehabilitation every day."

She said she considers even a brief visit home a miracle.

"The doctors said he had only a 5% chance of living," she said. "Then the other surgery was supposed to leave him a paraplegic. To have him here and recovering reaffirms my faith in prayer."


June 19, 2005

Drunk Gets Only 29 Months for Killing Firefighter

"St. Cloud, Minn. - A St. Cloud, Minn. man who killed a firefighter while driving drunk was sentenced Friday to more than two years in prison.

Lorin Pfannenstein, 38, pleaded guilty in April in Stearns County District Court to grossly negligent criminal vehicular homicide in the death of Don Billig. Billig, who was 49, was struck by a pickup truck Pfannenstein was driving in October 2003 near St. Augusta, Minn. after Billig had helped to put out a fire.

Pfannenstein had been drinking the night of the crash and didn't remember the crash or walking away from it. He passed out in the yard of a house near the crash scene and woke up the next morning, unaware of what had happened.

Pfannenstein apologized in court Friday.

But Billig's widow, LouAnn Billig, said Pfannenstein deserved a stiffer sentence.

"Dons gone forever and (Pfannenstein is) only going to get 29 months in prison. I wish it could have been longer," she said.

Pfannenstein had two drunken driving convictions before the fatal crash.

St. Augusta is about five miles south of St. Cloud."

I agree LouAnn. Your family deserved to see this pathetic waste get more time! God bless you. Our sincerest sympathies to you and your family.

June 17, 2005

Looking to Enter the Fire Service?

I were looking to enter the fire service and did not know where to start I might poke around here or here and browse around.

June 14, 2005

Firefighter job in Iraq

From Firehouse.com

"Support the U.S. Military in Iraq
Salarie Range: $90,000 - $138,000 * Additional Positions: Assistant Fire Chief and Fire Chief
Wackenhut Services, LLC. is currently accepting applications for professional fire fighters (ranks of Fire Fighter, Lieutenant, Captain, and Training Officer) for immediate employment in Iraq. Primary duty will be on secure military bases. Minimum one year contract. Must be U.S. citizen. Annual salaries starting at $90,000. Excellent benefits. Complete uniform and full turn out gear issue.

Minimum requirements for all Positions:

IFSAC or Pro Board Firefighter I and Firefighter II. certification
EMT Certification or Medical First Responder training
Hazardous Materials Technician Certification
Minimum 3 years fire fighting experience (career or voluntary)

Preferred Experience:
Former Military Fire Fighters
International experience
ARFF experience

Additional Requirements: Valid driver's license
Valid passport by scheduled departure date

Background investigation, pre-employment drug screening, and physical agility tests are conducted. Will be subject to post offer physicals and respiratory use approval."

Please submit all resumes and or questions electronically to kkluzinski@wsihq.com


C.D.F. Foreign Intern Readies for Fire Season

"French intern firefighter enjoys time with CDF/Butte County Fire"

BY PAULA M. FELIPE/Public Safety Reporter, Oroville Mercury (see link)

"Romain Fevrier, 20, is the fourth in a series of interns who have come to study in Butte County as part of an international program that began in 2000.

CDF Forester Rich Eliot and Battalion Chief Mike Shorrock are Romain's professional tutors of record.

"Romain has been very successful in his internship," said Chief Eliot. "We expect he will pass his oral exams with flying colors and wish him the best of luck in his fire service career." Romain's project topic is on Resource Management and Methods to Prevent or Reduce Wildfires.

"Romain has spent much of his time training at our fire stations, but he has also been able to see some of our beautiful state during his free time. He has visited the redwoods, Yosemite, Tahoe and Lake Almanor," said Battalion Chief Mike Shorrock. "He really enjoys outdoor sports like rock climbing. He is an intelligent, well rounded individual who will be a great asset to the fire service."

Romain has been staying at the home of Division Chief Rich Eliot, who teaches about the importance of resource management and how to protect properties to make them safe from fire.

"A wildland fire can damage or destroy the many values in life that we seek to protect, such as economic, water, wildlife, aesthetic, and recreational values," Eliot said. "Romain has done very well here, and the Northern California climate is similar to the Mediterranean climate of Southern France where he lives....." More

June 07, 2005

Firefighter Oral Interview Questions

Visitor paths to this blog indicate many visitors in the last few days are searching for interview questions from firefighter oral examinations.

I have linked to one of the better pages on the net with simple questions you can view for free. (Click title above)

If I were looking to take a test I might pay for one of the products offered on the site or another. I might pay a visit to someone new to your city's fire department. He or she may be able to offer some insights on areas of concentration from their own oral interview.

Good luck to anyone preparing for the oral boards.

Here are some sample questions from FirePrep.com

What have you done to prepare for this position?

What are you bringing to the job?

Why do you want to work for this city or agency?

What do you know about this city or agency?

What do you like to do? What are your hobbies?

What are your strengths? Weaknesses?

What are the attributes of a firefighter? What is the most important one to you?


June 05, 2005

Brian Chontosh, United States Marine, Hoo-ah!

Got this in my email today!!
(origin unknown)

"Maybe you'd like to hear about a real American, somebody who honored the uniform he wears.
Meet Brian Chontosh.
Churchville-Chili Central School class of 1991. Proud graduate of the Rochester Institute of Technology. Husband and about-to-be father. First lieutenant (now Captain) in the United States Marine Corps.
And a genuine hero.The secretary of the Navy said so yesterday.
At 29 Palms in California Brian Chontosh was presented with the Navy Cross, the second highest award for combat bravery the United States can bestow.
That's a big deal.
But you won't see it on the network news tonight, and all you read in Brian's hometown newspaper was two paragraphs of nothing. The odd fact about the American media in this war is that it's not covering the American military. The most plugged-in nation in the world is receiving virtually no true information about what its warriors are doing.
Oh, sure, there's a body count. We know how many Americans have fallen. And we see those same casket pictures day in and day out. And we're almost on a first-name basis with the jerks who abused the Iraqi prisoners. And we know all about improvised explosive devices and how we lost Fallujah and what Arab public-opinion polls say about us and how the world hates us.

We get a non-stop feed of gloom and doom.
But we don't hear about the heroes.
The incredibly brave GIs who honorably do their duty. The ones our grandparents would have carried on their shoulders down Fifth Avenue.
The ones we completely ignore.
Like Brian Chontosh.

And Brian ChonIt was a year ago on the march into Baghdad. Brian Chontosh was a platoon leader rolling up Highway 1 in a humvee.
When all hell broke loose.
Ambush city.
The young Marines were being cut to ribbons. Mortars, machine guns, rocket propelled grenades. And the kid out of Churchville was in charge. It was do or die and it was up to him.
So he moved to the side of his column, looking for a way to lead his men to safety. As he tried to poke a hole through the Iraqi line his humvee came under direct enemy machine gun fire.
It was fish in a barrel and the Marines were the fish.

tosh gave the order to attack. He told his driver to floor the humvee directly at the machine gun emplacement that was firing at them. And he had the guy on top with the .50 cal unload on them.
Within moments there were Iraqis slumped across the machine gun and Chontosh was still advancing, ordering his driver now to take the humvee directly into the Iraqi trench that was attacking his Marines. Over into the battlement the humvee went and out the door Brian Chontosh bailed, carrying an M16 and a Beretta and 228 years of Marine Corps pride. And he ran down the trench.
With its mortars and riflemen, machineguns and grenadiers.
And he killed them all.
He fought with the M16 until it was out of ammo. Then he fought with the Beretta until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up a dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo. Then he picked up another dead man's AK47 and fought with that until it was out of ammo.

At one point he even fired a discarded Iraqi RPG into an enemy cluster, sending attackers flying with its grenade explosion.
When he was done Brian Chontosh had cleared 200 yards of entrenched Iraqis from his platoon's flank. He had killed more than 20 and wounded at least as many more.
But that's probably not how he would tell it.
He would probably merely say that his Marines were in trouble, and he got them out of trouble. Hoo-ah, and drive on.
"By his outstanding display of decisive leadership, unlimited courage in the face of heavy enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, 1st Lt. Chontosh reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service."

That's what the citation says.
And that's what nobody will hear.
That's what doesn't seem to be making the evening news. Accounts of American valor are dismissed by the press as propaganda, yet accounts of American difficulties are heralded as objectivity. It makes you wonder if the role of the media is to inform or to depress, to report or to deride, to tell the truth, or to feed us lies.
But I guess it doesn't matter.
We're going to turn out all right.
As long as men like Brian Chontosh wear our uniform.

If you are as proud of this Marine as I am, then send this to EVERYONE YOU KNOW !!"

June 04, 2005

Firefighter Donald Herbert- The Movie?

Medical Miracle... or Just Miracle?
Saturday, June 04, 2005
By Fr. Jim Chern

"By now, most people have heard about Donald Herbert, the Buffalo fireman who awoke last month after spending 10 years in an "unresponsive" state due to brain injuries he sustained fighting a fire in 1995.

As the story was recounted, Herbert went without oxygen for almost six minutes that tragic night. He remained comatose for two months, and remained silent for the next nine years. When he awoke, he spoke for 16 hours straight, and one of the first things he is reported to have said to a fellow firefighter was, "Do I still have a job?"

In reading this fascinating story about a man who had been for all intents and purposes "asleep" in a nursing home for years but who was now laughing and joking and getting caught up with family, friends, fellow firefighters -- it almost seemed the premise to a sappy movie, maybe starring Tom Hanks, where you can pretty much write the script.

However, because the story is real, we seem almost at a loss as to how to respond. It's a miracle, and so there’s been reports of a possible intercession by Father Nelson Baker, the deceased priest for whom Herbert's nursing home was named. Reports have been circulating that people had prayed that Fr. Baker would intercede and ask God for a miracle to help Herbert. After Herbert’s amazing recovery, he is reported to have told another priest that Fr. Baker "had visited him....."
Read the rest of the article on Fox News