Thread: Nova: Fire Wars
08-06-2003, 11:14 AM #1
Nova: Fire Wars
I had the opportunity to take advantage of a rare quiet night at the firehouse and watch the program Nova: Fire Wars on PBS.
It covered the use of fire as a forest management tool, the Great Blowup of 1910, the Mann Gulch and the Storm King Mountain fires, the Yellowstone fire of 1988, the anatomy of a forest fire, the new approach to forest management and the suburban/wildland interface. It made me appreciate the job that out wildland firefighters do.
A Tip of the Leather in appreciation, Brothers!"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
08-06-2003, 11:51 AM #2
I too was lucky enough to see Fire Wars. It was really put together well. It covered so many areas of wildland firefighting but did it in a way that at the end you wern't thinking... Huh, what were they talking about?
I have 2 family members that are/were smoke jumpers and a few others including myself that are certified wildland firefighters. It's a whole other world from structures and I think it takes a different kind a courage no more no less just different.
Let's remember all those working hard now to stop the fires in the Western U.S. and Canada. It's a tough job and I have so much respect for all of you!
JanelleThe hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn...
08-06-2003, 10:28 PM #3
I caught all but the first few minutes and it was excellent. I also have a greater appreciation for our wildland bretheren. In my corner of the universe, a 100 acre brushfire is considered big.
I have a book called Fire on the Rim by Stephen Pyne who was interviewed for the NOVA program. It's a great read for us structural ff's who don't get the I-zone experience.ullrichk
a ship in a harbor is safe. . . but that's not what ships are for
08-07-2003, 12:28 AM #4
- Join Date
- May 2002
- Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
Well I was going to post this under Wildland but this fits quite well - nice timing Gonzo
Human intervention has made forest fires more devastating, experts say
VANCOUVER (CP) - Years of human intervention to put out forest fires has created out-of-control blazes with devastating results like those currently seen in British Columbia and Alberta, experts said Wednesday.
Reese Halter, founder and president of Global Forest Science, a research institute based in Banff, Alta., and San Francisco, said forests adapted to the natural cycle of lightning-caused fires long before people began putting out every forest fire that came along. "The reasons why we're seeing what human beings deem as cataclysmic fires is because inadvertently we have suppressed fire for so long that the kindling, as it were, the dead trees, have fallen on the forest floor .*.*. and created fuel," Halter said from Banff.
Lodge pole pine trees, for example, hold their cones closed for up to 25 years and open after a fire to produce an instantaneous seed source to regenerate a forest almost immediately, he said.
It's understandable that a forest company facing economic disaster would jump to protect its resources and put out a fire, Halter said.
But when nature isn't allowed to take its course every few years, suppression of a blaze means even bigger losses when a fire hasn't touched the forest for so long.
"So when (fires) happen as in the last couple of weeks in B.C. and Alberta .n.*. you've got dry forests and lots of extra wood to burn and when ignition happens, zowie!
"And of course, the terrible thing is that if it comes near or into a community where human beings live then it's a tragedy."
Almost 10,000 people were forced to flee their homes in southern British Columbia last week when three major forest fires erupted near Kamloops. There were about 350 active forest fires in the province Wednesday.
About 4,000 residents have since been allowed to return home, while others wait in emergency centres and wonder what happened to their property.
It's believed the largest blaze was caused by a discarded cigarette in what ended up being the area's worst fire season in five decades.
In Alberta, 2,000 people were driven from their homes after wildfires in southwest Alberta. About half of the evacuees were told Wednesday that they could go home.
But the silver lining to these fires is that the forests will regenerate naturally by next spring because trees are amazing recolonizers of barren land, Halter said.
"The notion that we've got is that fire is evil, but in fact all of the forests in Canada not only evolved around fire but they've adapted to it.
"It's terrible to view it as negative because in the scheme of nature it is extremely and utterly and totally natural."
Without fire, the mountain pine beetle devouring much of British Columbia's forests would cause even more economic losses to the province's economy, Halter said.
"They love fat, old lodge pole or pine trees. Those would have been naturally removed by fire but they haven't been."
The resulting dry trees are like beacons to the pine beetles, whose mammoth population increase has been compounded in British Columbia and Alberta over the last decade because of the lack of weather cold enough to kill them.
Gordon Weetman, a retired University of British Columbia forestry professor, said fire-suppression policies have disrupted the natural cycle of forests to the point that there's been needless devastation of huge swaths of forests in Canada and the United States.
"The joint U.S. and Canadian problem is that fire suppression over the 50 to 100 years has allowed an unnatural situation to occur, which is the accumulation of fuel, and now both the U.S. and Canada are dealing with these very severe ground fires," said Weetman.
However, most jurisdictions in western North America have developed fire-management policies in the last 10 to 15 years, meaning fires are set in a forest as a way to control their development, he said.
About 80 square kilometres of Banff National Park were burned as part of a management in the spring to prevent sweeping fires in the area.
Such policies were developed mostly in response to the 1988 Yellowstone National Park fire, which destroyed over 600 square kilometres of the oldest park in the United States during a specially dry season.
Ironically, a controlled burn in Jasper National Park set in late May got out of hand after predicted June rain never materialized. It burned more than 80 square kilometres of the popular Alberta park before being brought under control.
The Canadian Press, 2003
08/6/2003 19:14 ESTSeptember 11th - Never Forget
I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.
IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
RAY WAS HERE FIRST
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