Twitter Buttons

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

YNP: Yosemite National Park Prescribed Burn Scheduled

Prescribed Burn Scheduled in and Around Yosemite National Park
First Burn of Season is a Collaborative Effort with Stanislaus National
Forest


Where: Yosemite National Park Fire Managers are planning a prescribed fire in the
north western portion of the park near the Big Oak Flat Entrance Station on
Highway 120 (Big Oak Flat Road) The total prescribed burn area will include 500 acres.
The Hodgdon Prescribed Burn will include 389 acres in Yosemite National Park and 111 acres in the Stanislaus National Forest.

When: Wednesday, July 6, 2011. The ignition of the burn is dependent on weather conditions.
 The prescribed area is beginning to dry out from a heavy winter snowpack and fuel moistures and other fire factors within the burn unit are reaching optimal levels to successfully burn the unit.
Yosemite National Park Prescribed Burn Map
This will be the first prescribed burn of the 2011 fire season.

Who: The fire will be managed as an interagency effort, with the agencies sharing personnel and
equipment. It is estimated that the burn will take approximately three days to complete. Temperatures over the scheduled burn dates are predicted to be in the mid-70’s.

Smoke from the burn may be visible throughout the park, but may be more
evident in the northern portion of the park. The goal of this prescribed
burn is to reduce fire fuels near the park boundaries, Hodgdon Meadow
Campground, the Big Oak Flat Entrance Station, and the Hodgdon residential
area. This will be the first prescribed fire in this specific location,
however there is evidence of natural fire history by burn scars on mature
trees in the area.

For more information on this specific prescribed burn, or the fire program,
please visit: www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/current_fire.htm.

Nevada, Placer and Yuba County Residential Burn Permits Suspended

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced that residential burn permits in Nevada, Placer and Yuba counties will be suspended beginning Friday in areas that fall under Cal Fire's jurisdiction.

Beginning Friday, all fires or smoke reported to Cal Fire will be considered a wildfire and a full suppression response will be dispatched, according to a Cal Fire news release Tuesday.

Anyone who burns in violation of the suspension will be subject to civil or criminal action and could face cost recovery charges for the fire suppression response, fire officials said.

The burn ban will stay in effect until enough rainfall accumulates in the fall to warrant lifting the suspension.

CAL FIRE: Controlled Burn - Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

62-Acre Controlled Burn Scheduled Today

Where: Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve, north of Monument Hill, on the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve west of Murrieta.
When: The burn is scheduled between 6:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Burning operations are expected to conclude by 3 p.m.
Who: Cal Fire, in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy and the California Department of Fish and Game, will be conducting the burn. Cal Fire engines and Conservation Camp Fire Crews will be on the blaze.
Why: In addition to helping the department contain future fires that may start on the reserve, the burn is part of vegetation study sponsored by UCR, the release said.
The burn is part of vegetation study sponsored by University of California Riverside.
“This burn will be an integral part of the information gathering process. In addition, the fuel-modified zone will better enable the fire department to keep fires that might start in the reserve into moving into the surrounding communities,” according to a Cal Fire news release.


Smoke: Residents throughout Southwest Riverside are expected to see smoke coming from a 62-acre controlled burn Wednesday.

CAL FIRE News: Safely Celebrating the 4th


Safely Celebrating the 4th

Camino – Every year CAL FIRE responds to multiple wildland fires caused by safe and sane fireworks putting people’s lives and property in jeopardy. Because of this risk, CAL FIRE’s Amador-El Dorado Unit Chief Kelly Keenan is encouraging everyone in Amador county to enjoy the fireworks show on Sunday July 3rd at Jackson Junior High School. Chief Keenan says “it is a great place to see the fireworks, play games and dine with your friends and family. It is centrally located and the safest way to view a wonderful fireworks display. The Jackson Lions Club hosts the event which runs from 5-9:30 PM.”

Amador County local ordinance #7.34.030 forbids the use and possession of “safe and sane” fireworks in all areas of the County with the exception of the city limits of Jackson, Sutter Creek, Plymouth and Ione. This means that if you purchase the fireworks, they must be used within the city limits, they cannot be used outside these specific areas or the person(s) face criminal prosecution.

There is a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to the use or possession of fireworks (with the exception of the cities of Jackson, Sutter Creek and Ione) by CAL FIRE, local fire districts and the local law enforcement agencies.
 
“Take the high road and play by the rules and set the best example for your family and neighbors and don’t buy fireworks and bring them into the areas where they are illegal. If you do and you get caught, not only will your fireworks be confiscated, you may be cited, facing misdemeanor charges that include up to SIX months in jail or a $500 fine or both. It simply isn’t worth the risk, especially when we have an excellent fireworks display for everyone to enjoy” adds Chief Keenan.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

CA-TUU-Stage - Wildland Fire - Tulare/Kern County 2000 acres, 45%

Stage Fire - California Wildland Fire
Update: 6-27 1645hrs - 700+ acres, IC Requesting an add ST Engines, 2 ST Crews, Immediate Need to the Fire, 2 Add. T2 Helos, 1 Logistics Officer, 1 Plans Chief, 3 additional contract tactical water tenders, additional dozer

Stage Fire Perimeter Map 6-28-11
Stage Fire location Map

Stage Fire Incident Information:
Last Updated: June 28, 2011 9:00 am
Date/Time Started: June 27, 2011 1:44 pm
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Tulare Unit
County: Tulare & Kern Counties
Location: Old Stage Road & Mountain Road 12, south of Fountain Springs,

General Area of Fire :  GPS Lat 35.811445, Long -118.844175
Cause: Under Investigation
Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, Tulare County Fire, Tulare County Sheriffs Office, Kern County Fire, BLM, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, LA County Fire Department.
Resources:
Total Fire Personnel: 259
Engines: 16
Fire crews: 10
Helicopters: 4
Dozers: 4
Water tenders: 5
Closures: Old Stage Road is closed at M56 Road.
Comms: Radio Frequencies :
Local - 151.190 Tone 15
Command -
Tac 8 - 151.370, Tac 3 - 151.175
Air - 151.310, 151.295, 151.3025
A/G - 151.220
A/A - 122.925, 135.975
Kern County Resources on Kern Com. 4 - 154.860

CA-SCU/TFD-BIRD Wildland fire - 75 acres 100%

Hills burned near Bird Road
The Tracy Fire Department originally received a call at around 11:30 a.m. of a burning structure at Bird Road and Interstate 580. When crews arrived, they found two fires, one along the interstate and a second, larger fire sweeping south across the hillsides fanned by midday winds.

Cal Fire crews work the flames as they head up the hill from fire from Bird Road. Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
Crews from Tracy fire and Cal Fire — including bulldozers, helicopters and airborne tankers — began to tackle the flames burning the hills.

An hour earlier, a transformer failed at Chrisman Road at I-580. A power line was also found down at the Bird Road fire scene, part on the roadway and part in the field. Fire officials think the power line may have been a contributing cause to the fire, but are still investigating.

Tankers dropped flame retardant as crews on the ground worked to stem the forward progress of the flames. Helicopters maneuvered near power lines to drop water on spots where the fire jumped the line.

By 1 p.m., crews had the fire 90 percent contained, and the fire was fully under control by 2:30 p.m. Fire crews were expected to stay on scene through the day, mopping up hot spots and watching for flare-ups.

Monday, June 27, 2011

CAL FIRE/CDF Jesusita Fire Entrapment Report - Green Sheet – Final Summary

 We have included a summary of Jesusita Fire Entrapment Report conclusions, to understand background situation, sequence of events, command structure and fire behavior please read the whole report at: http://wildfirelessons.net/documents/Jesusita_Entrapment_Report.pdf
Jesusita Fire Entrapment Report Map

Safety Concerns Encountered During Review
1. LCES CONSIDERATIONS: Appropriate LCES mitigations must be
established based on current and expected fire behavior. Assigned resources
should be alert for changing conditions and adjust both tactics and LCES
measures to meet new levels of risk.
a. Lookouts: Lookouts must be dedicated to this task as a singular duty
and be thoroughly familiar with the responsibilities of the position.
b. Communications: All assigned resources must be familiar with the
incident’s communication plan and have radio capability for the listed
frequencies. The com plan on 05/06/2009 was inadequate, lacking a
sufficient number of tactical frequencies to match the scope of the incident
and the number of resources assigned.
c. Escape Routes: Escape routes are easily compromised in structure
defense by remaining at the structure beyond what would be considered
safe in wildland fire operations. Escape routes on this incident were
compromised by large numbers of Type I engines on a poor system of
steep, narrow, winding roads funneling through a single outlet.
d. Safety Zones: Adequate safety zones were nearly non-existent in the
areas of Mission Canyon, Lauro Canyon, and Spyglass Ridge. In nearly
all cases, structures should not be relied on as safety zones. They are
“survival zones” and should be used only as a last resort. If no adequate
safety zones exist, decision points should be set for leaving the area using
a designated escape route.
2. USE OF BREATHING APPARATUS: In a number of cases on this incident,
crews felt it necessary to don breathing apparatus simply to remain in an area.
This is a situation that shouts, “Get Out!” When conditions are degraded to this
extent, a structure should be considered indefensible and resources move to a
safe area. Personnel involved in structure protection must not use breathing
apparatus to justify taking greater risks, but rather as a last-resort “survival tool”
in case of entrapment.
3. MOBILITY: Mobility is one of the most important tactics employed in
structure defense. Consider actions in the deployment of firefighting equipment
that will allow for rapid response to the changing fire environment as well as
maintaining the ability to escape to a safety zone. Avoid having engines
anchored to hydrants.
 4. SITUATION AWARENESS: Maintaining situation awareness is essential due
to the numerous factors that can quickly compromise the safety of the resources
assigned. Overhead at all levels should remain flexible and be prepared to
modify tactics based on changes in the fire environment. Critical information
concerning recognized hazards, unexpected weather changes, significant
events, etc. needs to be communicated to all resources as well as the Planning
Section.
5. Spot Fires: Spotting can create multiple fire fronts sometimes surrounding
firefighters, engulfing them in an ember environment, and subjecting them to
dense smoke which obscures visibility.
6. Briefings: All personnel must receive a quality briefing prior to starting their
shift. This should include resources pulled from staging areas into active line
assignments. Briefings should include pertinent local factors affecting fire
behavior.

SITE SPECIFIC FIRE BEHAVIOR ANALYSIS
1495 Spyglass Ridge Road
The Spyglass Ridge Road address was among the first areas to be impacted by
the extreme fire behavior event that occurred on the afternoon of May 6th, 2009.
According to video analysis, still photography and witness statements, the
morning of the 6th was generally benign in regards to fire behavior. However, as
the day progressed, the fire began to experience the combined effects of
lowering relative humidity, increasing temperature and change in wind direction.
At approximately 1430 the north wind effect began to overpower the traditional
upslope, upcanyon wind pattern. This wind direction directly aligned the
entrenched fire with the topography. By 1530 the fire was producing significant
downrange spotting. This spotting component then led to a rapid blowup
condition with exceptional convection dynamics; further increasing downrange
spotting. Just prior to 1600 this convective energy ran upslope in the aligned
drainage directly north of the Spyglass Ridge Road address. Low scorch height
patterns and unburned 1 hour fuels in this drainage indicate very high wind
speeds as the fire advanced through the property. Personal property, as well as
the structure itself, contributed to the fire load and local intensity. By 1610 the fire
was now deeply established in the "bowl" topographic feature directly to the
south of the property and convective energy was now being funneled
perpendicular to the initial impact. By this point, considerable heat energy still
remained in the area; but the primary activity had moved on towards the south. It
is worth mentioning that this property was closest in proximity to the fire when it
changed direction and intensity as well as being topographically aligned with
three separate drainages.
2850 Holly Road
The property at Holly Road was affected in rapid succession as the energy
released from the chaparral fuel type provided solid lifting dynamics to send
firebrands in the downwind direction and directly into the "bowl" feature directly to
the west of the address. Due to the high probability of ignition, spot fire quickly
became established in this feature. The fire then followed the path of least
resistance up through the various drainages; releasing more energy and further
propagating fire spread via spotting. Being centrally placed on a ridge running
north to south and in the overall direction which the fire progressed; the Holly
Road property is topographically aligned to several of the aforementioned "draw"
features. Evidence suggests that significant heat coursed through the property.
Consequently, spotting occurred into the "draw" towards the east side of the
property and additional fire channeled upslope from the opposite direction of the
main heat flow. This pinching type fire behavior, commonly reported during the
incident as whole, was described as "the fire was everywhere". This process
would repeat itself over and over as the event unfolded.
1433 Mission Canyon Road
The home on Mission Canyon Road is generally located in the shadows of
Mission Canyon; a large, narrow feature running deep into the front coastal range
of Santa Barbara. This topographic placement was instrumental in how the fire
spread moved through the area in question. With the weather pattern which was
in place during the first week of May, subsidence generated wind followed the
same path as the erosion patterns in the canyon. At approximately 1530, the east
flank of the fire perimeter from the previous days' burn period became
increasingly active and large spot fires were noted outside of retardant lines. The
fire was then spread further by strong erratic winds which were observed to blow
in opposite directions within a short time span. Within moments, the fire was
burning aggressively on the west side of Mission Canyon and soon spotted to the
east side of the canyon and directly below the property. Once established in
heavy fuels below the property, the fire was aligned with the upslope topography
and the cross slope wind component coming adjacent the Spyglass Road
location. Needle freeze and heat patterns indicate that fire quickly impacted the
property. As seen in other locations, the fire spotted into a small gulley to the
east of the property with Model (2) fuels and ran upslope to the home,
contradictory to the main fire flow.
1165 E, G Tunnel Road
The homes on Tunnel Road are characterized by the rolling terrain on which they
are placed. A central road bisects the ridgeline lengthwise with sloping terrain
falling off to the east towards Mission Canyon and westward towards a small box
canyon near Palomino Road. During the extreme fire behavior event, the Tunnel
Road properties were primarily impacted by a significant spotting dynamic
produced by robust energy release from the upwind fuel beds of model (4)
chaparral. It appears that numerous fires were ignited in the highly receptive fuel
bed composed primarily of annual grasses and considerable ornamental
vegetation under a canopy of oak trees; fuel Model (2). It is important to note,
that by this time, many homes upwind of the property were becoming well
involved with fire, promoting further spotting and radiant heat spread. As reported
by witnesses, the fire quickly spread in all directions under the influence of low
relative humidity and erratic winds.
1170 Palomino Road
The 1170 Palomino Road property is the last residence on the street and is
located along the same spur ridge that translates through the Holly Road
address; eventually terminating at the Spyglass Road site. Like many of the sites,
this Palomino Road address is topographically aligned with several "bowl" and
"chimney" features. The small box canyon to the east is the same canyon which
borders the Tunnel Road addresses to the west. This canyon is south facing and
possesses brush and annual grasses consistent with a low load Model (4).
 During the fire event, this Palomino address was also affected by the significant
long range spotting as the fire behavior rapidly accelerated from the north. The
south facing fuel bed of 1, 10, and 100 hour fuels quickly ignited and raced
through the favorable topography. At some point it is estimated that products of
combustion were focused from three separate directions. Several large homes in
the immediate vicinity succumbed to the fire and further supplied heat and ember
source for continued spread.
1125 Palomino Road
Lowest in elevation amongst the incident sites, 1125 Palomino Road was
geographically furthest from the initiation of the extreme fire behavior event of
May 6th, 2009. The property is located mid-slope along the eastern edge of a
south facing bowl. The fuels in the area were generally classified as annual
grasses with intermixed Mustard. This light loaded, but highly receptive fuel bed
was directly adjacent to several working orchards of citrus and avocado. Site
surveys and witness statements confirm that spotting from upwind ember source
was the primary factor in fire initiation and spread. A north facing aspect located
to the west of the site address was identified as one of the first locations in the
vicinity to receive fire activity. Pushed by winds from the north, this area quickly
spread fire over the top and into the bowl where the Palomino property is located.
The fire rapidly advanced through the light, flashy fuel bed, focused by the
topography towards the property. Sloping terrain behind the property to the east
also contributed to the funneling of heat through traditional convection from the
numerous spots fire which became established in a small valley to the east of the
property. During this time period, numerous structures in the vicinity were well
involved in fire, further increasing available embers for spot fire production
downwind.

Jesusita Fire – Final Summary
Incident Complexity and Incident Command Decisions The Santa Barbara
front country historically has been a challenging location to fight a wildland fire.
Based on the mid slope location of the Jesusita Fire, potential winds, and
proximity to urbanized areas, the decision to order an Incident Management
Team very early was an excellent decision. Unified Command was initiated very
early as well, and the ordering of the CAL FIRE Incident Command Team was
based on predicted fire spread.
Extended Attack Incident Management Challenges
The early decision for a Type I Incident Command Team illustrates the challenges for the Extended
Attack incident management on the evening of May 5 and during the day on May
6, 2009. Ramping up quickly, and providing incident management prior to the full
Incident Command Team was a challenge. Setting up an Incident Base,
producing the Incident Action Plan (IAP), resource ordering, incident staffing,
frequency coordination, correct weather forecasts, and allocating staged
resources were challenges for the Extended Attack management. The
contingency plan developed for this area during the 2008 Zaca Fire was not
utilized.

Operations Section and Branch Director Interaction
The Operations Section Chief directed the actions of two perimeter branches and one structure protection
branch. As the fire behavior increased on the afternoon of May 6, 2009, and the
fire began moving quickly down slope toward the Mission Canyon area, the
functions of perimeter control and structure protection became in conflict.
Perimeter control branches directed their resources out of the area due to the
extreme fire behavior, and into a safe area. The same increased fire behavior
increased the threat to the structures in Mission Canyon, and at the same time
perimeter control forces were leaving, additional structure protection resources
were being requested and placed in the area.
Fire Behavior was Underestimated
The early May time period as well as the observed fire behavior prior to the surfacing of the winds on May 6 led many fire suppression resources to believe control objectives could be easily met. The
backing fire that was completely consuming mature stands of chamise illustrated
the low fuel moistures in the fuel bed. This was observed by many, but this did
not trigger any concern over fire suppression operations.
Structure Protection Resource Deployment Decisions
The structure protection of Mission Canyon and other surrounding areas was a priority for the
extended attack incident commanders. Fire suppression resources assigned to
structure protection had opportunities to survey or triage the areas, and develop
a resource deployment strategy. In most cases, inadequate safety zones were identified or travel times to a designated safety zone were unrealistic due to the narrow roads and congestion. Trigger points or decision points were met for withdrawal of resources, but conditions had deteriorated or time was now
inadequate to move to the safety zones.
Structures Utilized as Primary Safety Zones
Due to the lack of or distance to a true safety zone, various structures were identified by fire suppression
resources as a safety zone.
Decisions to Stay and Defend Structures The decisions by company officers
and chief officers to “hunker in” or stay and defend structures in untenable conditions led to the burnover and near misses. Tactical decision to utilize hydrants and lay supply line also led to loss of mobility and the lack of ability to move out of the area to a safety zone.
Use of Breathing Apparatus During Structure Protection
Breathing Apparatus were used by fire suppression resources during structure protection.
To remain in a position that a breathing apparatus must be used to provide structure protection is a situation that places wildland firefighters in an untenable condition. Movement of personnel and resources to an appropriate safety zone would be warranted. It is understood that there may be times when multiple
structures are burning that appropriate airway protection can include breathing apparatus, but only within the capability and training of the firefighters.
There is no doubt that the wearing of the breathing apparatus by VNC FC-54 and VNC
FF-54 protected their airways and saved their lives. But, to preplan the staging of breathing apparatus inside the structure for usage as a last resort should never replace the removal of personnel and equipment to a safety zone.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

CA-MMU-Rest Incident - #wildfire 576 acres - 100% contained

CA-MMU-Rest
Update: 1900hrs - Many units already released.
Name: Rest Fire
County: Merced County
Location: I-5 and Paul Negra Road, 7 miles south of Los Banos
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Madera-Mariposa-Merced Unit
Status/Notes: 576 acres - 100% contained
Date Started: June 26, 2011 12:12 pm
Last update: June 26, 2011 6:30 pm
IA: CAL FIRE MMU/ Merced County fire have a new start southbound I-5 at the areca rest stop. B17 at scene reporting 5 acres light fuels moderate rate of spread. Requests 5 additional immediate need type 3's, 1 add. dozer, 1 add. water tender and a second copter with crew
Iniitial Resources committed:
B17
E71
E72
E4267
WT 75
E1681
E1675
2 doz
2 tankers
2 copters with crew
1 air tac 
second water tender should be coming out of los banos city fire WT
Transport/Dozer 1642 enroute from scu
Comms: MMU CDF Tac 7 for tactical  

CA-YNP-BALD: Yosemite National Park #Wildfire 210 acres

Bald Wildfire Perimeter Map - June 27, 2011


Yosemite Fire Update #4 (Final)

June 29, 2011
The Bald fire was reported on June 24, 2011, by the Yosemite Helitack, and Stanislaus National Forest’s Pilot and Smith Peak fire look-outs. It is suspected this is a lightning caused fire holdover, from the June 5, 2011 thunderstorms.

Bald: (37 50.823x119 47.434, approximate el. 6,200’, Tuolumne Co.). Firefighters have lined 95% percent of the perimeter. The predicted cold front arrived on Tuesday with associated winds, but the hard work in the last two days, ahead of the storm, held the fire to 210 acres. It has been raining overnight, and Crane Flat Helibase has received approximately 1.89 inches of rain. Mop-up has begun and full containment is expected later today and full control later this week. The fire is in wilderness, but is within a zone where fires are put out due to threats to property, structures and other infrastructures. The fire is approximately 1.5 miles northwest of the community of Aspen Valley. Yosemite Firefighters are being assisted with “Hot Shot” crews from the Sequoia, Los Padres and Stanislaus National Forests and Sequoia National Park. Two Hot Shot crews and one Yosemite crew will be released today. The Sierra NF Helicopter 520 was released the evening of June 28.

Many fires have occurred in this area over the years due to lightning; the largest being the 1996 Ackerson Fire. That fire burned over 60 thousand acres in the Park. Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST) continue to be utilized by firefighters to minimize impacts to wilderness: for example, utilizing natural fires breaks of rock areas rather than cut hand line.

The Cottonwood/Ackerson Trailheads, access to Aspen Valley, remain closed to hikers and pack stock. Fire and Wilderness managers will determine today when to reopen the trail.

Cottonwood: (37.9043x119.8024, 5,000’ el., Tuolumne Co.) This fire was found on June 6, 2011, after a thunderstorm of June 5. The fire is in patrol status, and will monitored on a regular basis.

Smoke from the Bald Fire is visible from the Tioga Rd., west of White Wolf, and along the Evergreen Rd., near Ackerson Meadow, and in locations along Highway 120 into the park from Buck Meadows and Groveland. It is dispersing toward the northeast from the Bald Fire. This fire is remote and has not posed health or driving hazards from smoke.
Yosemite Fire Update #3
June 27, 2011
A new fire, the Bald, was reported on June 24, 2011, by the Yosemite Helitack, and Stanislaus National Forest’s Pilot and Smith Peak fire look-outs. It is suspected this is a lightning caused fire holdover, from the June 5, 2011 thunderstorms.
Bald Incident(Wildfire):  The fire is now 210 acres. Fire activity has remained moderate and is moving to the northeast.
Cause: The suspected cause is lightning of June 5, 2011.
Location: The fire is in wilderness, but is within a zone where fires are put out due to threats to property, structures and other infrastructures. The fire is approximately 1.5 miles northwest of the community of Aspen Valley. (37 50.823x119 47.434, approximate el. 6,200’, Tuolumne Co.).
Resources: Yosemite Firefighters are being assisted with “Hot Shot” crews from the Sequoia, Los Padres and Stanislaus National Forests and Sequoia National Park. In addition, the Stanislaus and Sierra National Forest Helicopters will assist with air operations with water bucket drops and equipment hauling. A total of 130 firefighters and overhead are assigned.
Terrain/Fire behavior: Many fires have occurred in this area over the years due to lightning, the largest being the 1996 Ackerson Fire, which burned over 60 thousand acres in the Park. The fire is burning in a remote area and the terrain is steep and rugged. Firefighters indicated there was a moderate rate of fire spread and spotting through the brush.
Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST) are being utilized by firefighters to minimize impacts to wilderness: for example, utilizing natural fires breaks of rock areas rather than cut hand line.
Closures: The Cottonwood/Ackerson Trailheads, access to Aspen Valley, are now blocked, signed and closed to hikers and pack stock.

Cottonwood: (37.9043x119.8024, 5,000’ el., Tuolumne Co.) This fire was found on June 6, 2011, after a thunderstorm of June 5. A decision was made to put the fire out on June 23, 2011. The fire is in patrol status, and will monitored on a regular basis

Air Quality: Smoke from the Bald Fire is visible from the Tioga Rd., west of White Wolf, and along the Evergreen Rd., near Ackerson Meadow, and in locations along Highway 120 into the park from Buck Meadows and Groveland. It is dispersing toward the northeast from the Bald Fire. This fire is remote and has not posed health or driving hazards from smoke.


Yosemite Fire Update #2
Mid-Day - June 26, 2011

A new fire, the Bald, was reported on June 24, 2011, by the Yosemite Helitack, and Stanislaus National Forest’s Pilot and Smith Peak fire look-outs. It is suspected this is a lightning caused fire holdover, from the June 5, 2011 thunderstorms. Fire crews will investigate the site of the origin for cause determination.

Bald Incident(Wildfire): (37 50.823x119 47.434, approximate el. 6,200’, Tuolumne Co.). The fire is approximately 150 plus acres in size. Fire activity increased in the afternoon on June 25, 20111, moving toward the east. The suspected cause is lightning of June 5, 2011. The fire is in wilderness, but is within a zone where fires are put out due to threats to property, structures and other infrastructures. The fire is approximately 1.5 miles northwest of the community of Aspen Valley. Many fires have occurred in this area over the years due to lightning, the largest being the 1996 Ackerson Fire, which burned over 60 thousand acres in the Park.

Fire behavior: The fire is burning in a remote area and the terrain is steep and rugged. Firefighters indicated there was a moderate rate of fire spread and spotting through the brush. Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST) are being utilized by firefighters to minimize impacts to wilderness. For example, utilizing natural fires breaks of rock areas rather than cut hand line.

Planned Actions: Today, Yosemite Firefighters will be joined by “Hot Shot” crews from the Sequoia and Stanislaus National Forests and Sequoia National Park. In addition, the Stanislaus National Forest Helicopter will assist with air operations with water bucket drops and equipment hauling. Additional resources have been ordered including two more 20 person Hot Shot crews. A total of 130 firefighters will be on scene for tomorrow’s operational period.

Closures: The Cottonwood/Ackerson Trailheads, access to Aspen Valley, are now blocked, signed and closed to hikers and pack stock.

Air Quality: Smoke from the Bald Fire is visible from the Tioga Rd., west of White Wolf, and along the Evergreen Rd., near Ackerson Meadow, and in some locations along Highway 120 into the park from Buck Meadows. It is dispersing toward the northeast from the Bald Fire. This fire is remote will pose no health or driving hazards from smoke.
Bald Fire Yosemite National Park 6-25-11
Credit: USFS YNP
 #MIST - Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics Fire management tactics employed

Perimeter Map of Yosemite Park Bald Fire

 Incident Overview
The Bald Fire was found in the afternoon of June 24, 2011 by Crane Flat, Pilot Peak and Smith Peak fire lookouts. Although the fire is in designated wilderness, the fire is in Yosemite National Park's suppression zone and is being put out. As of June 26, the fire has burned approximately 210 acres. The fire is within the footprint of the 1996 Ackerson Meadow Fire, the largest wildfire in recorded Yosemite National Park history. The fire is visible from many locations in the northwest protion of the park. The fire is remote and the terrain is steep and rugged. One hundred and thirty firefighters are assigned to the fire, including five "Hot Shot" crews, and three Type 2 Helocopters. As designated Wilderness area, Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics (MIST) are being employed for this fire. By example, firefighters are utilizing natural barriers as rock outcroppings to check fire spread, rahter than heavy line construction.

Basic Information
Incident Type Wildfire
Cause Ligtning
Date of Origin Friday June 24th, 2011 approx. 02:40 PM
Location Yosemite National Park, Tuolumne County Yosemite National Park. Aspen Valley, Near Bald Mountain NPS. 13 miles northwest of Yosemite Village, CA. 
GPS: 37.847 latitude, -119.791 longitude
Incident Commander Pusina

Current Situation
Total Personnel 130
Size 230 acres
Estimated Containment Date Wednesday June 29th, 2011 approx. 12:00 AM
Fuels Involved Timber & white thorn. Fire is actively burning in an old fire scar which contains Heavy down slash and timber - 10 Timber litter,brush and atanding and down dead trees.
Fire BehaviorModerate rates of spread,short range spotting, with short runs in the brush. Medium potential for growth.

Outlook/Planned Actions Fire crews continue direct line construction where possible and are utilizing helocopter water bucket work as needed.
Growth Potential Medium potential with current weather and predicted weather.
Terrain Difficulty Steep and rugged.

Additional Notes/Remarks

Due to the fire's location in designated Wilderness, Minimum Impact Suppression Tactics are being utilized. Fire access is difficult due to the remote location. Fire Crews are spiking out and/or are hiking out after each day operational period.
Incident is in the wilderness with steep inaccessible terrain, ground resources in approx 2 miles.

More information:
Yosemite National Park Fire Information: Park web site link - http://www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/current_fire.htm
Inciweb: Yosemite Bald Fire Incident Link

Current Weather
Wind Conditions 7-15 mph SW
Temperature 78 degrees

DCFD: Sexual Harrasement Suit includes unflushed urinal, toilet seat up

Daly City's only woman firefighter sues over retaliation for complaining about bathroom

Daly City's only female firefighter claims she suffered retaliation from her superiors after complaining about inadequate bathroom facilities at her firehouse, according to a lawsuit.

Barbara Lewicki, 50, says she had to walk across the men's sleeping area in her station -- where firefighters were sometimes nude or in their underwear -- to get to the women's restroom. Although that bathroom was reserved for women, her male colleagues often used it. The bathroom had no lock.

"The male firefighters continuously left plaintiff's bathroom in a grotesque condition, which included the presence of unflushed urine," according to the suit filed June 16 in San Mateo County Superior Court.

Daly City denies Lewicki's claims and plans to fight them.

"We, of course, dispute her allegations," said Kathy Maylin, an attorney hired to defend the city. "Unfortunately, that's all I can say at this time."

Lewicki is a fire captain who has been with the department since July 1, 1986, but most of her allegations center on the past two years. The Montara resident said the problems started when she complained about the bathroom. She is seeking unspecified damages and wants a jury trial.

Following her complaints, Lewicki said she was singled out for wearing a worn uniform while other firefighters in older attire faced no discipline.

Her bosses forced her to send daily emails whose content replicated the information in other paperwork.

She was also accused of insubordination for unstated reasons on one occasion, according to the suit.

The trouble culminated in Lewicki's being placed on paid leave Aug. 29, 2010, after her superiors questioned her fitness for duty. In order to return she must complete a doctor's evaluation, but the physician has asked for her lifetime medical records, the suit says.

"She knew when they got those records they would find something that made her unfit," said Lewicki's attorney Angela Alioto. "She feels they are looking for anything to fire her."

Lewicki has declined to turn over the records and maintains she is fit for duty. She remains on paid leave.
Source: By Joshua Melvin
Mercury News: Article Link

#NWS FIRE WEATHER WATCH - MONO EASTERN ALPINE COUNTIES BELOW 7000 FEET.

Fire Weather Watch
#EDIS Fire Weather Watch in effect from Tuesday morning through Tuesday evening for gusty winds and low humidity for mono county below 7000 feet

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN RENO HAS ISSUED A FIRE WEATHER WATCH BELOW 7000 FEET...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM TUESDAY MORNING THROUGH TUESDAY EVENING.

AFFECTED AREA: IN CALIFORNIA...FIRE ZONE 273 MONO AND EASTERN ALPINE COUNTIES BELOW 7000 FEET.
WIND: SOUTHWEST WINDS MAY INCREASE TO 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS 45 MPH AHEAD OF A COLD FRONT TUESDAY AFTERNOON. WIND PRONE LOCATIONS COULD HAVE GUSTS TO 60 MPH AT TIMES.
HUMIDITY: MINIMUM HUMIDITY MAY FLUCTUATE BETWEEN 15 AND 25 PERCENT THROUGH THE AFTERNOON AND INTO THE EVENING.
IMPACTS: THE COMBINATION OF GUSTY WINDS AND LOW HUMIDITY WILL CREATE CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS. PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS.

Instruction:
A FIRE WEATHER WATCH MEANS THAT CRITICAL FIRE WEATHER CONDITIONS  ARE POSSIBLE. CHECK WEATHER.GOV/RENO FOR UPDATES AND POSSIBLE RED FLAG WARNINGS.
Area: MONO-EASTERN ALPINE COUNTIES-
Affected Counties or parts of: Modoc, Plumas, Placer, Mono, Lassen, El Dorado, Nevada, Sierra, Alpine

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Tehema County: Controlled Burn and Live Fire Training


CalFire and ranch plan rangeland burn

In an effort to prepare for fire season and to control medusa-head and yellow star thistle, invasive weeds that plague ranchers and conservationists alike, the Tehama-Glenn Unit of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection will conduct a control burn today and Thursday.

The burn, weather permitting, will be in partnership with the Gallatin Ranch and will burn about 800 acres of Tehama County rangeland.

This year, the burn will incorporate a live fire training course that will provide instruction for CalFire staff in the Northern Region.

The rangeland burn is located in the Red Bank area of western Tehama County not generally visible to the public.

CalFire is conducting the burn with cooperating land managers under the Vegetation Management Program (VMP), a state-sponsored cost ­ sharing program to encourage prescribed fires on private property.

Burns will be implemented only if weather conditions meet prescribed parameters for a safe, effective operation.

Last year, CalFire and partners burned about 1,550 acres of rangeland in Tehama County. 
 
Source: Red Bluff Daily News - Link

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

VacavilleFire: Drew Kostal, Vacaville Firefighter of the Year

Passion for job still burns for Vacaville Firefighter of the Year

Drew Kostal has been honored as the Vacaville Firefighter of the year.
Photo Credit:  (Rick Roach / The Reporter)
It may not have been love at first ride-along but for Vacaville Firefighter Drew Kostal, once his passion for firefighting was lit, nothing could quench the flame.

Kostal, who has spent the last 11 years with the Vacaville Fire Department, went on a ride-along with a Bay Area fire department as a freshman in high school, but at the time said it didn't stick.

"It was interesting but I wasn't totally engaged in it," he said. "I wasn't really sure that that's what I wanted to do then, I was enjoying high school and having fun."

He was still unsure about what the future held in store for him until after graduation. However, several years later, while taking an introductory firefighting class in college, he knew he had found his calling.

"I had a good instructor and learned a lot about what was expected and everything the job entailed and went after it," he said.

Kostal said he was drawn to the promise of brotherhood and the satisfaction of giving back to and helping the community and those in need of what the fire service affords.

The first in his family to pursue a firefighting career, Kostal received his associates degree in fire science from Chabot College in Hayward and worked as a volunteered with the Alameda County Fire Department and was later hired as a courier and a hydrant inspector.

Now, five months into his reign as the Vacaville Fire Department's Firefighter of the Year, it appears that his calling has paid off.

Kostal was awarded the honor by a jury of his peers at the department's annual awards ceremony in January -- something he said came as a complete surprise.

"It's an honor and, you know, all the members work as hard or harder than I do so I was very surprised that I was selected to get it," he said. "Everybody comes to work and does their job and does it to the best of their ability."

He joined the Vacaville Fire Department in March 2001 and hasn't looked back.

"The biggest thing," Kostal said, "is that you never know what's coming. ... You go to different scenes, you see different things, you get to talk to different people and there's a variety. I couldn't handle coming to work and sitting behind a desk and clicking a keyboard. It doesn't work for me or my personality, I want to be engaged and do things, I want to be active."

That mix, Kostal said, along with the people that he works with, is what makes his job rewarding.

"I have no desire to do anything else," he said. "I've got another 20 years to go and then I'll be done. But I think variety is the key."

In addition to his typical duties, Kostal is a swift water rescue technician on the swift water rescue team and a member of the department's honor/color guard, as well as serving as the union representative dealing with labor and personnel issues.

"The thing is, we have a good relationship with our chief and all of that, so we're able to work things out pretty easily," he said. "It's just basically to kind of combine our heads with the battalion chief or the division chief, whoever's making the rules to make sure that all of the policies are followed."

Kostal also developed an interest in Solano County's Hazmat Team. Six weeks and 240 training hours later, Kostal was certified as a hazmat specialist, and, along with other firefighters from across the county, assists in incidents involving the spill or release of hazardous materials.

Although Kostal said there isn't a high volume of hazmat-related calls, "the ones that we do have can be really significant, so the training is imperative and having a team together that knows what they're doing is very important."

The son of a construction worker and nurse, firefighting has taught Kostal that "any experience that you have in life can be applied to the job," whether you are building, serving in a restaurant or working as a courier.

In addition to work, Kostal has his hands full raising his two children, 6-year-old Taylor and 4-year-old Blake, along with his wife, Jennifer.

At the end of the day, it is the camaraderie with his fellow firefighters coupled with the ability to somehow help make someone's bad day a little easier that drive Kostal to succeed.

"You are helping people and it's cool, so we get that benefit and we get that joy out of knowing that we did our best to make someone's situation better," he said.

Source: The Reporter - Article Link

Monday, June 20, 2011

YNP SAR: Yosemite National Park - Search for missing Hawthorne man

George Penca Missing SAR Poster
 The Search: Rescuers resumed their search Monday for a Hawthorne man who failed to return from a day hike in Yosemite National Park, a YNP spokeswoman said. Resources: A dozen helicopters, 74 ground teams and six search dogs.
Victim: George Penca, 30, who was last seen Friday at the top of Yosemite Falls, where he was hiking with his church group.
The group of 20 hikers separated for the trip down the Upper Yosemite Falls Trail and assumed Penca had gone ahead, said park spokeswoman Kari Cobb.
Penca was reported lost about 9 p.m. Friday.
The hikers were part of a larger group of 50 to 80 park visitors from the church, some of whom have stayed behind awaiting Penca's return, she said. The name of the church and its location were not immediately available.
There is reason for optimism: The 3 1/2-mile trail with an elevation of 3,000 feet is visible from Yosemite Village and has water at the top. Weather conditions over the weekend, with overnight temperatures in the upper 40s, were fairly mild, Cobb added.
"All the conditions are favorable," she said.
Search-and-rescue teams from Mono, Mariposa, Fresno and Marin counties are helping with the search, she added.

CA-FKU-CANYON - Wildland Fire - 133 acres - 70% contained

Current Conditions: When firefighters arrived the fire was burning in densed annual grass at the end of Porter north of Hwy 180. The fire was burning in an area that was difficult to access by fire engines, however once an access point was made Bulldozers and hand crews assisted with battling the fire.

Firefighters will continue their mop up efforts today into tonight. They expect to have full control of the fire Tuesday morning. Porter North of Highway 180 will be closed for the reminder of today.
  Date/Time Started: June 19, 2011 8:15 pm

Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Fresno-Kings Unit

County: Fresno County

Location: Hwy 180 and Porter west of Squaw Valley, 8 miles east of Sangor
Threats: No structures are immediatley threatned. Two Southern California Edison 220 KV transmission lines were threatened early in the incident;
Injuries: 0
Cause: Under Investigation
Cooperating Agencies: National Park Service, Fresno County Fire, US Forest Service, CDCR, CHP & Southern California Edison
Resources: 
Personnel: 224 (196 CAL FIRE)
Engines: 18 (15 CAL FIRE)
Fire crews: 9 (8 CAL FIRE)
Dozers: 1 CAL FIRE
Water tenders: 2

CA-KRN-Antelope - Wildland Fire - 5,196 acres - 20% contained

Antelope Fire Location and Perimeter Map
The fire is burning in the McDonald / Acticline Oil Field and is moving to the west and has now burned into San Luis Obispo County along the Temblor Range. Smoke may be visible along I-5. CAL FIRE Incident Command Team 10 is enroute.   

CA-KRN-Antelope Wildland Fire Perimeter Map
CA-KRN-Antelope - Wildland Fire Map - 5,196 acres - 20% contained

Update: 7-19 0630hrs- 5,196 acres - 20% contained
Update: 7-19 2030hrs- 4700 acres (Per Kern County F.D. Facebook page)
Update: 7-19 1630hrs- 3000 acres with 10% containment.
Update: 7-19 1430hrs- IC is now reporting 2000 acres
Update: 7-19 1400hrs- 1300 acres.
Update: 7-19 1300hrs- 800 and 1000 acres now
Update: 7-19 Noon- 600 acs; Per IC -Requesting 2 ST Crews, Add. Dozer, Immediate Need to the Fire. Fire is Spotting.
Update: 7-19 1100- AA-490 reports 350 acs, light fuels, Rapid ROS, IC Requesting a 2nd Alarm, ATs, Add. Helos. Theres been a wind shift and the fire is now making a run at some Structures there in the Area.
Name: Antelope Fire
County: Kern County / San Luis Obispo County Location: 12 miles south west of the community of Lost Hills (Kern County). Access is off of Highway 46 at Antelope road. Then 7 miles south.
Administrative Unit: Kern County Fire Department / CAL FIRE San Luis Obispo Unit
Date Started: June 19, 2011 10:15 am
Last update: June 20, 2011 9:20 am
Air Resources:
AA-490, AA-500
ATs - 74, 75, 76, 81
Helos - 408, 523, 527
Ground Resources:
Dozers - Kern Dozer 1, 5
Engines - 3 Kern Engines, 7 Kern Patrols, 2 BLM Engines, 1 BLM Patrol
Crews - 2 Kern Crews, BLM Crew 5
WTs - Kern WT 51, BLM WT 3191
Online Scanner: http://www.radioreference.com/apps/a...wp&feedId=6577
Communications: Local - 153,785
Command - Kern 3 - 155.625
Tac - VFire 23 - 154.295
Air - 151.310
A/G - 151.220
Command-
155.625 Kern 3 & 151.325 SLU Local
Tactical-
154.265 VFire 22 Branch 2
154.295 VFire 23 Branch 1 Division A
168.050 NIFC Tac 1 Branch 1 Division B
168.200 NIFC Tac 2 Branch 1 Division C
Air Tactics
151.310 air Tactical
151.220 Air to Ground
131.475 Victor Net- Helo Coordination

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Young CAL FIRE Firefighter laid to rest after tragic accident

Friends and family remember Los Banos Firefighter




FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A North Valley firefighter who died following a tragic crash was laid to rest Saturday. Andrew Maloney was riding his motorcycle in Los Banos when investigators say he was hit by a drunk driver. Nearly 500 people attended Saturday's morning's service, including many people who worked with Andrew during the eleven years he served as a firefighter.

The sound of bagpipes rang out as Andrew Maloney's fellow firefighters carried his casket into the O'banion Auditorium Saturday. Inside, pictures of the 29-year-old sat alongside a pair of badges, and his Cal Fire uniform.

Firefighting was just one of several passions Andrew had, something his only brother, Matthew spoke fondly of. "Andrew's path in life has led him to many places few of us will ever see, whether it was deep underwater high upon the water, or in the landscape of a burning fire."

Andrew started his firefighting career in Los Banos back in 2000. Most recently, he worked for Cal Fire in Hornitos. But, his promising life was cut short this past Sunday when he died from injuries he received in a crash days earlier.

The California Highway Patrol says Andrew was riding his motorcycle on Highway 165 near Pioneer Road in Los Banos when 24-year-old Amie Chick made a left turn right in front of him. She was arrested and booked for suspicion of driving under the influence.

"All these fatality accidents we go to are tragic, this one is just as tragic. it's just hit a little too close to home for us," Captain Mark Simmons said.

Andrew's death has been just as difficult for Ryan Payton. She and Andrew dated for three years during their time together at Los Banos High School. "Part of me has died. Part of my childhood is gone. I'll just never forget all of the beautiful things we shared."

And neither will so many others, who say the way Andrew lived his life will stay with them, even after his death. "It's a tremendous loss, not only to the public, but to the county and to the nation," Mark Perez said.

Following Saturday morning's service, family and friends attended a private burial at the Los Banos Cemetery.
Source article: ABC - Link

Friday, June 17, 2011

Fremont WRT deploy into SF Bay to rescue CAL TRANS employees

 June 15, 2011 at approx 3pm, Fremont Firefighters deployed their WRT (water rescue team ) into the rough waters of San Francisco Bay, south of the Dumbarton Bridge to rescue two Caltrans bridge workers adrift in their service boat.
Menlo Park Fire Dept and The U.S. Coast guard was also on scene with their water rescue resources. The workers lost engine power and were helplessly adrift near the abandoned Rail Road trestle south of the Dumbarton Bridge.
Fremont Fire launched their Boat 58 with 3 personnel on board and took the disabled craft in tow. Afternoon winds generated white caps and swamped the workers boat.
No one was injured or went into the water unintentionally.
Fremont Fire Department has a FULL TIME WRT and is available to all area agencies upon request.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

California Budget May Sideline Inmate Wildland Firefighters.

Officials Try To Save California Inmate Firefighting Program From Budget Cuts

Inmates make up nearly half of California's wildland firefighters $31 million in budget cuts have eliminated 730 seasonal state firefighters, leaving 2,400.
DON THOMPSON, AP
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — State officials in California are concerned that a move to save money and reduce the state's prison population will have major consequences during firefighting season, jeopardizing a program that puts 4,300 state prison inmates on the front lines of wildland blazes each year.

The inmate crews provide a vital work force in a state where wildfires burn hundreds of homes and tens of thousands of acres in a typical year and have become even more important as budget cuts have reduced the number of seasonal firefighters employed by the state.

It's the largest such program in the nation, with inmates making up nearly half of California's wildland firefighters. But it's endangered by Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to shift responsibility for tens of thousands of lower-level offenders from state prisons to county jails to save the state money and to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld a lower court in ordering California to reduce overcrowding in its prison system.

Brown's plan targets lower-level offenders, the same inmates who generally qualify for the prisoner fire camps.

Officials say the program will not be affected this fire season because the inmate shift has not yet been funded. They are hoping county sheriffs will send inmates to the camps in future years, but say that's uncertain.

"It's a tough issue," said Oscar Hidalgo, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. "We're doing everything we can to maintain it, either through the counties or even looking very closely at eligibility for those inmates and if we can somehow retain those inmates in fighting fires."

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the program is even more important because $31 million in budget cuts have eliminated 730 seasonal state firefighters, leaving 2,400.

That means there will be three firefighters on each of the department's fire engines during the peak fire season, down from four, said spokesman Daniel Berlant. The department will keep its 3,300 full-time firefighters despite the budget cuts.

The department's full-time and seasonal firefighters operate fire engines, bulldozers, helicopters and airplanes. But it is the inmate crews that do the dirty, exhausting work of cutting and scraping fire lines with hand tools.

"They go on the front line on the fires. Their job is to go around the perimeter of a fire and clear brush, so we put a doughnut ring around the fire so there's nothing left to burn," Berlant said. "They really are the backbone of firefighting."

Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming are among states that use inmates to fight fires.

But California's inmate firefighter program is larger than many states' entire prison populations, said Alison Lawrence, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

From the first permanent firefighting camp in 1946, California's program has expanded to 39 state-operated camps and another five run by Los Angeles County. Two of the state's camps are staffed by female inmates and two by juvenile offenders.

Most inmates earn $1.45 a day when they are in training or doing community work projects. They earn $1 an hour when they are called out to fight fires. Many also qualify for two days' credit toward earlier release for each day they spend in the camps.

There are no recidivism studies on fire camp graduates, but Correctional Capt. Rae Stewart, who coordinates the program, said most benefit from the self-discipline, teamwork and vocational training.

"I'm a little older, but you see a lot of kids come in here, they've never worked before," said 53-year-old David Leach, who has spent the last 2 1/2 years as an inmate firefighter based northeast of Redding in Shasta County. "They come in here and develop a good work ethic."

Leach is due to be paroled next month to Los Angeles County and already has a job waiting with a tree service company, building on skills he learned as a firefighter.

Chris Anderson, 38, earned an associate of arts degree and several water treatment licenses during his 4 1/2 years in a firefighting camp, licenses he expects will win him a job when he gets parole in 70 days.

"Behind the walls, it's a lot more stringent, there's a lot more politics," said Anderson, of Red Bluff. "These are guys who are just trying to go home and improve their lives."

The corrections department allowed the inmates to speak with The Associated Press on the condition that they not be asked about their crimes.

In an average year, the inmate firefighters perform three million hours of emergency work and five million hours of community service in total.

The camps cost the corrections department about $47 million annually, Stewart said, but save an estimated $80 million annually for the work they provide, compared to a non-inmate earning $10 an hour.

Berlant said the program costs his agency another $77 million annually, but saves millions of dollars compared to what it would cost to hire professional firefighters at $12 to $14.55 an hour.

Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate said this spring that he hopes county sheriffs continue to send inmates to the fire camps under the law Brown signed in April. Brown sought the realignment to help cut the state's budget deficit and remove up to 40,000 inmates over three years from the nation's largest state prison system, now 162,000 inmates.

The law would give counties responsibility for adult offenders convicted of non-serious, nonviolent and non-sexual offenses. It also is the administration's primary answer to the U.S. Supreme Court's order last month that California reduce its prison population by 33,000 inmates within two years to improve the medical treatment for prisoners.

County sheriffs will have to find places to put all those inmates, Cate said, and under Brown's proposal would have the money to continue sending them to fire camps.

Each of California's 58 sheriffs could respond differently to the influx of inmates, potentially leaving the fire camps short-handed, said Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin, president of the state sheriffs' association.

"It gets into those unintended consequences of realignment," Pazin said.

State Sen. Doug La Malfa, R-Willows, fears the state could lower its standards for inmate firefighters in an attempt to maintain the program if sheriffs decide not to send many of the lower-level offenders they will inherit back to the camps.

Corrections officials said nine inmates walked away from fire camps last year, which is typical for an unfenced facility.

Source: AP - LINK Published Wednesday, June 15, 2011

CAL FIRE : Firefighter dies from motorcycle accident injuries in DUI crash

Los Banos firefighter dies after DUI crash

Other driver was under the influence and talking on cell phone, CHP says

Firefighter Andrew Maloney died in a Modesto hospital Sunday from injuries he suffered in a car crash after a woman, who investigators say was on her cell phone and under the influence of marijuana and alcohol, collided with him.

The Accident: Maloney, 29, was driving his 2011 Suzuki motorcycle southbound on Highway 165 near Pioneer Road just after 9 p.m. June 9 when 24-year-old Amie Chick, driving the opposite direction in a 2012 Jeep, made a left turn in front of Maloney, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Maloney, who was off duty at the time, couldn't avoid the crash, according to the CHP.

Chick didn't suffer any injuries and was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to the CHP.


Memorial Service:  11 a.m. Saturday in the O'Banion Auditorium at 403 F St. in Los Banos.

Maloney started his career in 2000 as a paid-call volunteer firefighter for the Merced County Fire Department in Los Banos, according to Mark Simmons, a captain for Cal Fire.
During the summer of 2001, Maloney worked as a firefighter for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, according to Simmons. He became a firefighter with Cal Fire in 2003 and stayed in that position until his death.
With Cal Fire, Maloney worked at the Los Banos, Santa Nella and, most recently, Hornitos stations. He was also involved in fire safety education programs for the public.
In his free time, Maloney enjoyed the outdoors, Simmons said. He was a scuba diver and hiked both the Appalachian and Pacific Coast trails.
An account has been set up at Chase Bank to assist the family with expenses. Anyone who wants to contribute can visit any Chase branch and make a donation in care of Andrew Maloney.

Source Article: Merced Star - Link
-------------------------------
The accident:

Los Banos man critically injured in vehicle collision

A 30-year-old Los Banos man was taken to Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, Thursday night, after he was critically injured in an accident involving a woman who was driving under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, Los Banos Police said.
Andrew Maloney was traveling south on Highway 165 approaching Pioneer Road on his 2011 Suzuki motorcycle. Amie Chick, a 24-year-old woman from Santa Nella, was traveling northbound on Highway 165 approaching the same intersection, police said.
Chick attempted to make a left turn in front of Maloney. Maloney was unable to slow down and struck the right side of Chick’s 2012 Jeep. The impact inflicted major injuries to Maloney, police said.
Chick was talking on her cell phone at the time of the accident. At the scene of the accident, Chick was also showing signs of intoxication, police said. She was arrested on suspicion of DUI and later found to be under the influence of alcohol and cannabis, police said.

Source: Link

California Budget May Sideline Inmate Wildland Firefighters.

Officials Try To Save California Inmate Firefighting Program From Budget Cuts

Inmates make up nearly half of California's wildland firefighters $31 million in budget cuts have eliminated 730 seasonal state firefighters, leaving 2,400.
DON THOMPSON, AP
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — State officials in California are concerned that a move to save money and reduce the state's prison population will have major consequences during firefighting season, jeopardizing a program that puts 4,300 state prison inmates on the front lines of wildland blazes each year.

The inmate crews provide a vital work force in a state where wildfires burn hundreds of homes and tens of thousands of acres in a typical year and have become even more important as budget cuts have reduced the number of seasonal firefighters employed by the state.

It's the largest such program in the nation, with inmates making up nearly half of California's wildland firefighters. But it's endangered by Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to shift responsibility for tens of thousands of lower-level offenders from state prisons to county jails to save the state money and to comply with a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that upheld a lower court in ordering California to reduce overcrowding in its prison system.

Brown's plan targets lower-level offenders, the same inmates who generally qualify for the prisoner fire camps.

Officials say the program will not be affected this fire season because the inmate shift has not yet been funded. They are hoping county sheriffs will send inmates to the camps in future years, but say that's uncertain.

"It's a tough issue," said Oscar Hidalgo, a spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. "We're doing everything we can to maintain it, either through the counties or even looking very closely at eligibility for those inmates and if we can somehow retain those inmates in fighting fires."

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the program is even more important because $31 million in budget cuts have eliminated 730 seasonal state firefighters, leaving 2,400.

That means there will be three firefighters on each of the department's fire engines during the peak fire season, down from four, said spokesman Daniel Berlant. The department will keep its 3,300 full-time firefighters despite the budget cuts.

The department's full-time and seasonal firefighters operate fire engines, bulldozers, helicopters and airplanes. But it is the inmate crews that do the dirty, exhausting work of cutting and scraping fire lines with hand tools.

"They go on the front line on the fires. Their job is to go around the perimeter of a fire and clear brush, so we put a doughnut ring around the fire so there's nothing left to burn," Berlant said. "They really are the backbone of firefighting."

Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming are among states that use inmates to fight fires.

But California's inmate firefighter program is larger than many states' entire prison populations, said Alison Lawrence, a policy specialist with the National Conference of State Legislatures.

From the first permanent firefighting camp in 1946, California's program has expanded to 39 state-operated camps and another five run by Los Angeles County. Two of the state's camps are staffed by female inmates and two by juvenile offenders.

Most inmates earn $1.45 a day when they are in training or doing community work projects. They earn $1 an hour when they are called out to fight fires. Many also qualify for two days' credit toward earlier release for each day they spend in the camps.

There are no recidivism studies on fire camp graduates, but Correctional Capt. Rae Stewart, who coordinates the program, said most benefit from the self-discipline, teamwork and vocational training.

"I'm a little older, but you see a lot of kids come in here, they've never worked before," said 53-year-old David Leach, who has spent the last 2 1/2 years as an inmate firefighter based northeast of Redding in Shasta County. "They come in here and develop a good work ethic."

Leach is due to be paroled next month to Los Angeles County and already has a job waiting with a tree service company, building on skills he learned as a firefighter.

Chris Anderson, 38, earned an associate of arts degree and several water treatment licenses during his 4 1/2 years in a firefighting camp, licenses he expects will win him a job when he gets parole in 70 days.

"Behind the walls, it's a lot more stringent, there's a lot more politics," said Anderson, of Red Bluff. "These are guys who are just trying to go home and improve their lives."

The corrections department allowed the inmates to speak with The Associated Press on the condition that they not be asked about their crimes.

In an average year, the inmate firefighters perform three million hours of emergency work and five million hours of community service in total.

The camps cost the corrections department about $47 million annually, Stewart said, but save an estimated $80 million annually for the work they provide, compared to a non-inmate earning $10 an hour.

Berlant said the program costs his agency another $77 million annually, but saves millions of dollars compared to what it would cost to hire professional firefighters at $12 to $14.55 an hour.

Corrections Secretary Matthew Cate said this spring that he hopes county sheriffs continue to send inmates to the fire camps under the law Brown signed in April. Brown sought the realignment to help cut the state's budget deficit and remove up to 40,000 inmates over three years from the nation's largest state prison system, now 162,000 inmates.

The law would give counties responsibility for adult offenders convicted of non-serious, nonviolent and non-sexual offenses. It also is the administration's primary answer to the U.S. Supreme Court's order last month that California reduce its prison population by 33,000 inmates within two years to improve the medical treatment for prisoners.

County sheriffs will have to find places to put all those inmates, Cate said, and under Brown's proposal would have the money to continue sending them to fire camps.

Each of California's 58 sheriffs could respond differently to the influx of inmates, potentially leaving the fire camps short-handed, said Merced County Sheriff Mark Pazin, president of the state sheriffs' association.

"It gets into those unintended consequences of realignment," Pazin said.

State Sen. Doug La Malfa, R-Willows, fears the state could lower its standards for inmate firefighters in an attempt to maintain the program if sheriffs decide not to send many of the lower-level offenders they will inherit back to the camps.

Corrections officials said nine inmates walked away from fire camps last year, which is typical for an unfenced facility.

Source: AP - LINK Published Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Arizona: AZ-ASF-Wallow - Wildland Fire - 469,407acres, 20% contained.

Wallow Fire is now the largest wildfire in Arizona's history
32 Homes destroyed, thousands remained threatened. 


Wallow Fire Update
Firefighters have achieved 20% containment of the 469,407-acre Wallow Fire. While the Wallow Fire is now the largest wildfire in Arizona's history, significant progress has been made towards containment.

Fire Operations: Firefighters continued with patrol, structure protection, containment line improvement and mop-up across the fire.
Firefighters are coordinating with local fire departments to remove hazards in preparation for eventual reentry by evacuees. Containment lines around South Fork and Nutrioso are being strengthened. Mop up, patrol and hazard tree removal continues in Alpine, Nutrioso, Tal Wi Wi, Greer and South Fork areas. Burnout is proceeding east of Alpine, bringing fire south along a dozer line from FR 220 to US 180.
Crews are continuing construction of the 9 - 10 miles of indirect line on the 33 Trail between McBride Canyon and Hwy 19l. Areas south of Black River on the San Carlos Apache Reservation are still holding. 
Air Quality: Smoke was visible from a strategic firing operation near Luna Lake. Burnout is one tool firefighters use to help slow the spread or change the direction of a fire. Burning vegetation under the right conditions allows firefighters to better control both the intensity and the movement of the fire. When the fire reaches the treated area it typically slows its spread. As weather permits, crews will ignite unburned fuels in this area to bring fire down toward US 180. Helicopters dropped water on the fire in the Blue River area in the southeast flank. Tonight will be mostly clear with areas of smoke, and a low around 46. Northwest winds will be 5 to 11 mph, with gusts as high as 18 mph.
Burned area response: The Forest Service and Department of the Interior Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) Teams will be initiating assessments of the Wallow Fire burned area to evaluate post-fire conditions and determine if emergency stabilization treatments are warranted. The two BAER teams will coordinate their assessments and work with the Tribes and other agencies to address potential flood threats that cross jurisdictions.
Wallow Fire progression / perimeter map
-------------------------
Public Safety
The communities of Greer, Nutrioso and Alpine remain evacuated due to continued active fire behavior in unburned islands within and around these communities. Hazardous burned-out trees, unstable slopes and rockfall, as well as burned out power poles are being evaluated and mitigated.
Arizona Fish and Game has a Wildlife Emergency Hotline to report injured wildlife (632) 236-7242.
Community Meetings Tomorrow and Thursday
· Luna Community Center, Luna New Mexico 7:00 P.M. (NM) 6:00 (AZ) Wednesday, June 15
· Burdette Hall in San Carlos, AZ, 10 A.M. Thursday, June 16
Current Evacuations
· Evacuations remain in effect in Sunrise, Greer, Blue River, Alpine, Nutrioso, and White Mtn. Acres.

Evacuee Information
· An evacuee meeting will be held at 10 AM Wednesday at Blue Ridge H.S. in Pinetop/Lakeside.
· Evacuees whose Post Office is closed due to fire activity may pick up their mail at the Eagar Post Office
· The evacuation center is located at Blue Ridge High School, 1200 W. White Mtn. Blvd., Pinetop/Lakeside. The phone number for the Red Cross operated evacuation center is (602) 336-6660.
· Residents with livestock or animals that need care should contact the Apache County Sheriff's Office (928) 337-4321 or the Greenlee County Sheriff's Office (928) 865-4149.

Pre-Evacuation Alert 
A pre-evacuation alert continues in Apache County for Greens Peak, Hidden Meadows Lodge and surrounding areas.
· A pre-evacuation alert by the Catron County Sheriff's Office continues for Luna, New Mexico.
Residents in the communities affected by this fire are asked to remain prepared to evacuate.
    Road Closures according to Arizona Department of Transportation: http://www.azdot.gov
    · US 191 is closed between Alpine and north of Clifton (milepost 176-253).
    · SR 261 (mileposts 395-413) and SR 273 (mileposts 378-394), the main access roads to Big Lake and Crescent Lake in the White Mountains, are closed.
    · SR 373 that connects the town of Greer with SR 260 west of Eagar is closed (mileposts 386-391).
    · US 180 is closed between SR 260 junction near Eagar and New Mexico state line (mileposts 403-433).
    · In southern Arizona, SR 366 is closed at milepost 118 leading up to Mount Graham (milepost 143) near Safford after the U.S. Forest Service determined the risk of wildfire is too extreme to allow access.
    · Partial area closures are in effect for the eastside of the Fort Apache Reservation.
    Road Openings:
    · SR 260 reopened today. Motorists are asked to drive carefully as heavy fire traffic may be present.
    Closures and Restrictions
    Apache - Sitgreaves National Forest The Apache portion of the Forest is closed to all public entry. For the Sitgreaves portion of the National Forest, a temporary emergency closure order is in effect. For further information call the Arizona fire restrictions hotline (877) 864-6985 or www.publiclands.org/firenews/AZ.php.
    Gila National Forest: A closure is in effect for the western portion of the Forest in the Quemado, Reserve and Glenwood Ranger Districts. See http://www.fs.usda.gov/gila or call (575) 388-8201, TTY (575) 388-8497.
    White Mountain Apache Reservation: Fire restrictions remain in effect.
    Public Information
    The public may call the following numbers for area specific fire information:
    · Spanish language fire information (877)-632-6678
    Springerville, Eagar, Greer, Alpine (928) 333-3412 from 8 A.M. to 8 P.M. or
    · (702) 308-3238, (702) 308-3357, (702) 308-8227 from 8 A.M. to 8.P.M.
    (877)701-8201 or (928) 205-9884
    Luna and Reserve, NM (575) 533-6928Areas south and west of the fire including San Carlos and Fort Apache tribal lands:Information is available at:
    Website Info: www.inciweb.org Twitter: www.twitter.com/AS NF
    Flickr (photos): www.flickr.com/apachesitgreavesnf

    ------------------------- 

    Update: Burnout Operation Underway Near Luna Lake

    Firefighters are burning vegetation between Wallow fire and the fireline north of road 180 in the Luna Lake fire camp area. This burnout will strengthen and connect containment lines in zones 1 and 2.
    As long as the current favorable weather conditions continue, the crews will ignite unburned fuels in the Luna Lake area and bring fire down toward road 180.
    Protection plans are in place for Luna Lake firecamp. If needed, for personal safety related to smoke or fire suppression actions, personnel may temporarily leave the fire camp.
    Residents in the area around Alpine, Luna Lake and Luna may see more smoke than usual from this operation.
    For more information about the Wallow Fire in the Luna area, please call 575-533-6928
    -------------------------

    Fire Facts:
    Location: Apache, Navajo, Graham, and Greenlee
    Injuries to Date: 7
    Counties, San Carlos and Fort Apache Reservations, Arizona; Catron County, New Mexico;
    Total Personnel: 4,734
    Includes 24 hotshot crews; 77 hand crews
    Date Started: 05/29/2011
    Cause: Human - under investigation
    Residences: 2,714 threatened; 32 destroyed;
    5 damaged
    Size: 469,407 acres total
    Commercial Property: 473 threatened; 4 destroyed
    Percent Contained: 20%
    Resources: 20 Helicopters, 5 Air Tankers available; 333 Engines; 73 Water Tenders; 20 Dozers
    Outbuildings: 1,216 threatened; 36 destroyed;
    1 damaged;
    Vehicles: 1 destroyed.
    Fire Update

     Basic Information:
    Incident TypeWildfire
    CauseUnder Investigation
    Date of OriginSunday May 29th, 2011 approx. 01:30 PM
    LocationEastern AZ near Alpine, Nutrioso, and Springerville
    Incident CommanderArea Commander Jim Loach

    Current Situation

    Total Personnel4,656
    Size478,452 acres
    Percent Contained20%
    Fuels Involved10 Timber (litter and understory)
    Fire BehaviorActive backing fire with isolated interior torching and short uphill runs where topography and winds align.
    Significant EventsContinue burnout NE of Luna Lake to secure east flank. Burned-out interior islands south of Eagar.

    Outlook

    Planned ActionsNorth Zone - Continue burnout NE of Luna Lake. Continue securing communities already impacted by fire. Maintain perimeter control by mopping-up. Continue hazard tree falling around communities and vital access roads. Begin fire suppression repair efforts. East Zone - Structure protection, continue to strengthen and secure lines, prep lines for burnout, scout line locations to meet control objectives. West Zone - Continued firing with IHCs and aerial ignitions operations on Divisions Z, Y and KK to the indirect line.
    Growth Potentialhigh
    Terrain Difficultyhigh
    RemarksIHC crews remain a critical resources for Southwest Area Command. Type 2 IMT has been ordered to replace Reinarz IMT1 which is timing out on 6/18. Acres burned by ownership are as follows: USFS - 437,395 ac. State of Arizona - 4,233 ac. Private - 6,352 ac. Ft. Apache Indian Reservation - 13,011 ac. San Carlos Indian Reservation - 8,416

    Current Weather

    Wind Conditions5-16 G25 mph SW
    Temperature76-87 degrees
    Humidity6-8%

     Media Information:
    Media briefings will be conducted at the Round Valley Primary School in Eagar at 10 A.M. and 9 P.M.Media should call the following numbers to coordinate interviews:
    · Springerville, Eagar, Greer, Alpine Media # (480) 331-9554.
    · Luna and Reserve, New Mexico (east side of fire) Media #: (575) 533-6928
    · Southwest (San Carlos and White Mountain Apache Reservation) Media #: (602) 803-4270

    Related Incident Links

    Twitter links

    -
    ****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.
    View blog top tags
    ---------------------
    CLICK HERE TO GO BACK TO TOP OF CALIFORNIA FIRE NEWS HOME PAGE