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  1. #1
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post Western US Outlook 2005

    CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - Research by federal agencies and Oregon
    State University concludes the summer forest fire threat for
    Montana and five other Western states is of -- quote -- "historic
    proportions."
    The report says forest and rangeland fires this summer could be
    unusually severe, and probably the worst in the nation.
    Ronald Neilson is a botany professor at Oregon State and a
    federal bio-climatologist. He says the projection is for the
    problem to worsen, and reach levels generally seen during the Dust
    Bowl of the 1930s.
    The report predicted the severe conditions for Montana, Wyoming,
    Idaho, Washington, Oregon and Northern California.

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

    APTV 03-16-05 0926EST
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  2. #2
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    thats comforting...lol
    EMT/FF

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  3. #3
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Post

    By CHARLES E. BEGGS
    Associated Press Writer
    SALEM, Ore. (AP) - With Oregon irrigation reservoirs at 50
    percent of normal and snowpack even less, Gov. Ted Kulongoski
    announced measures Monday that he hopes will lessen the threat to
    farmers and fire-prone forests from one of the driest winters on
    record.
    The dry spell "has serious implications for the state's economy
    as our summer months are critical to agriculture, fishing and
    recreation," Kulongoski said at a news conference.
    Instead of the steady rains in lower elevations and heavy
    snowfall in the mountains that are normal for this time of year,
    Oregon has had one dry day after another.
    Barry Norris, technical services chief for the state Water
    Resources Department, said the state is facing a water year nearly
    as dry as 1977, which had set records for low snowpack.
    Snowpack conditions statewide now average 44 percent of normal,
    with forecasted streamflow for most of the state around 50 percent
    of normal.
    The drought is causing anxieties for many - among them growers
    and planners for the upcoming wildfire season.
    Kulongoski said the state Forestry Department will assemble a
    plan by April 1 - a month earlier than usual - for rounding up
    extra firefighting crews and obtaining equipment, such as air
    tankers for water drops.
    Kulongoski said the state is hampered by having all nine of its
    large Chinook National Guard helicopters, often used to battle
    forest fires, assigned to duty in the Middle East.
    The state's potential firefighting force also is reduced, he
    said, by having more than 1,000 Guard members serving in Iraq,
    Afghanistan and elsewhere.
    Kulongoski said he won't hesitate to seek federal help if needed
    for the wildfire season.
    "Oregon has and continues to make great contributions to the
    wars in Iraq and Afghanistan," Kulongoski said. "But if the
    safety of our forests, our citizens and our economy become
    threatened because we do not have the flight tools or the
    people-power to fight fires, I expect the federal government to
    take whatever steps necessary to make sure Oregon doesn't pay twice
    for our contributions."
    The governor said he will consider whether to declare a
    statewide drought emergency next week after getting a
    recommendation from the state Drought Council, a technical panel.
    "I expect any recommendation about how to proceed to position
    Oregon to tap every available resource from the federal, state and
    local levels so that we are doing everything we can to meet the
    water needs of our communities," Kulongoski said.
    He already has declared emergencies in Baker County, in Eastern
    Oregon, and Southern Oregon's Klamath County, a move that can give
    water users more flexibility to tap emergency water supplies.
    Similar requests for declarations are pending from several other
    counties.
    The governor urged the public to take steps to conserve water,
    even such small ones as planting spring flowers that don't need a
    lot of water and washing cars less often.
    Most important is heeding public officials' request to conserve,
    he said.
    The governor said his official Web site will give information
    including drought and fire plans, weekly updates on drought and
    wildfire conditions and water conservation and fire prevention
    strategies.
    Norris said use of some water in northeastern Oregon's Umatilla
    County already is being limited to holders of water rights
    established by 1905 or earlier, a step he said usually isn't taken
    until July. Oldest water rights have first preference when supplies
    dwindle.
    Power supplies and prices also could be affected.
    Bonneville Power Administration officials say the expected
    Columbia River streamflow at The Dalles will be about 66 percent of
    normal. The federal power marketing agency provides almost one-half
    of the electricity in the Pacific Northwest, mostly from federal
    dams along the Columbia and Snake rivers.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Kulongoski: http://governor.oregon.gov/
    Drought Monitor: http://www.drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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    NJ I take it your not in CA?
    EMT/FF

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  5. #5
    Sr. Information Officer NJFFSA16's Avatar
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    Wink

    You take it correctly. NJ is in NJ.
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  6. #6
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    HELENA (AP) - There is little hope that enough snow will fall
    this season to lift Montana out of the ongoing drought, speakers
    warned at the monthly meeting of the state's Drought Advisory
    Committee.
    "We're running out of time on the snowpack," Roy Kaiser, water
    supply specialist with the Natural Resources and Conservation
    Service in Bozeman, told the committee Tuesday. "Basically, we're
    now looking to rain."
    Kaiser said a storm that brought snow to Montana this week,
    lingered and may end up leaving 20 inches of snow in the mountains
    translates to 2 to 4 inches of moisture. It would take 11 inches of
    moisture - or more than 100 inches of snow - within the next three
    weeks to bring the snowpack to normal levels in the
    Sun-Teton-Marias river basin, Kaiser said.
    The committee also was told the lack of snow led to frost damage
    for winter wheat and raised concerns about a lack of water for
    irrigation and stock, as well as concerns about the upcoming
    wildfire season.
    Peggy Stringer of the federal Agricultural Statistics Service,
    said about 32 percent of the exposed winter wheat crop suffered
    heavy to moderate damage from freezing and drought, compared to 17
    percent in February 2004.
    Meanwhile, topsoil moisture necessary to grow crops was rated 85
    percent short or very short in February, compared to 34 percent a
    year ago.
    Stringer said the prolonged drought has reduced Montana's cattle
    inventory to 2.35 million head, the lowest since 1990. Ranchers in
    Fergus and Petroleum counties are selling off more cattle because
    of shortages of stock water, hay and pasture.
    Even if spring rains help crops, increase streamflows and lessen
    the fire danger, the impact of the ongoing drought will take years
    to reverse, Stringer said.
    In the short term, it would take six months of precipitation at
    100 percent to 150 percent of normal to end the drought, according
    to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
    But hydrologist Gina Loss of the National Weather Service said,
    "I don't think it's going to take care of all the accumulated
    effects we've seen over the past six to nine years."
    The dry winter months aren't a good sign for the fire season,
    but "what really lets us know is when we move into June and see
    what kind of moisture we're getting," said Ray Nelson of the
    Missoula-based Northern Rockies Interagency Fire Coordination
    Center.
    On the bright side, many reservoirs are at or above their normal
    storage levels, said NRCS's Kaiser. Spring rains could help carry
    irrigators and fisheries through the dry summer months.
    An exception is Clark Canyon Reservoir in southwestern Montana,
    which has only 40 percent of its normal storage.
    ---
    Information from: Great Falls Tribune,
    http://www.greatfallstribune.com

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  7. #7
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    Post

    SEATTLE (AP) - As states in the Pacific Northwest prepare for
    what forecasters say could be a very bad wildfire season, forest
    officials are asking whether the war in Iraq will crimp their
    ability to call on National Guard troops for fire duty.
    Guard units in some Northwest states have been returning home in
    recent months, but the concern now is whether they'll be released
    from federal service and ready to help fight fires in the region.
    Rose Davis, a spokeswoman for the National Interagency Fire
    Center in Boise, Idaho, said she's fielded many questions regarding
    the availability of the National Guard, but it's too soon to say if
    and where they'll be needed.
    Governors in several states are already rallying the troops.
    "The Pacific Northwest, including northern Idaho and western
    Montana, has pretty serious water and fuel issues, so the folks in
    those states are being wise to look at preplanning," Davis said.
    Wildland fires burned more than 155,000 acres in 2004 across
    Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington. A preliminary outlook this
    year shows above-normal fire potential in the Northwest.
    Gov. Brian Schweitzer asked the Pentagon to free up some of the
    1,500 Montana National Guard soldiers still on active duty because
    of the war in Iraq. Lt. Gen. H. Steven Blum, chief of the National
    Guard Bureau, said he couldn't do that, but he promised help from
    other states if Schweitzer requests it.
    U.S. operations in Iraq have stripped Montana of its 12 UH-60
    Black Hawks, which played critical roles in 2003 when wildfires in
    Montana burned more than 736,800 acres. This year, 10 Black Hawks
    remain in the Middle East and two are set to return but must
    undergo inspection and maintenance.
    The helicopters in the past were dispatched with 600-gallon
    buckets to drop water on fires, said Maj. Scott Smith, a Guard
    spokesman. A new option this year could be to use the Guard's four
    CH-47 Chinook helicopters, each capable of carrying a 2,000-gallon
    water bucket - but first, flight engineers will have to be trained
    to serve on each four-person crew.
    "It really is a matter of being prepared," said Holly
    Armstrong, a spokeswoman for Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski, who
    requested an assessment of National Guard resources available
    during the 2005 fire season.
    The bulk of Oregon's 8,000-plus soldiers have returned from
    overseas deployments. Its five Chinook helicopters have been
    deployed to Afghanistan, but 12 Black Hawk helicopters could be
    readily available, said Capt. Mike Braibish, spokesman for the
    Oregon National Guard.
    The state also launched a drought and fire Web site to serve as
    an information hub for the public, as well as for federal, state
    and local agencies to use in identifying water and fire conditions
    across Oregon.
    Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire in early March declared a
    drought emergency and ordered the National Guard to prepare for
    wildfire duty this summer. At her request, the Legislature passed a
    measure allowing the governor to activate the Guard so soldiers can
    be trained prior to deployment for emergencies such as wildfires.
    When responding to wildfires, the Department of Natural Resource
    relies first on its own employees, seasonal firefighters and
    contract crews, as well as inmates from the Corrections Department,
    said Janet Pearce, a spokeswoman with the department in Washington.
    "We're feeling fairly confident that we have enough available
    resources," she said. The National Guard would be used only when
    all other avenues are exhausted, and even then it would serve only
    a support role - setting up base camps and transporting
    firefighters.
    Most of Washington's 8,200 National Guardsmen will be available
    for state duty. However, the 81st Armor Brigade - with about 3,200
    soldiers normally called to respond to state emergencies - has been
    trickling back from Iraq in recent months, and the state's adjutant
    general has asked that it be the last deployed to fight fires.
    "Our last resort would be to call upon the services of someone
    who recently returned from Iraq," said Master Sgt. Jeff Clayton, a
    National Guard spokesman at Camp Murray.
    Instead, the 96th Troop Command in Tacoma has been earmarked as
    the other "big muscle group" to use if needed during the wildfire
    season, Clayton said.
    The 1,000-member group was identified during last year's fire
    season, after the 81st was first deployed to Iraq.
    The Guard for several weeks has been planning various stages of
    activation, from supplying limited transportation and logistics
    support to deploying soldiers on fight fires. It's something
    they've done since the 1994 record fire season when 1,500 Guardsmen
    had to work on the fire lines, said Clayton.
    "We're hoping for a mild fire season," he said. "We're
    planning for it to be a robust fire season."
    ---
    On the Net:
    National Interagency Fire Center:
    http://www.nifc.gov/index.html

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  8. #8
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    Post

    By BECKY BOHRER
    Associated Press Writer
    BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Wally Bennett remembers how it once was -
    going for eight, maybe 10 days on a fire assignment, then coming
    home with the battle won and much of the summer left.
    But in recent years, with the Western fire season becoming
    longer and the fires more intense, the demand for specialized
    incident management teams like his has grown, and so have the
    demands on team members.
    "And that gets to be quite a burden on the people," said
    Bennett, 58, who juggles his firefighter duties with a state job in
    Kalispell. "It's a major impact on your family."'
    Federal fire officials say it's getting harder to find
    experienced fire managers like Bennett who are willing to drop
    everything on a couple hours' notice to serve on the highly skilled
    teams used to confront the nation's most complex blazes.
    Retirements, disinterest and increased responsibilities at home
    and work are shrinking the number of people able, or willing, to
    work with top-level incident management teams. And, there are fewer
    of those teams now than 15 years ago.
    "Certainly, standing still isn't an option," said Tom Harbour,
    the director of fire and aviation for the U.S. Forest Service.
    An interagency report released earlier this year recommends,
    among other things, creating smaller, full-time teams focused on
    incident management - to ease the strain on the existing ones - and
    requiring federal land agency workers to get involved in fire
    management efforts.
    That was the expectation when Mike Lohrey started out more than
    30 years ago. While the expectation is still found in agency
    manuals, it is not being enforced, the report said.
    "We have to get back to saying, 'This is part of our duties,"'
    said Lohrey, who is with the U.S. Forest Service in Oregon.
    The study found a "skill gap" of workers ready to assume
    high-ranking incident management roles. It also cited a 2003 survey
    of upper tier incident management teams - area command, Type 1 and
    Type 2 teams - that indicated most members would need to be
    replaced in the next few years. Some of those gaps are now already
    being filled by retirees.
    Type 1 incident command teams carry about 30 members, including
    experts on planning, logistics, safety and finance. The teams take
    turns being on-call for complex wildfires and other emergencies,
    like hurricane relief, and need to be packed and ready to roll
    within two hours.
    Qualification takes years - sometimes the better part of a
    career.
    When Steve Frye began his firefighting career in 1966, he
    considered a 2,000-acre fire a big deal. Over the years, the fires
    have gotten larger and more complex, threatening communities and
    housing developments.
    Frye, who led a Type 1 team for nine years, saw both sides of
    the fight in the summer of 2003. While he was managing fires - and
    the armies of personnel fighting them - a blaze at Glacier National
    Park was threatening his own family's home.
    "I had great confidence in the teams here, but I can assure
    you, it was a very intense time for me," said Frye, the park's
    chief ranger.
    Frye stepped down as incident commander after last season,
    making way for another leader whose tenure Frye says may be cut
    short by work obligations.
    Incident management teams are not full-time jobs, though some
    years, it can seem that way to members like Phil Perkins. According
    to the report, the number of assignments for teams grew from an
    average of 2.5 before 1994 to 5.3 assignments in 2003. Non-fire
    events such as hurricane relief and the recovery of the shuttle
    Columbia also have demanded the teams' attention.
    Perkins, the fire management officer at Yellowstone National
    Park, said he missed his children's first day of school, when he
    was dealing with park fires in 1988. And, in recent summers, his
    assistant had to pick up some of his park duties.
    Harbour, who was part of the group that worked on the incident
    management report, said there is sufficient manpower to deal with
    what could be a busy wildfire season out West this summer. But he
    sees the proposals as offering a "more holistic approach to
    success in the future."
    A team of fire officials planned to meet to consider how the
    study's recommendations can be implemented. A report from the task
    group was expected this fall.
    ---
    On the Net:
    USDA Forest Service Fire and Aviation Management:
    http://www.fs.fed.us/fire

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  9. #9
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    Post From Boise...this update

    By CHRISTOPHER SMITH
    Associated Press Writer
    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Winter and spring rain patterns boosted the
    growth of grasses and low-lying vegetation - setting the stage for
    a worse than normal fire season in the Southwest, Northern Rockies
    and Alaska, federal wildfire forecasters say.
    "We are very concerned because we've had all the grass growth
    but the forests in the higher elevations of the Northwest and the
    Northern Rockies have missed out on all their snowpack," Rick
    Ochoa, the national fire weather program manager for the National
    Weather Service, said Wednesday.
    "Usually, when that snowpack gradually melts, you are basically
    watering the trees every day, but we're missing that this year."
    While the Rocky Mountain region had a dry winter and wet spring,
    the pattern flip-flopped in the Southwest. A wetter-than-normal
    winter caused flooding and mudslides in Arizona, New Mexico,
    southern Nevada and Southern California, followed by a dry spring.
    Much of the Southwest's vegetation has already dried,
    dramatically boosting fire potential.
    The fire season in the Northern Rockies could be marked by a
    wetter-than-average summer. "Storms usually mean lightning and
    that's where we get the ignition for most of our fires in this
    region," said Boise National Forest Fire and Aviation Officer Guy
    Pence.
    Forecasters at the Boise-based National Interagency Fire Center
    don't expect a repeat of last year's record-setting fire season in
    Alaska, when nearly 6.4 million acres were scorched. Ochoa said
    they anticipate higher-than-normal fire activity in the western
    Kenai Peninsula, however, where stands of spruce trees have been
    killed by insects.
    Excluding Alaska, last year was a relatively mild fire season in
    the West, burning 1.4 million acres, according to the U.S.
    Department of Interior.

    APTV 05-25-05 1942EDT
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  10. #10
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    Post

    By CHRISTOPHER SMITH
    Associated Press Writer
    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - With fresh snow blanketing mountaintops and
    unseasonably cool June temperatures around the West, federal
    forecasters are backing away from previous predictions of a
    busier-than-normal fire season.
    "Of course we are going to have a fire season, but the large
    fire danger has moderated and it's not going to be as dire as we
    first thought," said Larry Van Bussum, national fire weather
    operations coordinator for the National Weather Service.
    The Predictive Services Unit of the federal government's
    national wildfire coordination center here is expected to release
    its latest western fire season outlook Friday, downgrading previous
    "above normal" forecasts for much of the Pacific Northwest and
    Rockies to "normal."
    Fire-weather forecasters say the summer wildfire outlook for
    Washington and Oregon is being scaled back to normal, with the
    exception of the northwest Cascade Range and northeastern Oregon.
    In the Great Basin region, most of Nevada now is expected to have a
    normal fire season, while the critical danger in the Northern
    Rockies is expected primarily in the higher elevations of the Idaho
    Panhandle, western Montana and the Salmon and Challis areas of
    eastern and central Idaho.
    Fire-weather forecasters say their original projections were
    based on the dry winter experienced in many parts of the Northwest
    and Rockies, a trend reversed in the Southwest, where winter
    precipitation set records.
    The wet spring has eased much of the fire threat, and long-range
    forecasting models call for cooler and wetter-than-normal weather
    through June in the entire Northwest quadrant of the country, as
    well as northern California and western Montana.
    "Early in the season, the snowpacks and winter precipitation
    patterns were just dreadful," said Heath Hockenberry, National
    Weather Service fire program manager. "However, all that outlook
    can be basically canceled out by a wet June."
    Tuesday, a chilly Pacific storm moved through the interior West,
    dumping up to 8 inches of snow in the Wasatch Range of Utah. It
    came on the heels of another wild winter-like blast - complete with
    two tornadoes - in Wyoming's Bighorn Basin that forced state
    highway officials to put snowplow trucks back into service to clear
    several inches of slushy hail and snow from roadways late last
    week.
    "In much of western Oregon right now, we've already had a
    month's worth of rain, so the normal precipitation for June has
    already fallen," said Oregon State Climatologist George Taylor in
    Corvallis, Ore. "In the Northwest, it's dry enough every year for
    fires, but the biggest variable we've seen is the number of dry
    lightning storms, which tends to make for a bad fire year."
    Precipitation during May and early June has moistened the
    rotting logs and fallen timber that fuels catastrophic fires.
    Forecasters say continued cool temperatures have helped retain that
    moisture into a period when fuel loads would normally be drying
    out.
    Ninety-degree days are frequent in southwestern Idaho by
    mid-June, but Boise-area temperatures have been 5-to-10 degrees
    below normal and the trend could challenge the existing record for
    the latest appearance of the first 90-degree-day of the summer, set
    on July 6, 1953.
    "Traditionally, there's a decent, consistent path toward
    90-degree weather that begins in June," said Hockenberry. "But
    we're definitely not seeing that."

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  11. #11
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    Post

    By BOB ANEZ
    Associated Press Writer
    MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Agriculture Undersecretary Mark Rey said
    Friday he does not share Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer's concerns
    that there won't be enough National Guard troops or aircraft to
    help fight summer wildfires in the state this year.
    Rey, in Missoula to visit with officials from a private air
    tanker contractor, said he believes the Forest Service will have
    enough military personnel and aircraft available to help fight
    summer fires.
    In March, Schweitzer asked the military to return some of the
    1,500 National Guard soldiers, along with 10 Guard helicopters,
    from service overseas, including in Iraq. Schweitzer cited fears of
    a major summer wildfire season and a lack of personnel to fight the
    flames.
    The troops often are called upon to supplement firefighters, and
    Schweitzer said he feared the Guard members' absence during the
    fire season could be catastrophic.
    Rey, who directs U.S. Forest Service policy for the USDA, said
    the Defense Department has committed two battalions of 1,000
    soldiers each to firefighting this year, and they've undergone fire
    training and will be available to help.
    "We have adequate aviation assets available to us, not
    including the National Guard helicopters," he said. "We think we
    can backfill so that the lack of the National Guard helicopters is
    not a problem."
    Rey's comments came during a tour of Neptune Aviation's aerial
    tanker facility in Missoula. The company is partnering with the
    Canadian airplane manufacturer Bombardier to develop a new family
    of aerial firefighting tankers.
    The plan is to convert 37-passenger commercial aircraft made by
    Bombardier into tankers capable of carrying about 1,600 gallons of
    fire retardant.
    "You have to come up with a modern platform in this industry if
    you want to continue fighting fires, and there aren't many
    options," said Mark Timmons, owner and chief executive officer of
    Neptune.
    Rey said the Forest Service realizes the need for alternative
    craft for fighting fires from the air, but added that a lot of work
    needs to be done to develop and certify new aircraft for that use.
    "We are in a period of transition to the next generation of
    heavy air tankers," he said. "So we are interested in any of the
    options that are currently being explored by people in this
    business."
    Timmons predicted it may be a year before the new tankers would
    be available because of the lengthy development and certification
    process.
    He plans to start with two of the Dash-8 Q200 planes from
    Bombardier and expects the cost of buying and modifying the craft
    will be about $4 million each. Tanks will be installed inside the
    passenger compartments.
    Neptune, one of the largest tanker operators hired by the Forest
    Service, hopes to eventually phase out the old P-2V Navy planes
    that are the core of the Neptune fleet and replace them with the
    smaller Bombardier models, Timmons said.

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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  12. #12
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    8,434

    Post Update-western US fires

    Facts about wildfires burning more than ten-thousand acres in the
    U-S as of 8:30 a.m. Eastern.

    ARIZONA

    Florida Fire
    -- Evacuations are in effect for Madera Canyon.
    -- Special attention is being paid to structures in Madera
    Canyon and the Mt. Hopkins Observatory.
    -- Located eleven miles southwest of Green Valley.
    -- Blaze covers 22-thousand acres.
    -- Fifty percent contained.
    -- Cost estimated at 6.5 (m) million dollars.
    -- Officials are not giving an estimated date for containment.

    NEW MEXICO

    Fork Fire
    -- Covers 12-thousand acres.
    -- Cost estimated at 1.4 (m) million dollars.

    Johnson Fire
    -- Covers 11-thousand 600 acres.
    -- Cost estimated at 895-thousand dollars.

    Black Range Complex Fire
    -- Covers over 70-thousand acres.
    -- Cost estimated at two (m) million dollars.

    NEVADA

    Esmerelda Fire
    -- Located 46 miles northeast of Battle Mountain, Nevada.
    -- Covers 61-thousand acres.
    -- This fire is ten percent contained.
    -- Officials estimate the fire will be contained on July 21.

    Wilson Complex Fire
    -- Covers 16-thousand acres.
    -- Structures are threatened.
    -- It is not clear when the fire will be contained.

    IDAHO

    Clover Fire
    -- The fire is located 30 miles south of Hammett, Idaho.
    -- Covers 180-thousand acres.
    -- It is approximately 30 percent contained.
    -- Fire officials estimate the fire will be contained by July
    20.
    -- Cost estimated at 350-thousand dollars.

    West Gilson Fire
    -- The fire is located seven miles north of Leamington, Idaho.
    -- Covers 15-thousand acres.
    -- Containment is estimated at 60 percent.
    -- Fire officials expect to fully contain the fire today.
    -- Cost estimated at 400-thousand dollars.

    ALASKA

    Boundary Creek Fire
    -- Covers 10-thousand acres.
    -- Is approximately five percent contained.
    -- It is not known when the fire will be fully contained.
    -- The fire started on Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act land
    six miles southeast of Eagle, Alaska.
    -- Cabins and outbuildings remain threatened.
    -- Cost estimated at 400-thousand dollars.

    Fox Creek Fire
    -- Covers 31-thousand 100 acres.
    -- Fire is located 35 miles southeast of Soldotna, Alaska.
    -- Cost estimated at 238-thousand dollars.


    QUOTE
    "We're in for a hot, dangerous year."
    -- California Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi.

    (Source: National Interagency Fire Center)

    On the Web: http://www.nifc.gov
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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    Post July 20th

    By P. SOLOMON BANDA
    Associated Press Writer
    KIOWA, Colo. (AP) - A fast-moving wildfire forced the evacuation
    of about 50 homes near Denver on Wednesday as flames blackened a
    landscape of rolling grasslands and ponderosa pines.
    Deputies went door-to-door warning residents to leave a cluster
    of houses about 25 miles southeast of Denver. Two air tankers were
    dropping fire-retardant on the 800-acre blaze.
    "It's doubling in size every two hours," Elbert County Sheriff
    Bill Frangis said. One firefighter suffered a heat-related injury,
    and one horse was burned, he said.
    Fire crews worked quickly, containing the blaze by late evening.
    "They got on it fast," said Larry Helmerick of the Rocky
    Mountain Area Coordination Center.
    Only two homes remained threatened. Officials were slowly
    allowing people to return home, but most remained evacuated. It was
    not known how the fire started.
    Residents said small fires started by lightning were common in
    the area, where homes occupy lots up to 60 acres. Many property
    owners are experienced in putting the blazes out themselves.
    Hank Smith said he spent about two hours throwing dirt on the
    fire to stop it from advancing. He got so close, he said, that
    "when I pushed my glasses up, it burned my eyebrows."
    Eleven fire departments battled the flames, which were being
    driven by winds of 10 to 15 mph that authorities feared could
    strengthen to 30 to 35 mph.
    Firefighters were hampered by relentless heat. Denver reached
    105 on Wednesday, tying the all-time record for hottest day, set on
    Aug. 8, 1878, according to the National Weather Service. It was the
    second straight day of triple-digit temperatures, far above the
    normal highs in the upper 80s.
    Elsewhere Wednesday, fire crews battled two blazes near Mesa
    Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado and braced for the
    possibility that lightning could spark new blazes.
    Fire information officer Jen Chase said trees were so dry that
    the probability of lightning starting a fire was 100 percent, and
    any new fires were likely to spread quickly.
    A nearly 200-acre lightning-caused fire on the Ute Mountain Ute
    Indian reservation was 70 percent contained, and a second blaze on
    the reservation covering 2,318 acres was 85 percent contained.
    Crews used tactics to avoid damaging fragile archaeological
    sites and artifacts, dropping retardant from the air.
    Archaeological treasures on the reservation rival those at Mesa
    Verde National Park, said Tom Rice, the tribe's resource adviser.
    They include cliff dwellings, petroglyphs, stone tools and pottery.
    In southern Arizona, a 22,500-acre fire was about 75 percent
    contained, thanks to burnouts and heavy rain, lessening the threat
    to about 30 homes and cabins and wildlife habitat in Madera Canyon.
    Full containment of the blaze was expected by Thursday evening,
    said fire spokeswoman Donna Nemeth.
    In northern California, firefighters contained a wind-blown
    wildfire that grew to more than 10,000 acres early Wednesday but
    burned past a nuclear weapons laboratory and some 500 homes without
    causing major damage, said Chopper Snyder, a California Department
    of Forestry dispatcher.
    The fire left the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
    untouched after an initial scare. Officials at the lab had declared
    an emergency, allowing other agencies to help protect an
    experimental test site at the facility.
    In Oregon, firefighters battled a 5,000-acre blaze on the Warm
    Springs Indian Reservation. The fire was not threatening any homes,
    but "it's got an awful lot of potential," said Gary Cooke, fire
    administrator for the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs.
    Rafting along the nearby Deschutes River had been suspended, but
    by Wednesday officials allowed rafters to return. Monitors stood on
    the banks with bullhorns to help rafters stay out of the way of
    helicopters that dipped for water.
    The National Interagency Fire Center said 36 large fires were
    active Wednesday in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho,
    Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. Nearly 3.9
    million acres of land has been burned so far this year, compared
    with 4.4 million at this time last year.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Interagency Center: http://www.nifc.gov/

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
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    Post

    By SHANNON DININNY
    Associated Press Writer
    YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) - Fire managers in the Pacific Northwest
    warned that the spring's heavy rains wouldn't prevent the summer
    wildfire season - only delay it.
    Now, like tardy students late for homeroom, the fires are here,
    and officials say the season could extend well into September in
    some particularly parched areas.
    "It is later. It's not canceled," said Rose Davis, spokeswoman
    for the National Interagency Fire Center, based in Boise, Idaho.
    "Although we got that moisture in spring, you can't undo the
    drought in one year."
    On Wednesday, the center listed fire danger as very high to
    extreme in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wyoming.
    Of 35 large active fires burning in the country, 25 were in the
    Pacific Northwest or Northern Rockies.
    The risk also was very high for parts of Arizona, California,
    Nevada and New Mexico, though the fire season is generally winding
    down in the Southwest, where it begins earlier and then faces
    summer rains.
    So far this year, the number of fires across the West is below
    the 10-year average, but the number of acres burned is higher. A
    wet spring and early summer led to dramatic growth of fuels such as
    grasses and brush, which burn more quickly, Davis said.
    "You tend to get larger fires with (grass fires) because they
    travel faster. Those are the kinds of fires we're seeing so far
    this year," Davis said.
    In Washington state, plants gone brittle from drought crunch
    underfoot. Campfire restrictions have been imposed on state and
    federal lands, and some recreation areas have been closed to the
    public.
    "Typically, in a normal year, we do a gradual restriction on
    campfires," said Bette Cooney, spokeswoman for the Naches Ranger
    District in Washington's Wenatchee National Forest. "But this year
    is a different year. Things are just really, really dry."
    Gov. Brian Schweitzer declared an emergency for wildfire danger
    in Montana, authorizing National Guard pilots to begin training to
    fight wildfires. They could be activated if local, state or
    commercial pilots aren't available.
    In Arizona, the wildfire season has been among the worst ever,
    based solely on acreage. Fires have burned mostly desert grasses,
    consuming vast acreage but relatively little timber and few homes.
    One fire alone in 2002, for example, destroyed about 465 homes;
    this year the count of burned homes from all fires is fewer than
    50.
    Similarly, the largest fire in the Northwest this week was
    burning largely in grass and wheat, but moving into timber. The
    fire exploded from 150 acres to about 32,000 acres, aided by winds
    that pushed it from gullies to dryland wheat fields and toward the
    Umatilla National Forest in southeastern Washington. It eventually
    consumed 41,000 acres and more than 100 homes - mostly recreational
    cabins.
    The fire was one of several in the West raising concerns, in
    part because forests have largely been spared so far this year.
    "We had a really wet spring. It was long, it was cool, it was
    wonderful. So we didn't really have a steady drying of things,"
    said John Townsley, fire information officer for the Northwest
    Interagency Coordination Center in Portland, Ore.
    "But there are some places ... where if the weather conditions
    continue to be warm and we have some good winds, we could still see
    some pretty good-sized fires."
    ---
    On the Net:
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/

    (Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

  15. #15
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    Default September 5th

    By CHRISTOPHER SMITH
    Associated Press Writer
    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Wildfire experts have come across a seeming
    contradiction this summer: While the number of acres charred across
    the West is almost double the 10-year average, the blazes haven't
    been as big or devastating as those in past years.
    Experts say that's due to the unusual moisture patterns in the
    region earlier this year, which favored big grass fires on the open
    range. Timber in the mountains got more moisture than usual well
    into the summer, keeping forest fires small.
    And fate has played a role.
    "It's sort of like Swiss cheese. All the holes have not lined
    up at the same time," said Tom Wordell, a wildland fire analyst
    for the U.S. Forest Service and leader of the multiagency group of
    scientists and meteorologists that predicts fire danger around the
    nation.
    "To get a big fire, you need high temperatures, low relative
    humidity, dry fuels and winds all aligned on the same day," said
    Wordell. "We haven't seen that much this year, yet our overall
    acreage burned is much higher than in the past."
    According to the National Interagency Fire Center, over 7.8
    million acres - more than 11,000 square miles - have burned in the
    U.S. since May. About half of that was in Alaska, where large fires
    often are not fought aggressively if they pose no threat to people
    or structures.
    With the 2005 wildfire season two-thirds over, the number of
    fires is down - about 46,000 compared to the 10-year average of
    63,000 - and the number of firefighters suppressing the blazes has
    been lower than in recent years. Yet the total acreage burned is
    nearly double the 4 million acres that burned on average through
    late August over the past decade.
    Analysts say the primary reason for the higher-than-average fire
    acreage this year is huge range fires that burned in the Southwest
    and Great Basin, where a wet winter allowed fine grasses and
    vegetation to flourish. Those "flashy" fuels then dried and cured
    early in the dry spring, inviting the spread of range fires as
    summer approached.
    "Earlier this season, when we knew we had large fine-fuel
    loading, one of the sage old firefighters said to me, 'Man, the
    fires are going to be in the deserts this year and not the
    mountains.' And that's been the case," said Brad Smith, a Texas
    Forest Service fire behavior analyst.
    Many of the range fires have been epic in size and speed. A
    blaze in late July in southwestern Idaho at one point was burning
    500 acres an hour. It eventually blackened an area 35 miles wide
    and 10 miles across.
    Despite their size, though, the range fires have frequently
    burned in areas far from civilization and have caused relatively
    little structural damage.
    "I'm always cautious to downplay range fires because if it's
    your ranch building or grazing allotment that got burned up it's
    pretty important," said Wordell, head of the National Predictive
    Services Group at the Interagency Fire Center.
    "But timber fires require a lot more people, equipment, time
    and money to put out, and so far even when we've had lightning
    ignition, we didn't get the large fire initiation."
    The primary reason for this year's lack of huge timber fires -
    the 100,000-plus-acre blazes that make national headlines - is the
    moisture retained by trees and foliage in the higher elevations of
    the Cascades, the Sierra Nevada and the Northern Rockies, captured
    during an unusually long, wet spring.
    "We're just not seeing significant spread through the alpine
    zones" because of the moist fuels, said Jack Cohen, a research
    physical scientist for the U.S. Forest Service's fire sciences
    laboratory in Missoula, Mont. "The fire is abating as it burns in
    these areas."
    Between the moist timber in the high mountains and the fine dry
    grasses on the desert range lies the greatest potential for
    catastrophic blazes in the remainder of this season, fire analysts
    say.
    Mid-elevation woodlands with a heavy buildup of dry, dead
    material on the forest floor mixed with open areas that have heavy
    grass and shrubs are yielding higher than average "energy release
    components" - a measure of the available energy that would be
    released in the flaming front of a fire.
    "In the area that runs from Northern California through central
    and eastern Oregon on into central Idaho, we are seeing energy
    release components that are setting records," said Wordell.
    ---
    On the Net:
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/
    Wildfire Acres Burned:
    http://www.fs.fed.us/news/fire/acres.shtml
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
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