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June 27, 2006

Canada, Local Fire Chief Busted, Drugs

Caught this on Fark "Local fire chief busted with pot and coke in his house. His reaction: "This is seriously going to damage my credibility" The main story is found here.

Kind of ugly. According to the article there were marijuana rooms set up with growing lights and ammunition laying about. The arresting officer does his best to steer guilt towards the kids but it's just ugly. I don't know about you guys but based on the newspaper account he is guilty enough to lose his job.
How can he not know someone in his house was setting up a pot growing room? Sorry, the position of Fire Chief is too important a job to be given to persons so sloppy in their personal life.
A fire chief makes decisions that directly affect the lives of other life savers. As we know in most small towns the chief shows up and assumes control of any real incident. The community and department personnel deserve someone with a sober mind and solid character in this position.
This guy lacks both from my read.

June 25, 2006

More Bird Flu News; Mutation Confirmed


W.H.O. confirms mutation and this time they drop the word "slight".

Time to start buying that extra case of water and some extra canned food on every trip to Costco. My family has talked of contingency plans for months now concerning school and self sufficieny issues. I hate to sound like an alarmist but if everyone waits for some government body to tell them what to do AND when to do it some sadly will be out of luck.

June 24, 2006

Governor Schwarzenegger Please Define "Emergency"


From AP via NYTimes (free reg. req.) "Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week rejected a request from the Bush administration to send an additional 1,500 National Guard troops to the Mexican border, the governor's office confirmed Friday.

The National Guard Bureau, an arm of the Pentagon, asked for the troops to help with the border-patrol mission in New Mexico and Arizona, but Schwarzenegger said the request would stretch the California Guard too thin in case of an emergency or natural disaster."

Too thin in case of an emergency or natural disaster? What qualifies as an emergency if this continuing invasion of illegal immigrants doesn't?

Arny, I like you, I'll vote for you again, mostly because Angelides is a girlie-man but please pull off the political blinds for a minute. Your Guard is deployable to any "natural disaster" from any post on the border. This is a horrible smoke screen set up to gain the hispanic vote. Your minders may not have clued you correctly that the illegals already here are some of the biggest fans of closing the border holes. Fewer workers means their stock goes up. Bad politics at the wrong time Governor.

Categories: ,

Bird Flu Mutates "Slightly"

NewsTarget says "Yes, it is slightly altered, but in a way that viruses commonly mutate," said Dick Thompson, a WHO spokesman in Geneva. "But that didn't make it more transmissible or cause more severe disease."

Bird flu spread from human to human. This revelation did not catch much mainstream press.

"In a way that viruses commonly mutates" suggests to me further mutations can be expected.


June 21, 2006

Fire On Highway 666


"SANTA MARIA Firefighters made progress in battling a wildfire that grew to 12,000 acres but stopped short of reaching a critical ridgeline in Los Padres National Forest on Tuesday night.

More than 640 firefighters contained about 20 percent of the Perkins Fire, which burned south through chaparral and away from the small town of New Cuyama about 45 miles east of Santa Maria. No homes were threatened.

Afternoon temperatures in the 90s, low humidity and heavy brushes fueled the fire, said U.S. Forest Service spokesman Joe Pasinato... "
more here

The Perkins Fire by acreage is much larger than the Oak Creek Fire near Sedona but you would never know it. The glamour factor between the two fires are...well, opposite. I fought fire in the general area of the Perkins Fire. New Cayuma is as -middle of nowhere- as you can get in California look here.

If someone can nominate a more hellish place to spend time fighting fire I'll debate, there is no competition. When the weather reports say 90 degrees just add 10 to 15 degrees to that and you are closer to the truth. Those protected canyons and south facing ridges enjoy their own micro-climates. I once heard that is where the term "devil winds" was introduced.

Most of the personnel responding to the Perkins incident headed East on Highway 166 off Highway 101 on the San Luis Obispo/Santa Barbara County line. Highway 166 in my mind is Highway 666 and will always be so. Nothing good (for a firefighter) can come from a journey that begins on that road. Maybe my feelings are exaggerated because 4 firefighters from my old station died fighting the Spanish Ranch Fire in 1979 on that road.

The incident that claimed those young men is part of the curriculum at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Fire Academy. The crew was caught in a re-burn, essentially they were caught in an area of the fire that had burned earlier in the day. That incident review caught my attention because of lives lost, the lesson about re-burn and because the instructors encouraged everyone in the class to view the photos of the bodies. The Spanish Ranch Fire tragedy ultimately led to broad adoption of fire shelters.

Highway 666. 640 of the world's best firemen and women are somewhere down that road today and by all accounts kicked some serious butt overnight. There are no motels, hotels or resorts for lodging, no this fire is old school, sleep on the ground, 24 hour shifts and eating MRE's until they bring in the kitchen crew. Forget showering and don't even think about finding a creek or lake to jump into for a bath, a running creek in June in New Cayuma would be considered a water park.

Contrast this with the guys and gals working the Brins Fire outside Sedona. Choice of motels and resorts, numerous quality restaurants in Sedona. National and local TV coverage that glamorous Sedona invites in addition to a reporter from every newspaper in Arizona as well as some bloggers chronicling the incident guaranteeing that fire's place in history.

Let's check the news coverage from both fires;

Heaven Sedona/Oak Creek Fire news
Hell Perkins Fire

Categories: ,

June 19, 2006

Brins Fire, Oak Creek/Sedona Arizona

400 homes evacuated.

(From East Valley Tribune)
"......By Sunday evening, the fire was nearing homes and businesses on the western edge of Oak Creek.

‘‘It’s going to be quite a fight not to lose them,’’ said Kristy Bryner, a fire information officer. ‘‘This is very active fire behavior.’’

The fire was burning on Brins Mesa, just above Oak Creek Canyon and about 115 miles from the Valley.

Crews were concerned that downslope winds, which can be common at night, could push the fire into Oak Creek Canyon, said Raquel Romero, a fire information officer.

She classified the threat to the homes as ‘‘very serious.’’

And today’s forecast isn’t encouraging, said Steve Harper, a fire information officer with the Coconino National Forest.

“It’s supposed to be windy again,” Harper said.

Fire crews were in Oak Creek Canyon, ready to defend the structures.

The fast-moving fire ignited Sunday afternoon in a wooded area and quickly prompted authorities to evacuate about 180 homes in five Sedona subdivisions......more "

More from National Fire News

"NEW Brins (Coconino National Forest): 1,000 acres at zero percent contained. This fire is two miles northeast of Sedona, AZ in timber. Evacuations are in effect for Oak Creek Canyon and two northern Sedona Subdivisions. Extreme fire behavior was reported..."

Fire map

Full local
media coverage

Photo from (older area fire)


June 10, 2006

20 Year Firefighter Fired Because Of Muscular Dystrophy

Florida Firefighter Jeff Chesak of the Orange County Fire Department is being dismissed because he suffers from muscular dystrophy.

MSNBC.com reports:

"He has muscular dystrophy but he said that does not keep him from performing his duties. However, his bosses said Chesak is not capable of performing at a level that ensures the public's safety.

"It's just a slowly progressive disease," Chesak said.

Walking next to Chesak, you'd hardly know he suffers from muscular dystrophy. Around his ankles and feet are small braces that steady him. He said the disease is not keeping him from doing his job.

But the same week he got his 20-year service award, he was fired.

"Yeah, it was anger and a feeling of being deceived because none of it had to do with job performance," Chesak said. "I didn't meet the qualifications they were looking for with the annual physical."

Chesak suffers from the same disease for which firefighters are famous for battling. Their annual boot drive raises money for the Jerry Lewis telethon to try and cure muscular dystrophy....."

My take; Jeff gave 20 years of service to the citizens of Orange County and this is his thanks? I understand the argument but in reality departments all over the nation carry their older and less abled personnel into retirement by placing them in dispatch or prevention or other office assignments.
Not to mention the signal this sends to kids with the disease. Jeff is a hero and a role model to all younger persons afflicted with this ailment. I hope the Orange County Fire Department management reconsiders their decision.

June 07, 2006

Firefighter Blog's Favorite Lady Ann Coulter


Ann Coulter writes her own review of her new book Godless: The Church of Liberalism. I have to hand it to Ann, no one can promote her own books better than her.

Photo from

Firefighter Jobs Iraq

Looking at Firehouse.com this morning and saw this job listing for firefighter positions in Iraq.

From the ad;

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."