Friday, September 27, 2019

Arson suspect, Missouri man flies to California, sets 13 wildfires, then tries to fly home, cops say

Officials say Freddie Graham, 68, flew from Missouri to set a number of wildfires in California.
Freddie Graham, 68, arrested Monday

A Missouri man flew to California, spent two days setting wildfires, then tried to fly home, officials say. He was arrested Monday.

Freddie Graham, 68, hopped on a flight from Missouri to San Jose last Thursday, KPIX reported. After renting a car, he spent the next two days setting fires as he drove the “narrow, windy roads” between Ed Levin Park and the Calaveras Reservoir in the foothills near San Jose, Deputy District Attorney Bud Porter said.

Officials say Graham would light pieces of paper on fire and then toss them out of his window as he drove, The East Bay Times reported. He’s believed to have set at least 13 fires — four on Friday and nine on Saturday — which are collectively referred to as the Reservoir Fire, officials say.

It took hours for firefighters to put out Friday’s blazes, officials say, but Saturday’s proved even more tenacious, taking firefighters the rest of the weekend to extinguish them, The East Bay Times reported. The fire burned more than 128 acres, though no injuries or damaged structures were reported.

Officials were alerted to Graham’s alleged involvement when a witness noticed his rental car near the blazes and took note of the license plate, KPIX reported.

“But for that Good Samaritan coming forward with the license plate, this crime probably would never have been solved,” Porter said, according to The East Bay Times.

Graham was arrested Monday while trying to return his rental car at the San Jose airport, according to NBC Bay Area.

Graham is charged with a number of offenses including 13 felony counts of arson of brushland, as well as two charges related to committing arson during a state of emergency, NBC Bay Area reported.

If he’s convicted of all charges, Graham faces up to 22 years in prison, KPIX reported. His bail is set at $2 million and he’s scheduled to enter a plea on Sept. 30.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

CAL FIRE Announces Availability of Funding for Projects that Proactively Address Fire Prevention and Forest Health


Scott McLean
Deputy Chief of Communications
(916) 651-FIRE (3473)
September 26, 2019

CAL FIRE Announces Availability of Funding for Projects that Proactively Address Fire Prevention and Forest Health

Sacramento – The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) announced the availability of over $80 million for Forest Health and Fire Prevention projects. CAL FIRE is soliciting applications for projects that work to proactively prevent catastrophic wildfires and restore forests to healthy, functioning ecosystems while also sequestering carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

CAL FIRE’s Forest Health Grant Program seeks to significantly increase reforestation, fuels management, fire reintroduction, and treatment of degraded areas. An additional $7 million will be available through the Forest Legacy Program to conserve environmentally important forest land threatened with conversion to non-forest uses, and up to $2 million will be available specifically for applied research examining forest management and health.

CAL FIRE’s Fire Prevention Grant Program seeks to fund local projects that address the risk of wildfire and reduce wildfire potential to communities in, and adjacent to, forested areas. Qualified activities include hazardous fuel reduction, fire prevention planning and fire prevention education with an emphasis on improving public health and safety.
Find more information and sign up for announcements at

Official Call for Applications:

Fire Prevention Program: The call for applications opened on September 25, 2019 and will be due by 3:00 PM on December 4, 2019.

Forest Health Program: The call for applications will open on September 27 and will be due by 3:00 PM on December 6, 2019.

Public workshops will be held throughout California starting September 30; additional recorded webinars will be made available online.

These grant programs are part of California Climate Investments, a statewide program that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment– particularly in disadvantaged communities.

These programs serve to complement the 35 priority fuels reduction and fire prevention projects that CAL FIRE has undertaken at the direction of Governor Gavin Newson. They also complement the State Forest Carbon Plan, which seeks to increase the ability of our forests to capture carbon and improve forest health.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sequoia National Forest: Wildland Fire #Schaeffer Fire west of Corral Meadow on the Kern Plateau. (Map) #Cafire #SQFfire

Sequoia National Forest, Forest Fire Name: Schaeffer Fire

Sequoia National Forest Schaeffer Fire Location Map
Location: Schaeffer Fire is located within the old McNally Fire scar, west of Corral Meadow on the Kern Plateau.
Suppression tactics include utilizing natural barriers and handlines in this heavy snag patch to minimize firefighter exposure.
Sequoia Nat'l Forest on Twitter
@sequoiaforest --- #Schaeffer Fire

Sequoia National Forest
Supervisors Office
1839 S. Newcomb
Porterville, CA 93257
(559) 784-1500
M-F 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m
Closed for lunch between 12:00 - 12:30 PM
TDD. 559.781.6650

Stanislaus National Forest plans prescribed burn: Moore-Bellfour Underburn Calaveras Ranger District

Stanislaus National Forest plans prescribed burn for resource and public benefit on Calaveras Ranger District

Moore-Bellfour Underburn project map.
This project is a planned prescribed burn. Please do not report as a wildfire.
SONORA, Calif. — The Stanislaus National Forest provides the following information about planned prescribed burns on the forest.
Prescribed Fire Name / Ranger District: Moore-Bellfour Underburn, Calaveras Ranger District
General and Specific Location: Project area is located along Forest Road 7N09 (Cabbage Patch Road) south of Salt Springs Reservoir.  Township 7 North, Range 16 East, Section 12 Smoke may be visible from Hwy. 4 and in the surrounding communities. Fire managers are working closely with local air districts and the California Air Resources Board to mitigate the effects of smoke on the public. View the project map.
This project is a planned prescribed burn. Please do not report as a wildfire.
Projected Duration: The prescribed burn may begin Sept. 12 and continue through fall as long as conditions allow.  Burning is contingent on weather, fuel moisture, and air quality.  All burning is monitored and conducted in accordance with state and county air quality guidelines and closely coordinated with local county air quality control districts  
Planned Size of Prescribed Burn: Project area includes between 300 and 800 acres. Burn units may be ignited in blocks throughout the fall. The size of these blocks will vary based on environmental conditions and smoke production.     
Type of Prescribed Burn: Underburn
Burn Project Objectives: Prescribed low-intensity fires enhance wildlife habitat, protect and maintain water quality and soil productivity, improve forest ecosystem health, and reduce the threat of uncontrolled conflagrations. The Sierra Nevada is a fire dependent ecosystem, where fire is a critical part of the natural forest process and helps to maintain resilient forests.
Public Benefits: Prescribed burning is an effective, cost efficient method of reducing the buildup of flammable forest fuels, both ground fuels and ladder fuels; reducing the threat of uncontrolled, large and damaging wildland fires and improving firefighting capabilities.
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Thursday, September 12, 2019

NTSB: Marine Preliminary Report: California Boat(Conception) Fire, Santa Cruz Island

 Marine Preliminary Report: California Boat Fire, Santa Cruz Island
The National Transportation Safety Board released a preliminary report on the September 2, 2019, marine accident involving the 75-foot commercial diving vessel Conception. The vessel was anchored in Platts Harbor off Santa Cruz Island, 21.5 nautical miles south-southwest of Santa Barbara, when it caught fire. Thirty-three passengers and one crewmember died.

Preliminary Report: Marine DCA19MM047

Executive Summary

The information in this preliminary report is subject to change and may contain errors. It will be supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation.
Preaccident photo of Conception 
Pre Accident photo of Conception. (Source: Truth Aquatics)

On Monday, September 2, 2019, about 3:14 a.m. Pacific daylight time, US Coast Guard Sector Los Angeles/Long Beach received a distress call from the 75-foot commercial diving vessel Conception, with 39 persons on board. The Conception was owned and operated by Truth Aquatics, Inc., based in Santa Barbara, California. The Conception was classified by the Coast Guard as a small passenger vessel that took passengers on dive excursions in the waters around the Channel Islands off the coast of Santa Barbara. The accident voyage was a three-day diving trip to the Channel Islands. On the last night of the voyage, the vessel was anchored in Platts Harbor off Santa Cruz Island, 21.5 nautical miles south-southwest of Santa Barbara, when it caught fire. Weather conditions were reported as slight to no winds with patchy fog, 2–3-foot seas, and air and water temperature about 65°F. The Conception was carrying 39 persons, 6 of which were crew. Thirty-three passengers and one crewmember died.
The wood and fiberglass vessel was built in 1981. The vessel had three levels: the uppermost sun deck, containing the wheelhouse and crew rooms; the main deck, which included the salon and galley; and the lower deck within the hull, which housed the passenger berthing (bunkroom) and shower room, as well as the engine room and tanks.
Initial interviews of three crewmembers revealed that no mechanical or electrical issues were reported. At the time of the fire, five crewmembers were asleep in berths behind the wheelhouse, and one crewmember was asleep in the bunkroom, which was accessed from the salon down a ladderwell in the forward, starboard corner of the compartment. The bunkroom had an emergency escape hatch located on the aft end, which also exited to the salon. There were two, locally-sounding smoke detectors in the overhead of the bunkroom.  
A crewmember sleeping in the wheelhouse berths was awakened by a noise and got up to investigate. He saw a fire at the aft end of the sun deck, rising up from the salon compartment below. The crewmember alerted the crew behind the wheelhouse. As crewmembers awoke, the captain radioed a distress message to the Coast Guard.
The crewmembers attempted to access the salon and passengers below. Unable to use the aft ladder, which was on fire, the crewmembers jumped down to the main deck (one crewmember broke his leg in the process) and tried to access the salon and galley compartment, which was fully engulfed by fire at the aft end and by thick smoke in the forward end, through a forward window. Unable to open the window and overwhelmed by smoke, the crew jumped overboard.
Two crewmembers and the captain swam to the stern, reboarded the vessel, opened the hatch to the engine room, and saw no fire. Access to the salon through the aft doors was blocked by fire, so they launched a small skiff and picked up the remaining two crewmembers in the water. They transferred to a recreational vessel anchored nearby (Grape Escape) where the captain continued to radio for help, while two crewmembers returned to the Conception to search for survivors around the burning hull. Local Coast Guard and fire departments arrived on scene to extinguish the fire and conduct search and rescue. The vessel burned to the waterline by morning and subsequently sank in about 60 feet of water.
 Later that day, the Coast Guard declared the accident a major marine casualty. The NTSB was named as the lead federal agency for the safety investigation and launched a full team to Santa Barbara, arriving on scene the following morning. The Coast Guard, Truth Aquatics, Inc., Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, and Santa Barbara County Fire Department were named as parties to the NTSB investigation.
Investigators have collected documents from recent Coast Guard inspections and visited another Truth Aquatics vessel, Vision, a vessel similar to the Conception. Salvage operations to bring the wreckage to the surface for examination and documentation have begun. Investigators plan to examine current regulations regarding vessels of this type, year of build, and operation; early-warning and smoke-detection and alarm systems; evacuation routes; training; and current company policies and procedures. Efforts continue to determine the source of the fire.

Probable Cause

​​The information in this preliminary report is subject to change and may contain errors. It will be supplemented or corrected during the course of the investigation.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Dunsmuir man Jason A. Tobey, age 46, was sentenced to two years of probation and a $500 fine after threatening to shoot a firefighting helicopter

Jason A. Tobey, age 46, was sentenced to two years of probation and a $500 fine, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the United States Attorney.
A Dunsmuir man who lives near the Mott Airport was found guilty last week of one count of threatening, intimidating, and interfering with a forest officer after threatening to shoot a firefighting helicopter out of the sky last year.
Jason A. Tobey, age 46, was sentenced to two years of probation and a $500 fine, according to a press release from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the United States Attorney.
The verdict and sentence is the result of a one-day bench trial held on May 9 at the District Courthouse in Redding.
According to evidence presented at trial, in Sept. 2018, Tobey confronted a U.S. Forest Service employee multiple times threatening to shoot down helicopters that were assisting with efforts to fight the Delta Fire while it burned in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, according to the press release.
The Forest Service was using Mott Airport in Dunsmuir as a helibase in accordance with an agreement with the city and Siskiyou County. The helicopters were performing tasks such as infrared mapping to assist firefighters on the ground. Tobey lived adjacent to the airport and was angry about the helicopters’ flight path.
The Justice Department said Tobey told a Forest Service employee and a flight crew member that he was going to “shoot those [expletive referring to helicopters] out of the sky if I have to.” The following day Tobey returned to the airport gate after a helicopter landed and told the same Forest Service employee, “Did I not [expletive] make myself clear yesterday, or am I out of my [expletive] mind?”
Evidence at trial showed that pilots altered their preferred flight paths as a direct result of Tobey’s multiple threats. The judge rejected Tobey’s contention that his threats were protected by the First Amendment because threats to commit an unlawful act of violence like those made by Tobey are designed to intimidate and are not protected by the First Amendment, the release said.
Federal law prohibits threatening to damage, destroy, or disable any aircraft in the special aircraft jurisdiction of the United States with the apparent will and determination to carry out the threat, the release states.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

CA-YNP: Yosemite National Park Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Yosemite National Park
Fire Information Office

Yosemite National Park Stage 1 Fire Restrictions

Tuesday, August 20th, 2019

Yosemite National Park is experiencing high fire danger, along with continued hot and dry weather patterns. Due to the current and predicted fire conditions and fire behavior, the Superintendent of Yosemite National Park will be implementing Stage I fire restrictions until further notice is given.

By order of the Superintendent of Yosemite National Park and under authority of Title 36, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 2.13(c):

•No building, maintaining, attending or using a fire (including campfire, cooking fire, and charcoal fires) within Yosemite National Park below 6,000 feet in elevation. Portable stoves using pressurized gas, liquid fuel or propane are permitted, as are alcohol stoves, including tablet/cube stoves. Twig stoves are not permitted. 

•No smoking below 6,000 feet except within an enclosed vehicle, a campground or picnic area where wood and charcoal fires are allowed or in a designated smoking area. All public buildings, public areas of Concession buildings (including restrooms), other areas as posted and within 25 feet of any non-single family residential building remain closed to smoking at all times.

•Campfires and cooking fires may still be used in designated campgrounds and picnic areas in developed portions of the park in accordance with park regulations.

Designated Campgrounds: Upper Pines, Lower Pines, North Pines, Yellow Pines, Camp 4, Wawona, Bridalveil Creek, Hodgdon Meadow, Crane Flat, Tamarack Flat, White Wolf, Yosemite Creek, Porcupine Flat, Tuolumne Meadows

Designated Picnic Areas: Lembert Dome, Tenaya Lake, Yosemite Creek, Wawona, Mariposa Grove, Glacier Point, Cascade, El Capitan, Cathedral Beach, Sentinel Beach, Swinging Bridge, Housekeeping Camp, Church Bowl, and Lower Yosemite Falls.

•Campfires and cooking fires may still be used in residential areas in developed portions of the park in accordance with park regulation.

Residential Areas include: Wawona, El Portal, Yosemite Valley, Hodgdon Meadow, Foresta, Aspen Valley, and Tuolumne Meadows

There are no administrative exemptions to this order. Notice of closure will be posted and areas will be monitored to ensure compliance. This designation will remain in place until rescinded.

Fire restrictions reduce the probability of an accidental fire that could threaten visitors and employees during times of high fire danger.

For information on current fire restrictions go to:

For information planning your visit in Yosemite National Park visit :

Thursday, August 1, 2019

U.S. Forest Service - Shasta-Trinity National Forest Fire restrictions

U.S. Forest Service - Shasta-Trinity National Forest Fire restrictions

In response to the continuing drying conditions and increasing potential risk of wildfire across the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, the Forest Supervisor has decided to implement fire restrictions on August 1, 2019. Restrictions include:

Restrictions include:

1. No fires outside designated sites. Designated sites include developed recreation sites and designated fire safe sites. Please refer to the list of designated sites available for free at forest offices.

2. No Smoking, except in an enclosed vehicle, building, or at a developed recreation site or designated fire safe site.

3. No Operation of internal combustion engines, except below the high waterline on Shasta Lake, Trinity Lake, and Iron Canyon Reservoir or on designated National Forest System roads or trails. Please refer to the 2014 Shasta-Trinity National Forest Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) available for free at offices or online at

4. No welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with an open flame.

Portable stoves and lanterns using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel are allowed with a valid California campfire permit. Campfire permits are free and available at all Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and CAL FIRE offices, Campground Hosts, Forest Service field personnel and online at Please note that a printer must be connected and available to print out the online permit.

Generator operation is allowed if the generator has a working Forest Service-approved spark arrestor, all flammable material is cleared away from the generator for a minimum of five feet in all directions and a responsible person is in attendance at all times. Chainsaw operation to cut fuelwood is allowed when operated in accordance with Shasta-Trinity National Forest fuelwood cutting permit regulations.

Areas exempted from these fire restrictions include the shorelines of Shasta Lake, Trinity Lake and Iron Canyon Reservoir that are at least 50 feet from any flammable vegetation and within 10 feet of the water’s edge.
Forest Fire Restrictions Map

Shasta-Trinity National Forest Fire Restrictions Map

Other areas exempt from fire restrictions include the Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel, Chanchelulla, and Castle Crags Wilderness Areas. Most of the Trinity Alps Wilderness is also exempt, except for three high elevation watershed areas within the Wilderness

(please refer to Order 14-19-03 Campfires are never allowed in the Mt. Shasta Wilderness Area (Order 14-59/61-31

To view an online version of the Forest Order implementing fire restrictions visit

CAL FIRE CZU Prescribed Burn Planned for Thursday

CAL FIRE Prescribed Burn Planned for Thursday
12-acre prescribed burn near the intersection of Empire Grade Road and Jamison Creek Road in northern Santa Cruz County

FELTON – The Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) San Mateo – Santa Cruz Unit will conduct a 12-acre prescribed burn near the intersection of Empire Grade Road and Jamison Creek Road in northern Santa Cruz County on August 1, 2019. 

The prescribed burn will be conducted between the hours of 08:00 am and 4:00 pm, but smoke may be noticed in the area for about one to two days following the burn. The project is being conducted in accordance with a Smoke Management Permit issued by the Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District in order to minimize the smoke impacts on surrounding communities.

This burn is being conducted as part of the CAL FIRE Vegetation Management Program and is intended to reduce fuel accumulations and restore and enhance grassland. 

Prescribed vegetation management burns are carefully planned controlled burns that must meet a predefined set of conditions (prescription) in order to achieve ideal fire behavior. No burning takes place if weather and fuel conditions are not within prescription. When optimal conditions are met, trained wildland firefighters manage the burn while monitoring the weather, smoke dispersal, fire behavior and designated fire control lines.

CAL FIRE CZU is responsible for wildland fire protection on State Responsibility Area (SRA) lands throughout San Mateo and Santa Cruz Counties. In addition, CAL FIRE CZU provides fire, rescue and paramedic services under contract to Coastside Fire Protection District, San Mateo County Fire Department, Santa Cruz County Fire Department, and Pajaro Valley Fire Protection District. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

#LODD - #CALFIRE Firefighter Dies of Medical Emergency on a training hike #CAfire

CAL FIRE Firefighter Dies of Medical Emergency

Yaroslav Katkov, a 29-year-old CAL FIRE/San Diego County firefighter, was on a training hike with his engine crew when he suffered the medical issue Monday

Yaroslav Katkov CALFIREP Hoto(CA)
Yaroslav Katkov, a 29-year-old CAL FIRE/San Diego County firefighter died from an on-duty medical emergency Monday morning.
A CAL FIRE/San Diego County firefighter died from an on-duty medical emergency Monday morning.

While on a training hike with his engine crew, firefighter Yaroslav Katkov, 29, suffered an undisclosed medical issue, a release from California Gov. Gavin Newsom stated. A sheriff's helicopter then flew him to Temecula Valley Hospital in Riverside County.

Katkov arrived at the hospital in critical condition, and he was later pronounced dead.

"On behalf of all Californians, Jennifer and I extend our sincere condolences to CAL FIRE Firefighter Yaroslav Katkov’s family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time," Newsom said in a statement.

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****REMINDER**** Every fire has the ability to be catastrophic. The wildland fire management environment has profoundly changed. Growing numbers of communities, across the nation, are experiencing longer fire seasons; more frequent, bigger, and more severe, fires are a real threat. Be careful with all campfires and equipment.

"I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The great point is to bring them the real facts, and beer." --Abraham Lincoln

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