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Friday, February 29, 2008

Public Meeting: Highway 108 FireSafe Council

Sonora, CA…Fire Safe Council President Jerry Tannhauser today announced the Highway 108 FireSafe Council is inviting homeowners northeast of Sonora to meet and discuss fire protection, emergency preparedness, and fire prevention measures needed to protect life, property, and resources from wildland fires. The subject area consists of both public and private land accessed by Lyons Bald Mountain Road, including Apple Valley Estates.....

The open public meeting is scheduled to be held at the Stanislaus National Forest Supervisor’s Office, 19777 Greenley Road, Sonora, at 6:00 p.m. Thursday, March 6, 2008. The purpose of the meeting is to provide private landowners and local fire agency officials the opportunity to discuss and consider a strategic planning link between fire protection, emergency access routes, and community fire prevention measures that support agency firefighting efforts.

The evening meeting will feature a presentation about the multi-agency coordination (MAC) function within the Incident Command System, and how it works to provide needed personnel, equipment, and support for extended attack on large wildland fires and other all-risk incidents posing a threat to life, property and resources. Recent examples of this interagency coordination will include the mobilization of local agency resources to support the state-wide response to numerous large wildfires during last fall’s southern California Santa Ana wind event fire siege.

The Fire Safe Council is seeking ideas and comments from residents in the Lyons Bald Mountain, Apple Valley, and surrounding areas to help fire agencies better identify the existing wildland fire danger present on public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and adjacent private property located within the City of Sonora, Tuolumne County and California State Responsibility Area protected by the Sonora City Fire Department, Tuolumne County Fire Department, and CALFIRE (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection).

The general area northeast of Sonora consists of private land located in the wildland-urban interface (WUI), some of which borders BLM land. The area is considered a priority concern due to the level of flammable vegetation, adjacent homes, and the potential threat to life, property, and other values at risk due to large and damaging wildlfires. The public is asked to help agency officials identify priority areas for strategic fuel reduction projects, generally located on private land adjacent to federally administered lands and the communities.

The Highway 108 FireSafe Council works closely with the Tuolumne County Fire Department, CALFIRE, USDA Forest Service, USDI Bureau of Land Management, Tuolumne City Fire Protection District, Sonora City Fire Department, local fire districts, Tuolumne Rancheria Fire Department, and other Tuolumne County agencies to develop and implement strategic community wildfire protection plans.

Source: ThePineTree.net

News: Fremont Fire - One dead - four-alarms

One dead in four-alarm apartment fire in Fremont

One person died this morning in a fast-moving, four-alarm fire that swept through four units of a Fremont apartment building.

Fremont Deputy Fire Chief Geoff LaTendresse said the victim, an adult male, was found on the floor of a bedroom in a first-floor unit of the two-story building in the 3600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue. His identity was not immediately released. No one else was injured, he said.

The fire began in a first floor apartment, spread to the adjacent apartment and to two apartments on the second floor. There has been heavy smoke damage to all 16 units and residents are still outside, LaTendresse said. The American Red Cross is on the scene helping residents, he said.

LaTendresse said fire investigators are trying to determine the cause of the fire, which was reported at 7:05 a.m. and brought under control at 7:25 a.m. A search is also on for a number of pets reported missing by residents, he said.

Every available Fremont fire unit was sent to the blaze and units from Alameda County Fire, Hayward, Union City and Newark were sent to Fremont to provide backup, LaTendresse said

Source:By William Brand
Bay Area News Group

News: Train hits abandoned car, no one hurt

An Amtrak train hit an abandoned car near Edna Valley today.

No one hurt in the incident, which occurred around 2:15 p.m. on Price Canyon Road, west of Highway 227, according to San Luis Obispo County/Cal Fire. It is unknown which direction the train was going.

The train was moving as of 5:45 p.m., according to County/Cal Fire.

Source: sanluisobispo.com

News: Red Cross-Paid Wildfire Lodging Unused

By ALLISON HOFFMAN

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The American Red Cross says it paid for a large number of hotel rooms in San Diego County that volunteers never used during last fall's wildfires.

Spokeswoman Laura Howe refused to say how much the charity overpaid or how many reserved rooms went empty. She said that information was confidential under a contract with a company that handles accommodations.

A message left after business hours Thursday with the company, Corporate Lodging Consultants, Inc. of Wichita, Kan., was not immediately returned.

The disclosure is the latest blow to the Red Cross, America's foremost emergency responder, which was criticized for its handling of donations contributed after the Sept. 11 attacks and for an inconsistent response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

"The American Red Cross has determined that an unusual number of hotel rooms were purchased but never occupied during the last year's wildfires," the congressionally chartered charity said in a statement Thursday. "These rooms were intended to house volunteers sent to the area to assist with the relief effort."

The Red Cross said it should have canceled rooms sooner, but it believes hotels made billing errors in some cases. The charity said some hotels billed "multiple times for unused rooms without calling to ask whether they were still needed." It asked some hotels to refund unused nights.

Robert Rauch, who runs a Homewood Suites hotel in suburban Del Mar, said no one checked in for about 10 of the 30 rooms the Red Cross booked in early November. He notified the contractor and canceled the reservations.

According to KGTV-TV in San Diego, the Red Cross paid one bill for more than $30,000 in December. The station said the document was provided by a hotel worker it did not name.

More than 4,000 Red Cross volunteers were in Southern California during the wildfires, and the agency found itself competing for hotel rooms with stranded visitors and hundreds of thousands of evacuees, Howe said.

The charity also overestimated the scale of the disaster in its early days, when more than half a million people were ordered to evacuate, Howe said. Most people went home within a day to neighborhoods that were largely unscathed. Shelters were largely shut down within a week after the fires started on Oct. 21.

Rapid payments from the federal government to families affected by the fires and a network of community charities in place from similar fires in 2003 also alleviated demand for Red Cross volunteers.

Nearly 2,200 homes were destroyed in the fires, which scorched about 800 square miles. Ten people were killed by the flames.

In future disasters, the Red Cross will review hotel invoices weekly during disasters and have an employee from the hotel vendor help volunteers coordinate reservations, Howe said.

Source: AP

HazMat: Spill, Fire - Highway 111 - Palm Desert

Incident Name: Monterey 2 Incident Number: CARRU-19382
Date Reported: 02/29/2008 Time Reported: 1:29 PM
Incident Type: Hazardous Materials
Incident Location: Monterey Avenue and Highway 111
Comments: Firefighters are on scene a Hazardous Materials call, which resulted in a small roadside fire. 1500 roadway has been reopened in both directions. Please contact Captain Fernando Herrera with any additional questions 760-250-9881

CALIFORNIA.- There were some scary moments for Palm Desert businesses and anyone traveling along Highway 111 near the Westfield Town Mall around 1:30 Friday afternoon after dangerous chemicals ignited in the back of a truck.

According to CalFire, the driver noticed smoke coming from the bed of his truck.

He pulled over and unloaded the burning product onto the roadway.

Emergency crews were called to the scene of the spill on Highway 111 and Monterey Drive and shut down businesses and the roadway between El Paseo and Highway 111 as a precaution.

Hazmat crews were called to the scene to test the chemical and clean up the spill.

They believe the product that ignited is acid based.

Crews cleaned up the spill and the roadway was reopened around 3:30 p.m.

CalFire says there were no reports of any injuries during the cleanup.

Source: KESQ.

News: Another Delay, Thirtymile fire trial

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A federal judge has granted another delay in the trial of a former Forest Service crew boss charged after a wildfire killed four firefighters in 2001.

U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle granted the motion Friday to start the trial May 5, rather than April 14 for 47-year-old Ellreese Daniels. He is charged with four counts of involuntary manslaughter and seven counts of making false statements to investigators.

Four firefighters from central Washington were killed in the July 2001 wildfire in the Okanogan National Forest in north-central Washington state.

Van Sickle says he will decide later whether jurors will be allowed to visit the site of the fatal wildfire.

Source: Wildfires Today

News: Historic Tahoe Pine needle agreement reached

Breaking news: Historic agreement reached on the pine needle removal controversy in the Lake Tahoe Basin, Everyone wins! You can clean them up once a year! from between 5 and 30 feet from your home only once in early spring on the second Tuesday of the third week...

"This was the last sticking point in the letter; we're glad we got past it,"


After a historic series of meetings between
The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and seven Lake Tahoe Basin fire chiefs, way too much taxpayer funded Coffee and Danish, the question of Pine needles laying on the ground and the crime of picking them up has been addressed and answered.

Agreement reached on pine needle removal at Tahoe

The Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and the Lake Tahoe Basin fire chiefs have reached agreement on whether pine needles can be used for erosion control - the final point of a letter sent from the chiefs to the agency regarding defensible space.

The letter included nine points where the TRPA could amend its best management practices to better fit with defensible space.

It was generated by the seven basin fire chiefs for the Bi-State Blue Ribbon Commission after the Angora fire last July.

The TRPA has already agreed to eight of the September 2007 letter's points and have finally reached agreement on the letter's No. 4 point, which is concerned with ground coverage.

The sticking point of coverage centered around pine needles.

The needles offer a valuable erosion-control tool in the fall by protecting soil from runoff. Conversely, dry needles present a fire hazard.

The TRPA and basin chiefs have agreed on an alternative which both say is fire-safe and addresses erosion control.

"Basically the new TRPA best management practice will be to have residents remove pine needles once in the spring. This will get that dead vegetation up off of the ground for fire season," said Martin Goldberg, a forestry supervisor with the Lake Valley Fire Protection District in South Lake Tahoe. He said the new practice is applicable to the 5 to 30 foot area around a home.

TRPA spokesman Dennis Oliver said the final point is expected to be approved at the next Bi-State Commission meeting on March 6.

Goldberg is a member of the defensible space and best management practices working group. The group was charged with deciding what to do about the coverage point of the nine-point letter.

"This was the last sticking point in the letter; we're glad we got past it," Oliver said.

Oliver said most of the letter's points required only minor adjustments from TRPA's best management practices. TRPA approved eight of the points last October.

"Most of the points were only minor clarifications so people would not be confused about possibly violating our BMP's," he said

Source: nevadaappeal.com

News: Officials Say Medical Supplies Will Stay In SD

Controversial Move Of Supplies To LA Looks Unlikely

Officials said Thursday that San Diego County's stockpile of medical supplies will remain in town instead of being sent to Los Angeles in a money saving, safekeeping move.The supplies, which were used during both of the county's firestorms, is enough to treat hundreds of patients for days straight, according to officials.
The federal government said Thursday it wants the stockpile moved to Los Angeles by the end of March, citing the money saving value in storing supplies in regions as opposed to specific cities.
County officials said the move would put more than 3 million citizens in the area at risk.

Congressman Releases Statement To Station

This is a statement we received from Congressman Brian Bilbray (R.)
On Tuesday of this week, you ran a piece about plans by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to move a 12-ton stockpile of emergency response supplies from San Diego to Los Angeles.
In response to this and the action taken the same day by the Board of Supervisors to officially oppose this move, Congressman Bilbray spoke by phone this afternoon with Craig Vanderwagen, M.D., the Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

As a result, Mr. Vanderwagen agreed today to reconsider the move and to work with local officials to identify a location in the San Diego region.

In the meantime, here's a quote from the Congressman:"I am very pleased that the Department of Health and Human Services has recognized the importance of keeping these critical supplies in the San Diego area.

By working together, I am optimistic that a suitable location will be found," said Congressman Bilbray.
Thanks,
Darren Pudgil Office of Congressman Brian Bilbray

Source: nbcsandiego.com

News: State of California Sues USFS

California Sues US Over Forest Plan

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California sued the U.S. Forest Service on Thursday for adopting a management plan that would allow for the construction of roads and oil drilling in the state's largest national forests.

The lawsuit, filed by the state attorney general's office in federal court, claims the plan ignores a state moratorium on road construction in pristine areas of national forests and asks for an injunction. The California Resources Agency and California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection are also plaintiffs.

"Today in the face of threats, we are forced to once again stand up for California's forests," Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a statement. "Despite repeated attempts to ensure that the United State Forest Service honor its written assurances that California's roadless areas would be protected they have failed to do so."

The plan would open up more than 500,000 acres in the Angeles, Los Padres, Cleveland and San Bernardino national forests to road construction. It also would allow for oil drilling on more than 52,000 acres in or around Los Padres National Forest.

The lawsuit accuses the Forest Service of violating federal environmental laws that require it to draft the management plans in coordination with state laws and policies. The Forest Service did not consider the environmental impacts of making more trails available to off-road vehicles and the potential harm to the endangered California condor from more oil and gas exploration, the lawsuit says.

The forests stretch from Big Sur on the Central Coast to the Mexican border and provide habitat for at least 31 animal species and 29 plants that are federally listed as threatened or endangered, as well as 34 sensitive animal species.

Secretary for Resources Mike Chrisman said the Forest Service said in 2005 and 2006 correspondence that it would not allow road construction in these areas. Each of the country's 155 national forests has its own management plan, which is periodically updated.

Forest Service spokeswoman Allison Stewart said they were reviewing the lawsuit and looked forward to resolving the dispute. Stewart did not comment on the drilling, but said the roads were needed to fight fires, which have been a perennial issue in the tinder dry wilderness.

Source: The Associated Press

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Aircraft down: Riverside - 3 Fatalities

3 Killed in Calif. Small Plane Crash

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — A small airplane crashed in a residential neighborhood, killing three people in a fiery impact that destroyed a car and engulfed palm trees in flames.

Three people on board the plane died late Wednesday, said Riverside Fire Battalion Chief Mike Esparza. No one on the ground was hurt.

Esparza said witnesses thought the plane started having trouble soon after taking off from Riverside Municipal Airport, less than a half mile away. It was unclear if the pilot was trying to return to the airport at the time of the crash.

Steve Kiser said he was outside his home when he saw the plane coming toward him, barely clearing the power lines. He said the plane veered, then nose-dived onto the street.

"I knew he wasn't going to make it," Kiser told the Riverside-Press Enterprise, adding the plane sounded like it had engine trouble. "It blew up and all the trees caught fire."

Said Esparza: "The pilot did one heck of a job avoiding these homes and preventing anyone else from being hurt."

Firefighters received calls of the crash just after 10 p.m., and when they arrived the plane was engulfed in flames, Esparza said.

A TV news helicopter showed firefighters dousing flames over the smashed remains of the plane and a car.

Riverside is about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. It was the third plane crash in surrounding Riverside County in a little more than a month.

Four people suffered minor injuries Tuesday when a small plane crash-landed in a brush-covered canyon near Murrieta. On Jan. 20, two small planes collided over Corona, killing five people, including one on the ground hit by falling debris.

Source: AP News article: Late Yesterday

News: Cal Fire budget cut plan - 20 stations to close

AUBURN, Calif. -- As many as 20 fire stations in the state could close, including the Cal Fire department station in Auburn, if a proposed budget cut plan is approved.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has asked Cal Fire to cut more than $52 million in budget cuts statewide.

Because of California's budget crisis, Cal Fire is proposing the closure of 20 fire stations statewide as well as another 11 inmate firefighting camps and one Helitack base.Fire officials acknowledge that it is conceivable that response times around Auburn could increase as much as 10 minutes in some cases.

Cal Fire officials are now pushing a new taxpayer fee. On average, that fee would also cost Californians an added $10 per year.

Source: KCRA

According to the governor's Web site, the Wildland Firefighting Initiative would be financed through a 1.25 percent surcharge on all property owners statewide, amounting to about $10-12 per property owner each year.

Daniel Berlant from Cal Fire said the fee would be much like you have the 911 surcharge on your cell phone bill.

That statewide fee would make up for the budget cuts and would keep the stations from closing.

If the governor's proposed fee is rejected and the cuts become permanent, no firefighters would lose their jobs statewide.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

News: Chico Fire Chief to Step Down

Chico Fire Chief to Step Down

A changing at the top of the Chico Fire Department. Chief Steve Brown is stepping down. A news release says the retiring Chief’s successor will be appointed in the coming weeks. Brown was appointed Chief in 1995 and before that served 10 years as a Fire Chief for Cal Fire and the Butte County Fire Department. He says his greatest accomplishment is keeping the life and property loss low in his tenure. Chico Fire currently has 111 members.

Source: Newstalk1290Blog

News: Brain eating Amoeba Infects Fire Captain

A Fire Captain by the name of Matt Moore became seriously ill several months ago and visited four hospitals without receiving any answer from doctors about his strange illness. Mr. Moore was growing sicker each day and was eventually put on life-support in the critical unit in San Diego, California before he started to get some answers.

Mr. Moore is suffering from a very rare and likely case of a brain-eating amoeba which is typically found in the soil but somehow entered his system in the fall of 2007. “This has been a total nightmare,” said Sherry Moore, his wife. “He’s very, very sick, and the prognosis just doesn’t look good.”

Roughly 150 cases of this strange disease have affected people worldwide and only a small number of those diagnosed have survived. Scientists discovered the amoeba in the early 1990s and the technical term for it is Balamuthia mandrillaris. It was previously considered harmless until 1986 when it was first discovered in an animal at the San Diego Wild Animal Park known as a ‘mandrill’. This is an animal which is very similar to a baboon and the animal soon died as a result of the amoeba.

Because of the rarity of this disease, it is estimated that many other people have died of this without even knowing the cause of their illness.
The amoeba is very hard to detect and the infection often goes undiscovered until after the person is already dead. It enters through a wound in the skin or through inhalation after it has been sent into the air. Victims typically make some kind of contact with soil before being infected. Chances of being infected are about the same as being hit by lightning on a sunny day.

Source: Medheadlines

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Training: Annual Wildland Fire Safety Refresher

Wildfires Today - United States Wildland Fire News: "Training: Annual Wildland Fire Safety Refresher

Annual Wildland Fire Safety Refresher Training - 2008

The intent of annual fireline safety refresher training is to focus line going personnel on operations and decision making issues related to fireline and all-hazard incident safety. Refresher training will ensure firefighters have information regarding current initiatives, the upcoming fire season, and any policy/guidance changes. Refresher training is provided in order to recognize and mitigate risk, maintain safe and effective practices, and to reduce accidents and near misses.

Refresher Website (WFSTAR)

The 2008 revisions to the Wildland Fire Safety Training Annual Refresher (WFSTAR) website will be posted on January 31, 2008. This website is managed under the direction of the Federal Fire and Aviation Safety Team (FFAST). The purpose of WFSTAR is to provide a one-stop shopping resource for instructors of refresher training to obtain information necessary to conduct relevant and engaging safety refreshers. The website identifies topics for refresher training and lists a wide variety of reference materials that support refresher training.

Updates include a new National Emphasis Topic and Hot Topics. The 2008 National Emphasis Topic is “Thinking Ahead”. The 2008 Hot Topics include “How Can We Improve Aviation Safety”, “WUI Safety”, “Risk Management for Alternative Strategies and Tactics”, “Incident Communications”, and “Why Submit a SAFENET”. A Human Factors webpage has also been added.

Please visit the WFSTAR website at http://www.nifc.gov/wfstar/index.htm.
Training: Annual Wildland Fire Safety Refresher

Meeting: Cal-Neva Tahoe Basin Fire Commission

California-Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission

Meeting Notice: Feb. 25, 2008 - The next meeting of the California-Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission (and its committees) will be held on March 6-7, 2008 at the Sierra Nevada College, 999 Lake Tahoe Boulevard, Incline Village, Nevada.

The Meeting Notice and Agenda can be found at the following link:

http://resources.ca.gov/TahoeFireCommission/

Established by both Governor Schwarzenegger and Governor Gibbons, the California-Nevada Tahoe Basin Fire Commission consists of 17 voting members that represent each State's stake in the responsible management of lands and fire fuels within the Tahoe Basin, including representatives from affected state agencies, fire agencies and the public.

Monday, February 25, 2008

SAR News: Search continues for man swept away by waves

A 23-year-old Rancho Palos Verdes man has been missing since Sunday evening. Heavy surf is expected again today.
Los Angeles County Fire Department swimmers searched again this morning for a missing 23-year-old Rancho Palos Verdes man swept out to sea Sunday night while walking on rocks with two friends.

In the wake of a Saturday night rainstorm, waves in the area rose to 14 feet at the time the man disappeared, investigators said. The two other men were unharmed, according to L.A. County Fire Inspector Frank Garrido.

Authorities have notified the missing man's family, but have not released his name.

The search was put on hold at high tide late last night, as waves rose to 25 feet. Swimmers began combing the water again at low tide this morning, about 6 a.m., with help from L.A. County sheriff's deputies and U.S. Coast Guard staff, Garrido said. They plan to continue the search today until high-tide waves become too treacherous, he said.

The National Weather Service has issued a high surf advisory for Los Angeles coastal areas until 9 a.m. Tuesday morning -- noon in Orange County and San Diego Counties.

Seal Beach pier closed Sunday due to high surf, but reopened this morning, police said. The Manhattan Beach pier remains closed until the surf dies down, police said.

The U.S. Coast Guard reported that it rescued more swimmers than usual this weekend from rip currents, and officials cautioned those swimming, fishing and walking on local beaches today to keep an eye on the surf.

"Especially stay off the jetties and the rocks," said U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Andrew Munoz. "Those waves can come out of nowhere and take people by surprise."

Source: LA Times

Sunday, February 24, 2008

USFS News: Jeanne Pincha-Tulley


Jeanne Pincha-Tulley nation's only woman incident commander

Jeanne Pincha-Tulley - USFS - CIMT - 3

California Interagency Incident Command
Team 3 Commander Jeanne Pincha-Tulley

Local forest fire chief is nation's only woman incident commander

Years of sleeping in the dirt and spending weeks away from her family haven't extinguished Jeanne Pincha-Tulley's love of corralling blazes.

The 49-year-old mother of two boys has followed fire all of her adult life, a passion that has led her to become the first and only woman incident commander of a national fire team.

"Does it take a lot of brains to do that? No. It takes a flak jacket and lot of Motrin," Pincha-Tulley joked from her office as forest fire chief at the Tahoe National Forest headquarters on Nevada City's Coyote Street.

National fire teams can be sent anywhere in the country and have been sent on loan to places including Canada and Australia. It's dangerous and dirty work, but fighting fires offers rewards few other jobs can deliver: Saving forests, wildlife and entire towns from destruction.

"You don't camp out in the dirt for nothing. You want to do something for the common good," Pincha-Tulley said.

Last summer, Pincha-Tulley led her team in Ketchum, Idaho, during the 48,520-acre Castle Rock Fire, which singed the outskirts of the resort community of Sun Valley. Local celebrities Bruce Willis and Steve Miller threw a concert in honor of the firefighters after the team saved their homes.

One of the driest years on record, the team went on five deployments in all and helped snuff out fires in Southern California and Plumas County.

Over her 30-year career, the fires have grown bigger and harder to put out, while populations in the areas of rural-urban interface have exploded.

"Look at all the new houses that have been built in this area. It's like that all over the West," Pincha-Tulley said.

The long winter months indoors are grueling for the woman who prefers the adrenaline rushes of fighting a fire.

"It's really sick, I know, but it's true: I thrive in crisis," she said.

In addition to fire fighting skills, her team is equipped with paramedic and emergency responder qualifications suited to other natural disasters.

Pincha-Tulley's team arrived in Mississippi four hours after Hurricane Katrina devastated the coastline.

"We had a grand time. There was devastation everywhere. We were literally saving people from trees," Pincha-Tulley said.

Whole story at: theunion.com =
By Laura Brown

AVALANCE WARNING: MOUNT SHASTA

THE USDA FOREST SERVICE MOUNT SHASTA AVALANCHE CENTER HAS ISSUED AN AVALANCE WARNING FOR THE MOUNT SHASTA AREA OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.

AVALANCE DANGER IS HIGH

THE MOUNTAINS SURROUNDING MT. SHASTA CITY HAVE RECIEVED SEVERAL FEET OF NEW SNOW OVER THE LAST FEW DAY AND AN ADDITIONAL FOOT IS EXPECTED OVER THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
STRONG WINDS WILL BE LIKELY DURING THE HEAVIEST SNOW FALL SUNDAY. ADDITIONALLY, WEAK LAYERS EXIST IN THE SNOW PACK AND COMBINED WITH HEAVY SNOW FALL AND WIND LOADING TODAY, THE AVALANCE DANGER IS HIGH. THESE CONDITIONS WILL CREATE

HIGH AVALANCE DANGER IN THE BACKCOUNTRY ABOVE 5000 FEET WHERE BOTH NATURAL AND HUMAN TRIGGERED AVALANCES WILL BE LIKELY. WHILE THE AVALANCE DANGER WILL SLOWLY DECREASE ON MONDAY, THE SNOWPACK WILL REMAIN SENSITIVE AND CAUTION IS STILL ADVISED. THIS STATEMENT DOES NOT INCLUDE SKI AREAS AND HIGHWAYS WHERE AVALANCE MITIGATION IS NORMALLY DONE. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 5 3 0 9 2 6 9 6 1 3 OR VISIT WWW.SHASTAAVALANCHE.ORG THIS AVALANCE WARNING EXPIRES 9AM PST MON FEBRUARY 25 2008.

Earthquake: 4.1m - The Geysers

Earthquake Map

Map showing earthquakes

Earthquake Details

Magnitude4.1
Date-Time
  • Sunday, February 24, 2008 at 05:32:10 UTC
  • Saturday, February 23, 2008 at 09:32:10 PM at epicenter
Location38.818°N, 122.809°W
Depth2.4 km (1.5 miles)
RegionNORTHERN CALIFORNIA
Distances
  • 2 km (1 miles) N (354°) from The Geysers, CA
  • 8 km (5 miles) WSW (256°) from Cobb, CA
  • 11 km (7 miles) WNW (295°) from Anderson Springs, CA
  • 18 km (11 miles) E (83°) from Cloverdale, CA
  • 42 km (26 miles) NNW (348°) from Santa Rosa, CA
  • 120 km (74 miles) WNW (284°) from Sacramento, CA
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 0.1 km (0.1 miles); depth +/- 0.2 km (0.1 miles)

Training: Basic Wildland Firefighter Type II / Chester Fire Department.

BASIC WILDLAND FIREFIGHTER TRAINING - Firefighter Type II

Course:
Basic Wildland Firefighter Training will provide student with basic training for the wildland fire service with federal, state and local departments. This course is NWCG approved course for being a Firefighter Type II. Course will include fire behavior, safety, line construction, leadership, roles and responsibilities of a wildland firefighter, typing of equipment and crews. This course is incorporates classroom and field training for a total of 40 hours.
This course is offered through the Feather River College and interested students must be enrolled through the College.

Course Dates:
April 7-11, 2007 0800-1700

Information: For more information contact Chris Dean or Brian Hermo at Chester Fire Department.
Phone: 530-258-3456
Fax 530-258-2064
E-mail: myztkl1@yahoo.com
Website www.chesterfire.net

Brian Hermo
Chester Fire Department
198 Main St
Chester, Ca 96020

Saturday, February 23, 2008

News editorial: CA Budget and CALFIRE

CA Budget and CALFIRE

By guest author - Jim Biscailuz

In January 2008 Governor Schwarzenegger addressed the state detailing his budget plans; the state is facing a $14 Billion dollar deficit for the 2008–09 budget year. Some in the state Senate and Assembly have said the budget problem is likely to be much worse. This comes after the Legislative Analyst’s Office reported this week the budget woes were closer to $16 Billion dollars.

The Governor has proposed a 10% across the board cut in all departments including CALFIRE which stands to reduce its budget by $52.7 million and 66.5 positions in 2008-09. The 10% reduction if not covered by another funding method will have the following impact of CALFIRE.

Reduction of $44.7 million and 361 positions from the Fire Protection Program. This reduction will be implemented by shifting funding for 20 one-engine fire stations and the contract county equivalent, 11 conservation camps, and 1 helitack base from the General Fund to the Insurance Fund, and will be supported by a surcharge on commercial and residential property insurance policies.

A reduction of $315,000 and 1.9 positions from the Office of the State Fire Marshal. This reduction will reduce funding for direct administration of the Office of the State Fire Marshal and code development and analysis.

Another $3 million and 20.9 positions from the Resources Management Program. This reduction will reduce funding for vegetation management, timber harvest plans, nurseries, and other resource management programs.

The remaining $4.8 million and 43.7 positions from Administration. This reduction will reduce funding for accounting, contracts, human resources, and information technology functions.

The Governor has also suggested that this cut can be backfilled with a new fee of 1.2% assessed to insurance policies for homeowners and businesses. This fee could possible generate enough funds to not only fill this cut but provide for an increase which CALFIRE needs to replace aging helicopters and install GPS tracking in its fire engines. The extra cash would also help fund the fourth firefighter during the fire season.

The plan to assess a fee to the insurance policies has been met with strong resistance and views that this was an actual tax and there for would require the voters to approve it as such. The state Senate Budget Committee on February 14th, 2008 looked at this very issue and rejected the insurance fee and did so feeling it would be unconstitutional.

With this insurance fee now shot down and no other solutions currently on the table, how does CALFIRE avoid closing stations, camps and a helitack base after having a huge fire season in 2007? Most you talk to say it will never happen, they always find the money. Others worry that with a $16 Billion plus deficit some form of reductions in staffing will happen. We can only sit and watch and hope that the cuts don’t come. I would suggest though those that have had the station, camp or helitack base listed for closure, watch very closely as the budget process continues.



Ref:

California Department of Finance http://www.dof.ca.gov

http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/StateAgencyBudgets/3000/3540/department.html

California State Senate http://www.sen.ca.gov

http://www.senate.ca.gov/ftp/SEN/COMMITTEE/STANDING/BFR/-home/SS2008QSComplete.pdf (Page 15)

Legislative Analyst’s Office http://www.lao.ca.gov

http://www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2008/resources/res_anl08007.aspx#zzee_link_1_1202666642

Friday, February 22, 2008

SAR News: Butte County receives Sno-Cat

A huge vehicle PG&E has used the last 12 winters to reach power emergencies in the Feather River Canyon got another purpose Thursday when it was given to the Butte County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Unit.

The tracked, six-passenger, 1995 Tucker Sno-Cat will be used to help locate victims lost in heavy snow, then transport them to safety.

"We're among the first search and rescue operations to get a Sno-Cat," said spokeswoman Sandy Lawrence. "We're certain it will make a difference in many of the life-and-death situations we encounter."

PG&E donated the machine as part of an ongoing community grants program.

In addition to the gift of the machine, which Lawrence said is in excellent condition despite having 790 hours of use, PG&E will offer training on the Sno-Cat to search and rescue volunteers, and assist with maintenance.

Volunteer Ron Gray is among those qualified to drive the vehicle right now. Because of its weight, he said it will have to be transported on a trailer to search and rescue sites, but once there can cover ground at a clip of between 11 and 20 mph, depending on snow depth.

With a fully-enclosed cab and a heater, the Sno-Cat can transport victims and rescuers in relative comfort, Gray said.

Because tracks on the Sno-Cat turn as the cab of the machine turns, Gray said they are also often used for the delicate task of grooming ski slopes.

Butte County Search and Rescue is an all-volunteer organization that responded to 132 calls.

Capt. Mike Larish said the Sno-Cat is an especially welcome addition, since winter rescues are among the most challenging and potentially dangerous.

Source: chicoer.com

LODD: SBCFD - Captain Vance Tomaselli

Official - San Bernardino County Fire LODD announcement

Fire Captain Vance Tomaselli Passes Away

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Captain Vance Tomaselli. Captain Tomaselli passed away late last night. On Saturday, February 16th, while enroute to a structure fire at Camp Edwards near Angelus Oaks, Captain Tomaselli suffered a stroke. He was airlifted to Loma Linda University Medical Center, where he underwent emergency surgery.

Captain Tomaselli, age 66, was a 27-year veteran with the fire service. He was a Paid-Call Fire Captain assigned to Station 15 in Angelus Oaks and is survived by his son Jim Tomaselli and daughter Karen Todd.

“Vance has always been dedicated to serving his community and the travelers who encountered him on their way through the mountain communities. Vance dedicated his life to serving others. He will be sorely missed by all that had the pleasure of knowing him,” stated Fire Chief Pat Dennen.

In honor of Captain Tomaselli, all flags flying at County facilities will remain at half-staff through the day of the funeral, which has not yet been announced. Additional information will be provided as available. The San Bernardino County Fire Department would ask for everyone to continue to hold the Tomaselli family in your thoughts and prayers through this very difficult time.

LODD: Captain Vance Tomaselli - San Bernardino County F.D

LODD - San Bernardino County Fire - Capt. Vance Tomaselli

Ca-BDU- Jenks Lake Fire engine crash
It is with deep regret that we advise you that Captain Vance Tomaselli of the San Bernardino County Fire Department has died in the Line of Duty after suffering a stroke while driving an engine company on a fire call last Saturday.

Captain Tomaselli, who joined the Fire Department 27 years ago, underwent surgery Saturday, but succumbed to his medical emergency.

According to reports, he was trying to tell his fire dispatchers that he knew something was wrong with himself, and he was trying to get off the road when he sideswiped a tree. At noon last Saturday, the 60-year-old Fire Captain and a trainee were responding to a structure fire in Angelus Oaks.
If Tomaselli had lost control of the engine, the rig likely would have plunged down a mountainside, a SBCFD spokesman said. That could have killed both occupants. Instead, Captain Tomaselli negotiated the turn where other firefighters came to his aid and summoned a medical helicopter....he probably saved the life of his crew member.


Our sincere condolences to all affected by this loss.

LAKE SHASTINA - Arsonist mental state questioned

Arraignment postponed in arson case

By DEBORRA BRANNON
Photo by John Diehm - Fire crews work to put out a blaze at the Lake Shastina administrative office on Wednesday morning. Shastina resident Clete James White was charged with setting fire to this building and three other structures.

LAKE SHASTINA - The man arrested and charged with arson and burglary in connection with Wednesday’s fires in the Lake Shastina Community Services District (LSCSD) has been transported to a mental health facility out of the area for evaluation, according to Siskiyou County Sheriff’s office spokesperson Susan Gravenkamp.

The arraignment of the suspect in the case, Lake Shastina resident Clete James White, 56, was originally scheduled for Friday. It has been postponed ’until a determination can be made of his mental state,’ she said.

Of the four fires that were set early Wednesday morning, three were destructive - one home was destroyed completely and another home was significantly damaged, as was the LSCSD administration office on Everhart Drive.

The first call reportinga fire in the Lake Shastina Community Services District on Wednesday was received by dispatch at 5:22 a.m., Gravenkamp reported.

CAL FIRE engineer Mike McWilliams, also a Lake Shastina volunteer firefighter, was on duty out of the Weed station. He was on one of the first engines to respond to the initial structure fire at 5200 Stag St.



McWilliams said that when firefighters arrived at the scene, the two story home was ’fully involved’ (engulfed by flame).

According information released by Lake Shastina Police Chief Rick Alves, the suspect ultimately charged with arson and burglary in connection with Wednesday’s events, Clete James White, contacted emergency personnel outside the residence and told them that no on was inside. He then ’disappeared from the scene.’

As firefighters fought the first blaze, they noticed smoke coming from a house nearby at 5208 Stag. McWilliams said that when he and LSFD volunteer Josh Poulas went to investigate, they saw fire on the first floor of second home.



’We had to force entry because the home was empty, and we were able to pretty much keep the damage contained to one room on the first floor,’ McWilliams said.

Incident commander for the fires on Stag St. was Mount Shasta Fire Protection District chief Chris Baker, who lives in the Lake Shastina Community and responded when dispatch called for response to the first fire.

Baker had called for mutual aid response to the first fire, McWilliams said. When the second fire was discovered, Baker put in a request for more additional engines.



According to McWilliams, once the second fire was contained, Baker ordered any additional engines still en route to stage in the area of the LSCSD administrative offices.

McWilliams said that, because of all the fire activity in the area, Baker wanted to keep engines staged and ready in the district.

’Apparently when those engines arrived, they saw fire in the administrative office,’ McWilliams said, and Mount Shasta City Fire Department Matt Melo took charge as incident commander of that fire.



Three water tenders were called to the scene of Wednesday’s Stag St. fires, McWilliams reported.

’Normally hydrants in Shastina are more than sufficient, but the ones up the hill sometimes are not able to flow enough. We weren’t able to keep our engines full up there, so Chief Baker called for the water tenders,’ he said.

Source: Siskiyou daily.com

Thursday, February 21, 2008

LAFD: Pancake Breakfast - LAPD SWAT LODD

LAFD News & Information:

Pancake Breakfast To Benefit Fallen LAPD SWAT Officer

Pancake Breakfast to Benefit Fallen and Injured LAPD SWAT Officers. Click for a map and driving directions...Please join members of the Los Angeles Fire Department and their families for a Pancake Breakfast benefitting fallen LAPD SWAT Officer Randal Simmons and his wounded colleague, Officer James Veenstra.

Saturday, February 23, 2008
7:00 AM to 11:00 AM
At the LAPD & LAFD Recruitment Expo
Crenshaw Christian Center / FaithDome Campus
7901 South Vermont Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90044


For a simple $10.00 donation, you can provide direct help to the Simmons family and support the recovery of Officer Veenstra, while enjoying a delicious breakfast and the camaraderie of emergency responders.

The most important reason for you to attend...

This pancake breakfast is the kickoff event for the LAPD & LAFD Recruitment Expo. Along with veteran Firefighters and Police Officers in attendance, you will have a chance to meet and encourage the men and women who are soon to wear the badge.

Can you think of a better opportunity for inspiring future Police Officers to follow the altruistic character of Officer Simmons?

Please think about it... then plan on joining us this Saturday morning, as Los Angeles Firefighters and those they proudly serve come together with a strong and unified voice to honor, respect and support the men and women of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Whole story and maps at: LAFD Blog

Arson: Los Angeles - Teen Convicted - $30 million fire

Teen Convicted In $30M Fire At 'Stand And Deliver' School

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A 17-year-old boy has been convicted of arson for starting a $30-million fire last May that gutted the historic auditorium of an East Los Angeles high school that inspired the movie "Stand and Deliver."

District attorney spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons says a Superior Court judge on Wednesday gave the teenager, whose name has not been released because of his age, credit for 260 days already served in a juvenile facility and ordered him to serve an additional six months in a camp.

No one was injured in the blaze on May 20, 2007 at Garfield High School, but authorities estimated $30 million in damage.

The school was the setting for 1988's "Stand And Deliver," which followed students inspired by math teacher Jaime Escalante, played by Edward James Olmos.

Built in 1925, the landmark auditorium was known for its vintage glass chandeliers and ornate plasterwork.

Source: AP, News 8

Report on Costly 2007 Wildfire Season

Risk Management Solutions (RMS) and ImageCat, Inc., issued a joint research report Wednesday on the 2007 U.S. wildfire season. With a potential $2.5 billion in insured losses in California alone, last year ranks as one of the costliest wildfire seasons in recent history. As urban development continues to encroach on the wilderness fringes, the risk is likely to increase in the future.

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In October 2007, Southern California was hit particularly hard by an outbreak of wildfires that resulted in the destruction of more than 3,000 buildings. The dry winter and summer months gave rise to abundant surface fuel, which was extremely susceptible to wildfires, and when combined with the strong Santa Ana winds ignited 23 separate fires that consumed almost 520,000 acres of land. Insured losses were primarily due to burnt residential structures and their contents, but other claims included smoke damage, additional living expenses due to the mandatory evacuation, burned automobiles, and a limited number of damaged or destroyed commercial structures.

RMS analysis reveals that, in the past ten years of California wildfire history, close to 1,350 structures have burned on average each year, with an estimated annual insured loss of some $490 million – nearly twice the long-term average. Moreover, while on average, less than 10 percent of the burnt areas in the U.S. are in California, around 70 percent of the total insured losses are from properties in Southern California. The counties between Santa Barbara and San Diego house some 60 percent of the Californian population who have been especially hard hit by wildfires.

"Housing developments are rapidly expanding into wildland areas, which create an environment in which fire can readily move between structural and vegetation fuels, increasing the threat to people and their properties," said Patricia Grossi, senior researcher at RMS. "Last year's California wildfires serve as a stark reminder of the need to manage and mitigate this peril through more risk-informed decisions."

RMS teamed with ImageCat, a pioneer in disaster aerial reconnaissance technologies, to survey the damage from the 2007 Southern California outbreak. ImageCat flew four aerial reconnaissance missions over the most affected areas to derive accurate fire perimeters and build a database of destroyed structures.

"Data integration has the power to maximize accuracy and reduce uncertainties surrounding loss estimates," said Beverley Adams, remote sensing technical director at ImageCat. RMS analyzed these datasets in conjunction with the detailed, high-resolution RMS® Wildfire Hazard Data to validate wildfire threat, susceptibility and hazard in Southern California.

Source: Insurance Journal - Risk Management Solutions

Earthquake: Nevada - 6.0 - 11 miles from Wells, NV

Earthquake Details

Magnitude6.0
Date-Time
Location41.076°N, 114.771°W
Depth10 km (6.2 miles) set by location program
RegionNEVADA
Distances
  • 17 km (11 miles) ESE (103°) from Wells, NV
  • 32 km (20 miles) NNW (343°) from Spruce, NV
  • 39 km (24 miles) S (183°) from Wilkins, NV
  • 70 km (43 miles) WNW (303°) from West Wendover, NV
  • 244 km (152 miles) W (279°) from Salt Lake City, UT
Location Uncertaintyhorizontal +/- 3.6 km (2.2 miles); depth fixed by location program
Map showing earthquakes

CAL OES: U.S. military intercepted NRO Satellite

U.S. Navy handout a Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) is launched from guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie.State of California OES:
U.S. military intercepted a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite

Per the United States (U.S.) Department of Defense, a network of land-,
air-, sea- and spaced-based sensors confirms that the U.S. military
intercepted a non-functioning National Reconnaissance Office satellite
which was in its final orbits before entering the earth's atmosphere.

At approximately 1926 hrs today, a U.S. Navy AEGIS warship, the USS Lake Erie
(CG-70), fired a single modified tactical Standard Missile-3 (SM-3) hitting
the satellite approximately 247 kilometers (133 nautical miles) over the
Pacific Ocean as it traveled in space at more than 17,000 mph.

USS Decatur (DDG-73) and USS Russell (DDG-59) were also part of the task force.
The objective was to rupture the fuel tank to dissipate the approximately 1,000
pounds (453 kg) of hydrazine, a hazardous fuel which could pose a danger to
people on earth, before it entered into earth's atmosphere.
Confirmation that the fuel tank has been fragmented should be available within 24 hours.

Due to the relatively low altitude of the satellite at the time of the
engagement, debris will begin to re-enter the earth's atmosphere
immediately.

Nearly all of the debris will burn up on reentry within 24-48
hours and the remaining debris should re-enter within 40 days.

At this time it is unknown exactly when and where the impact of the debris
will occur. OES Staff is working with the FEMA National Operation Center to
ascertain any information updates from the U.S. Department of Defense as
they become available.

This report will be updated as soon as information is available

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

[EDIS] Severe thunderstorm warning

[EDIS] severe thunderstorm warning -Kern County - Now - DANGEROUS STORM

"THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN HANFORD CA HAS ISSUED A * SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WARNING FOR... CENTRAL KERN COUNTY IN CENTRAL CALIFORNIA... * UNTIL 1245 PM PST * AT 1201 PM PST... NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING NICKEL SIZE HAIL.THIS STORM WAS LOCATED OVER WEST CENTRAL KERN COUNTY... OR 21 MILES WEST OF BAKERSFIELD...AND MOVING SOUTHEAST AT 25 MPH. * THE SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WILL BE NEAR... BUENA VISTA LAKE AND TULE ELK STATE RESERVE 1240 PM PST

Instruction:
THIS IS A DANGEROUS STORM. IF YOU ARE IN ITS PATH...PREPARE IMMEDIATELY FOR DAMAGING WINDS...HAIL...AND DEADLY CLOUD TO GROUND LIGHTNING. PEOPLE OUTSIDE SHOULD MOVE TO A SHELTER... PREFERABLY INSIDE A STRONG BUILDING BUT AWAY FROM WINDOWS.

Area: NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY CA

Affected Counties or parts of: Kern

Placer County - Barn fire - One injury

Barn fire sends one to hospital

Ben Furtado
A suspected trailer explosion set a barn on fire in Newcastle Tuesday evening. One woman went to the hospital with serious injuries.

A suspected trailer explosion set off a barn blaze in rural Placer County sending flames more than 60 feet into the air and one woman to the hospital with serious injuries Tuesday evening.

Fire crews responded to a report of a barn fire just north of Chili Hill Road on Gold Hill Road around 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.

A woman in her 50s was in a 40-foot trailer, housed in a 40-by-100-foot barn when, for unknown reasons, there was an explosion that quickly engulfed the hay-filled barn, according to Greg Guyan, Auburn-area Cal Fire battalion chief.

The woman, who was not identified, was transported by air ambulance to the UC Davis Medical Center with second- and third-degree burns to 50 percent of her body, officials said.

The blast, and possibly the subsequent blaze, split the trailer in half. A car parked next to the engulfed barn was quickly charred.

Fire crews did not dose the flames with water, but instead were going to let the flaming bales of hay burn out.

“There is an NID canal directly adjacent to the barn,” said Battallion Chief Jeff Brand, with Cal Fire. “Any run off from the fire would go directly into the ditch.”

Firefighters were expected to be on scene throughout the night monitoring the contained fire.

Neighbors quickly came to the woman’s aid.

“My father went to her and she was conscious,” neighbor James Bolton said at the scene Tuesday night. “Hopefully she’ll be OK.”

Source: Placeropolis.com:

SDFD: Buying 2nd Helicopter - $16 million helicopter

Purchasing San Diego council approves $16 million firefighting helicopter

SAN DIEGO—San Diego's city council voted unanimously Tuesday to buy a second firefighting helicopter for the city Fire-Rescue Department.

Chief Tracy Jarman said the helicopter should be in service before seasonal Santa Ana winds begin in August.

The helicopter is expected to cost about $16 million.

Earlier in the day, Jarman's predecessor joined a group of firefighters and wildfire experts in calling for San Diego County to enact recommendations developed after the 2003 Cedar Fire and create a regional fire agency.

Former San Diego fire chief Jeff Bowman also said citizens should be willing to pay higher taxes to fund new purchases of fire engines and other equipment.

Source: mercurynews.com

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

5.0 Quake Shakes Calif-Mexico Border

4 hours ago

CALEXICO, Calif. (AP) — An estimated 5.0-magnitude earthquake has shaken the U.S.-Mexico border region near San Diego.

The U.S. Geological Survey says Tuesday's quake struck at 2:41 p.m. 21 miles southeast of the U.S. border city of Calexico.

Southeastern California and Mexican border communities have been jolted for days by a continuing earthquake swarm.

San Diego - Ambulance Knocked Over

Ambulance Knocked Over By Speeding Car - Minor injuries

A SAN DIEGO AMBULANCE WAS ON THE SCENE OF A single-car accident at 4 am Monday morning. While relocating the ambulance from the roadway to the right shoulder, a 1993 Honda Accord barrelled into it broadside and knocked the ambulance on its side.

ambulance san diego union tribune
Union-Tribune photo

The medic driving it was temporarily trapped in the cab and suffered minor injuries.

Source: Wildfires Today - United States Wildland Fire News: San Diego Ca - Ambulance Knocked Over

San Diego County - SDRFSF - 13-page analysis

Wildfire panel to release findings - Priority 1 should be to fund a consolidated, regional fire department and More taxes needed!

The San Diego Regional Fire Safety Forum is expected to announce its recommendations for improving fire protection.

The San Diego Regional Fire Safety Forum believes it has the answers to the county's wildfire problems.

Recommendations include buying 50 more fire engines, hiring hundreds of additional firefighters and establishing a county-wide fire department.

The city council will also be discussing acquiring a second fire and rescue helicopter.


“Priority 1 should be to fund a consolidated, regional fire department,” the group's list of recommendations says.

Former San Diego Fire Chief Jeff Bowman, the forum's chairman, said the group would formally release its 13-page analysis this morning at a news conference.

San Diego Fire Chief Jeff Bowman,Bowman said San Diego is completely unprepared for a massive firestorm.

The forum is one of three local wildfire committees addressing similar problems.

All agree that the county is woefully underprepared for the type of wildfires that killed 10 people and destroyed 1,700 homes in San Diego County in October.

After a handful of meetings, the 11-member forum zeroed in on 11 issues, including leadership, accountability, staffing, equipment, aerial assets and brush management. Short-and long-term goals were suggested.

Bowman said the goal was to educate the public, which is why the group is holding its news conference in Rancho Bernardo. All 365 homes lost in the city of San Diego in October were in Rancho Bernardo. “Public opinion and public pressure drives politicians,” Bowman said.
“And the politicians have gotten away with murder when it comes to fire protection.”

Bowman resigned as the city's fire chief nearly two years ago primarily because he couldn't get the improvements he wanted. Bowman, a dogged critic, said the forum's report isn't as blistering as it could have been.

“We focused on recommendations that we think are doable,” he said.

Show us the money! - Although finances are covered in the report, the analysis doesn't say who should pay for the improvements or where the money should come from.

Fire experts, including Bowman, have said a new sales tax would probably be needed to finance a regional fire department, an idea that has been discussed for years. But turf battles inevitably arise, leaving San Diego County one of the largest and most populous counties in the nation without its own regional fire department.

If the public doesn't rally behind the forum's findings, Bowman would like to see local fire chiefs and politicians use it as a blueprint for change.

A group co-chaired by county Supervisor Ron Roberts and Mayor Jerry Sanders is trying to answer some of the same questions covered by Bowman's group, and Roberts said he would like to work with the former fire chief.

A third local wildfire committee, chaired by San Diego Councilman Brian Maienschein, has focused on city-related issues.

Sources: (1) (2)

Earthquakes: Channel Islands, Central California, Baja

Did you feel it? California experienced a few small shakers last night...Central California - 3.7, Channel Islands - 3.2, Baja California - 3.2

Map showing earthquakes




Channel Islands region, California Magnitude 3.2

Earthquake Details

Magnitude 3.2
Date-Time
  • Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 00:16:35 UTC
  • Monday, February 18, 2008 at 04:16:35 PM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 33.000°N, 118.944°W
Depth 0.2 km (~0.1 mile) (poorly constrained)
Region CHANNEL ISLANDS REGION, CALIFORNIA
Distances
  • 32 km (20 miles) W (264°) from San Clemente Is., CA (NW tip)
  • 59 km (36 miles) ESE (117°) from San Nicolas Is., CA
  • 69 km (43 miles) WSW (237°) from Avalon, CA
  • 108 km (67 miles) SSW (211°) from Torrance, CA
  • 114 km (71 miles) SSW (206°) from El Segundo, CA
  • 134 km (83 miles) SSW (209°) from Los Angeles Civic Center, CA


Central California - Magnitude 3.7

Earthquake Details
Magnitude 3.7
Date-Time
  • Monday, February 18, 2008 at 15:15:31 UTC
  • Monday, February 18, 2008 at 07:15:31 AM at epicenter
Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones
Location 36.587°N, 118.026°W
Depth 9.3 km (5.8 miles)
Region CENTRAL CALIFORNIA
Distances
  • 4 km (2 miles) E (90°) from Lone Pine, CA
  • 18 km (11 miles) NW (309°) from Keeler, CA
  • 29 km (18 miles) SSE (147°) from Independence, CA
  • 36 km (22 miles) N (356°) from Olancha, CA
  • 255 km (158 miles) W (281°) from Las Vegas, NV


Baja California, Mexico - Magnitude 3.2

Earthquake Details

Magnitude 3.2
Date-Time
  • Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 09:15:09 UTC
  • Tuesday, February 19, 2008 at 01:15:09 AM at epicenter
Location 32.141°N, 115.883°W
Depth 0.1 km (~0.1 mile) (poorly constrained)
Region BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO
Distances
  • 60 km (38 miles) SSE (151°) from Jacumba Hot Springs, CA
  • 67 km (42 miles) S (171°) from Ocotillo, CA
  • 69 km (43 miles) SW (215°) from Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico
  • 115 km (72 miles) ESE (112°) from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico

Monday, February 18, 2008

Drill gives firefighters needed training

Drill gives firefighters needed training

PAULA M. FELIPE/MERCURY-REGISTER
El Medio Firefighters turned out in full force
A condemned house on Elgin Street provided valuable training for firefighters during a live fire drill, Sunday.

"Everything went exactly the way we thought," said El Medio Chief Rusty Ohlhausen. "The slight breeze is blowing in the right direction, too. And the structure folded in on itself just the way we expected. There was no damage to the mobile home next door that is less than 10 feet away and no damage to the nearby wooden fences either."

Butte County Code Enforcement Officer Wendy Jones was happy to see the house being destroyed.

"It was 'Red Tagged' and substandard, and the property owner agreed to have it burned down so the firefighters could receive the training," she said.

The training started at 8:30 a.m. and the building was on the ground by 2:30 p.m.

Whole story at: Chico Enterprise Record

HFD - Three alarms - Hayward roller rink - Total loss

A suspicious three-alarm fire destroyed the Hayward roller skating rink this morning, Hayward Fire department officials said.

IA: Fire was reported at 3:32 a.m.
Location: Valle Vista Skating Center, l 29228 Mission Blvd.
Resources: 35 Hayward firefighters -No In juries

The building, which is estimated to be about 50,000 square feet, was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived and is a total loss, Hayward Fire Chief Craig Bueno said.

Contained: 4:15 a.m.
Controlled: 4:45 am

Street closures: temporarily closed Mission Boulevard between Industrial Parkway and West Tennyson Road. The street reopened at about 7:26 a.m.

Cause: The fire is being treated as suspicious and arson investigators remain at the scene.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Brianna Denison - A communities tragic love story

Editor: This shall serve as the final update to the search for Brianna Denison which we followed here,

Amazing Grace - Irish bagpipes for Bri
Brianna Denison picture

Brianna Denison - Some might say she was just another beautiful Nineteen year-old California college girl enjoying a school break in Reno, Nevada. Full of laughter pretty blue eye's and brandishing a gorgeous smile...

Though friends would later remark online that she was sort of shy.

And it was just another night in Reno after recent snowfalls the weather had cleared a little.

Along with friends she had a fun night checking out the Casino's, nightlife and whatever else a young college coed out on the town with close friend's does and though it was a late night they all got home safely.

After hug's and good nights all around Brianna fell asleep on her buddies couch with a blanket and a teddy bear.

Soon tragedy would strike -Sometime in the middle of the night she was abducted right out of her friends house as they all slept.

The next morning as dawn broke Brianna was gone...

Most of her possessions and warm clothing was still there but Brianna was gone.
A small amount of blood and saliva was all that was found at the scene.

By noon the news began to hit the airwaves and internet, and a miracle began to occur the local community poured out to help any way they could, the local news media covered every detail, and Brianna's story exploded on the internet.

It's obviously a whole new world of near instant communication, and nearly real time information out there and as we began to research the story that morning we found pictures, addresses, crime reports, sexual offender information, Find Brianna Blogs(1)(2), facebook profiles and Brianna sites(3)(4), myspace pages, local media information ton's of information all somehow linked to what would become Brianna's story...

Brianna's story took shape as thousands of people all over the U.S.A took interest and made sure that this story was going to stay on page one real world and Cyber world and not forgotten on a local newspapers third page.

Brianna DenisonThousands of people online had fallen in love with this little blue-eyed firecracker and in some sense we gathered around her story determined to solve the mystery and get Brianna home safely and to catch the perpetrator of this evil deed.

The story came and went on the big guns such as Fox news, But the local media such as the Reno Gazette stayed on the story nearly every day for a month without let up.

The Internet buzzed with information, speculation, and most of all real concern.

The ground and door to door searches were well organized went on nearly everyday during the height of winter.

Then they found a body...

We waited and prayed...

To be ontinued

Brighton's Song: "Not Time To Say Goodbye"

~ Valentine's Day ~

Brighton Denison, Brianna's younger brother, wrote and produced this song for his sister. His collaborator on the song is co-writer and close friend, Danielle DeTomaso. They want the world to hear it!

Please click here to download and play the MP3 file "Not Time to Say Goodbye."

Source: Bobonit News Blog - Bob's news blog: "Brianna Denison - A communities tragic love story

Twitter links

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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.
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