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July 30, 2009

Spain Wildfires Raw Video


Odd Fire Season To Date

It's windy here in the central valley of California. Hot and windy as it has been for the better part of the last month. The foothills are dry, tinder dry bearing dead and downed oak at a level not observed by me personally since the early nineties. The Sierra Nevada Range has been under daily assault by lightning from a Southern monsoonal flow for more than two weeks, recording thousands of lightning strikes.

Cal Fire and the Feds and various county agencies have been expertly picking up nearly every fire start in the State before flames can catch a footing. One of the exceptions is the Knight Fire currently burning 1,643 acres in the Stanislaus River Canyon. A 2,000 acre fire at this time of the year would barely merit a byline in a normal fire season.

I can't recall a fire season this benign as August approaches. California firefighters deserve a break after the record acreage burned last year but this unusual lull this season is almost disquieting.

Record heat, unseasonable winds and constant lightning has not contributed to any degree. Keep fingers crossed that the law of averages does not try to play catch up.

May the quiet remain so.


July 23, 2009

Rest In Peace Firefighter Thomas Marovich

Friend of firefighters Kate from Big Sur posts the notice here.

Condolences to Firefighter Marovich's family and friends. Too young to die.

Images of Memorial for Firefighter Marovich at Redding.com


July 18, 2009

Railbelt Complex 2009 - Aerial Firing Operation

The video shows a textbook aerial firing operation within the Railbelt Complex in Alaska. The narration is helpful in explaining how the operation is carried out and the benefits of undertaking such an operation.

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July 17, 2009

Nice List Of Fire Sites and Firefighter Blogs

FireCritic compiled a nice list of fire related sites including fire and EMS blogs.

I am proud to say Firefighter Blog was included. Much appreciated Fire Critic!

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July 13, 2009

Supertankers Standing Guard Over California

The Cal Fire air program secured the use of the massive 747 Supertanker for the 2009 fire season according to Rim Of The World.Net. This amazing aircraft, with its 20,000 gallon payload joins Tanker910, the State contracted DC-10 behemoth in Victorville.
Both aircraft will be less than 45 minutes to any spot in Southern California.

Tanker 910 has already proven to be a tremendous asset during its two years of service. The DC-10 carries a 12,000 gallon payload.

If this is not good enough another firefighting industry giant will call Southern California home this season. The Village News reports the Martin Mars JMR3 waterbomber with a 7,200 gallon payload is scheduled to arrive from it's home base in Vancouver British Columbia this week for positioning at Lake Elsinore.

The Martin Mars is a water plane and can scoop its load from a lake or bay making reloading quick and inexpensive. The Martin Mars is under contract with the U.S. Forest Service.

Cal Fire's commitment to the additional Supertanker while welcomed is also puzzling. In an ordinary year it might be considered a budget buster. With the state essentially broke it begs the question why now?

Perhaps this is posturing by Cal Fire principals, pump the budget before being forced to submit revised numbers. I don't know. Or maybe after crunching the numbers Cal Fire has decided extensive use of these weapons during initial attack can stop those $20 million campaign fires in their tracks, more than paying for the expensive bombers.

In any case I am all for extensive use of these firefighting weapons. Stomping out fires early for budget considerations is great but I view it from a firefighter safety standpoint.

The longer a campaign is drawn out the more firefighter injuries occur. Just look at the incident 209 reports for campaign fires. Injuries mount as the days wear on. Fatigue invites mistake, the numbers game catches up as acreage mounts and time on scene expands.

No price can be placed on safety.

I look forward to watching how these resources are put in play. I envy the guys and gals on the fire ground where these magnificent aircraft drop their loads. Imagine, between the three aircraft they can leave a trail of 40,000 gallons of water, retardant and gel.

For a look at the complete fleet of aircraft of aircraft at the disposal of Cal Fire click here.

Thanks to Michael E. Dubrasich of The Western Institute for Study of the Environment for the heads up!

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July 11, 2009

Twitter Followers


The count is coming close to 2,000 followers for my FireBlogger Twitter account. Thank you to everyone that has added my updates to their queue. I said this 9 months ago and believe it more than ever today. Twitter is trumping blogs. Twitter Search reveals real sentiment, real news in real time.


July 04, 2009

Happy 4th Everyone