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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Quick Look: California Wildfires Today

 Never Forget: 
July 28, 2002 – Stanza Fire
On July 28, 2002, Lassen Engine 11 rolled down a steep embankment on the Stanza Fire, Klamath NF. Of the 5 crewmembers, Steve Oustad, Heather DePaolo-Johnny, and John Self were fatally injured. Crewmembers Ryan Smith and Alex Glover fortunately survived. Visitors to the Almanor Ranger District in Chester, California are encouraged to visit the Engine 11 Memorial that sits across from the District office next to the Chester Airport. Visit the Lassen National Forest's E-11 Memorial page for more information.
July 28, 1939 – Rock Creek Fire
The Rock Creek Fire started at 11:15 on July 28, 1939 from lightning. The point of origin is located approximately five miles southeast of Orovada, Nevada and four miles due east of the Highway 95 monument. Between 15:30 to 16:00 the fire burned explosively downhill in a westerly direction, under the influence of a thunderstorm directly over the fire that produced 40 to 60 mile per hour downdraft winds. A crew was entrapped and 5 died. For more info: http://www.fire​leadership.gov/​toolbox/staffri​de/lsr3_stand1.​html (International Association of Wildland Fire, 2011) 


California Fire Weather: No current Watches or Warnings
 
Warm and dry across the state.
NWS Current Fire Weather Watches / Warnings 

California Wildfires News Today:
 The National Preparedness Level (PL) has been lowered to PL-2 as large fire activity moderated across the country.

Four MAFFS C-130 aircraft and support personnel from the 302nd Airlift Wing, Colorado Springs (US Air Force Reserve) and the 146th Airlift Wing, Channel Islands (California Air National Guard), are supporting wildland fire suppression operations out of Boise, ID.



California Wildfires Today:
CA-TCU-Graham Wildfire 100 acres - 40% contained 
  Status/Notes/Conditions: Crews continue to make progress advancing containment lines. Today resources will continue containment efforts while securing and improve existing lines; however, very steep and rugged terrain remains a cause of concern for fire suppression efforts and firefighter safety.  
Name: Graham Fire
County: Tuolumne County
Location: Off Clements Rd, northeast of Groveland
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit / Major Incident Command Team: CAL FIRE Incident Management Team #8
Acres Burned: 100 acres
Containment 40% contained
Evacuations: The Evacuation Warning has been lifted.
Injuries: 3
Cause: Under Investigation
Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, US Forest Service, Groveland Community Services District, Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office, Tuolumne County Fire, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and PG&E
Total Fire Personnel: 1,033 (842 CAL FIRE)
Engines: 61 (50 CAL FIRE)
Fire crews: 37 (32 CAL FIRE)
Airtankers: 1
Helicopters: 7 (1 CAL FIRE)
Dozers: 5
Water tenders: 12

CA-TCU- Penn  Wildfire 134 acres - 90% contained.
 Full containment expected later today.  
 Status/Notes/Conditions: Crews continue to make good progress toward the completion and improvement of the fire containment lines. Mop-up and patrol continue. Demobilization of resources expected today.  
Name: Penn Fire
County: Calaveras County
Location: Off Skunk Ranch Road, near Pennsylvania Gulch, East of Murphys
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Tuolumne-Calaveras Unit /  CAL FIRE Incident Command Team 8
Size: 134 acres
Containment 90% contained, Full containment expected later today.
Structures Destroyed: 1 outbuilding destroyed
Threatened: 12 residences threatened
Evacuations: There are no current evacuations
Injuries: 1
Cause: Under Investigation
Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, CHP, US Forest Service, National Park Service, Murphys Fire, NCPA, Calaveras SO, Altaville Melones Fire, Ebbetts Pass Fire, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, PG&E.
Total Fire Personnel: 330 (317 CAL FIRE)
Engines: 34 (31 CAL FIRE)
Fire crews: 13 CAL FIRE
Dozers: 2 (1 CAL FIRE)
Water tenders: 3

Cascade CA-YNP-1473 WUF 109 acres WUF
Location:  Yosemite National Park Wildire is burning between two upper forks of the Cascade Creek
Cause: This lightning caused fire, in Yosemite’s high elevation Wilderness
Size: The fire has grown to 109 acres.  The southern perimeter edge is the most active with occasional 6 to 12 inch flame lengths during the hottest part of the day. 

Fuels: It is burning in a short needle red fir forest.
Threats: Currently, the fire poses no threat to trails, park service buildings, infrastructure or roads, cultural or natural resources.
Status: Patrol - Firefighters continue to monitor and scout the fire to determine the potential in growth and spread direction.


CA-PNF-EUREKA Wildfire 4.5 acres. 100%
Plumas National Forest - Two-three engines and 2-20 person handcrews are finishing fire lines and mopping up the interior of the fire. Smoke and flare-ups will occur throught the day as the fire continues to burn in the interior. Two 17 person handcrews from the CA Department of Corrections Antelope Conservation Camp in Susanville worked overnight and were released yesterday..
Cause Under Investigation.

Learning: What Is Fire Suppression Repair?
The overall objective is to repair damage caused by the fire suppression activities, and to return the affected area to pre-fire conditions as nearly as possible.
 Work is specifically designed to minimize surface and gully erosion, minimize sediment delivery to stream channels, restore conditions to pre-fire drainage patterns, minimize loss of soil productivity due to potential erosion in cleared areas, and minimize the introduction or spread of noxious weed infestations.
 The goal of water barring fire lines is to drain water off the fire line and prevent concentrated flow and ultimately soil erosion.
 The goal of removing berms on dozer lines is to eliminate water channeling effect.
 The goal of repairing roads is to return drainage elements to functioning stable condition so that they effectively route water off of the road, minimize erosion and repair damaged driving surfaces.
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BOLO: Murder Suspect Headed South In California

Suspect Pedro Castellon Medina
 San Jose police identified a suspect Wednesday in a double slaying of a couple shot dead while they were at home with their children.

Who: Pedro Castellon Medina, 31, 
Medina has a tattoo of the Grim Reaper on his right lower leg and a tattoo of the letters "PMC" on his upper right back. 

Why: Medina is being sought in the killings of Pedro Jimenez, 28, and Marybel Jimenez, 27, said San Jose police Sgt. Jason Dwyer.

The victims were not married but had recently gotten back together, friends said.

Friends of the couple have described the suspect as an ex-boyfriend of Marybel Jimenez.

The victims' bodies were found inside a home on the 300 block of North Seventh Street about 4:20 a.m. Monday after officers responded to reports of shots fired, Dwyer said.

Their three children, two boys and a girl, were at home at the time but were not hurt, police said.

Where: Medina may have fled to Los Angeles, San Fernando or San Diego and may be trying to go to Mexico to escape arrest, Dwyer said.

On July 15, Marybel Jimenez wrote on her Facebook page, "I'm with the father of my kids, the man of my life! Hope everything works out for good :))."


San Jose Police Homicide Detectives have identified Pedro Castellon Medina as the suspect responsible for the killings of Pedro and Marybel Jimenez. Detectives believe that the suspect is either en route or has already arrived in Southern California. The suspect may possibly be attempting to flee to Mexico.
 Photo: San Jose Police Department,

Anyone with information on Medina's whereabouts is asked to call San Jose Police Department's Homicide Unit Detective Sgt. Stewart Davies or Detective Brian Spears at 408-277-5283. 

Those who want to remain anonymous may call Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers at 408-947-STOP (7867) or go to www.svcrimestoppers.org and be eligible for a reward.
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Oakland PD Radios Fail During POTUS Visit


Oakland Police Radios Failed During President Obama's Visit To City



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Calaveras County Columbia firefighter pleads not guilty to #Arson


A firefighter charged with being involved with several arsons pleaded not guilty at his arraignment last week.
Cody Jon Emanuel Anderson,  firefighter charged with being involved with several arsons 

Who: Cody Jon Emanuel Anderson, 18, of Altaville, is charged with multiple arson counts along with contributing to the delinquency of a minor and one charge of manufacturing an incendiary device.
 Anderson, who is held at the Calaveras County Jail in lieu of $125,000 bail, is scheduled to return to court at 3 p.m., July 30, for his pretrial in Department 2 of the Calaveras County Superior Court.
What: Information about when and where the alleged arson fires were set has not been provided by Cal Fire.
 Along with Anderson, Cal Fire investigators arrested three juveniles in connection with the arsons July 2 and the Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office charged them with 14 counts of arson. The juveniles’ names have not been released, as they were all minors.
Katrina Blumer, Cal Fire battalion chief, is heading the investigation and has not responded to multiple messages asking for comment.
What: The only string of arson fires reported in the past month occurred along Highway 4 on June 15.
 Where: Starting in the early evening, the first of four fires started about 1 mile west of Angels Camp, according to Cal Fire Capt. Tom Hutchinson at the Altaville station. Soon after extinguishing the first blaze, another fire cropped up on Six Mile Road followed by reports of a blaze across from Chatom Vineyard’s tasting room on Highway 4. A fourth fire farther up Six Mile Road kept firefighters busy well into the evening hours.
While Hutchinson wouldn’t come right out and call the four closely timed fires arson, he said “We can’t narrow it down to any specific accidental cause.”
Anderson, a Columbia firefighter, is suspected to have been involved in the same series of fires.
Why: ?.

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Reading: Firefighters talk about fighting fires, saving homes, meeting Obama

The U.S. Forest Service Meeks Bay Fire Station crew poses outside their base. From left to right: Jorge Alcaraz-Lopez, Matt Read, Jeff Dube, Lindsey Dubs and David Deleon.
The U.S. Forest Service Meeks Bay Fire Station crew poses outside their base. From left to right: Jorge Alcaraz-Lopez, Matt Read, Jeff Dube, Lindsey Dubs and David Deleon.
Axie Navas / Tahoe Daily Tribune
Jeff Dube and Jorge Alcaraz-Lopez of the Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Management Unit are shown Thursday outside their station in Meeks Bay.
Jeff Dube and Jorge Alcaraz-Lopez of the Lake Tahoe Basin Fire Management Unit are shown Thursday outside their station in Meeks Bay.
Axie Navas / Tahoe Daily Tribune

The life of a firefigher is not all excitement. Lindsey Dubs does some paperwork at the station on Thursday.
The life of a firefigher is not all excitement. Lindsey Dubs does some paperwork at the station on Thursday.
Axie Navas / Tahoe Daily Tribune
To many residents of South Lake Tahoe and Colorado Springs, Colo., they're heroes. But for the U.S. Forest Service Meeks Bay Fire Station Engine 43 crew, who helped save homes during the Waldo Canyon fire, they're just doing their job.

Of course, it's always nice to receive praise from your boss and that's just what the crew got when they met and shook hands with President Barack Obama.

The team just returned to Tahoe last week after a 26-day mission that took them through Nevada and Utah and on to fight fires in Colorado and Wyoming.

The group of five — four from South Lake Tahoe and one from Truckee — drove to Colorado last month as part of a five-engine strike team composed of units from the El Dorado National Forest and the Lake Tahoe Basin. Shortly after arriving in Grand Junction, Colo., David Deleon, Matt Read, Jorge Alcaraz-Lopez, Lindsey Dubs and Jeff Dube were sent to the Colorado Springs Waldo Canyon fire, arriving on site on June 26.

Throughout that day and well into the early morning of the next, the team worked in a suburban subdivision in which many of the buildings were packed together and already on fire.

“It was chaos to say the least, with a bunch of structures already going up,” said Read, an assistant fire engine operator.

The crew was looking to save whatever structures it could while still keeping the team safe. In USFS firefighting lingo, they were in a wildland-urban interface area, where buildings abut wildfire-prone land. According to Read, it can be some of the most dangerous firefighting there is.

“I think a dangerous thing with this urban interface is unknowns in people's houses. You're trying to protect a house and, if the garage catches, there's propane tanks and gasoline and all that hazard material. On that night, I don't know how many times we were cooling off propane tanks,” said Dube, a seasonal firefighter.

The Waldo Canyon fire, like Angora, threatened hundreds of structures, forcing firefighters out in front of the fire to prevent the flames from spreading to more houses. In Colorado Springs, 364 houses burnt but many were also saved, said Dubs, a seasonal firefighter. The Engine 43 crew managed to protect a cluster of homes in the subdivision that night by dousing the roofs with water and engaging with the head of the fire.

This is Dubs' first season fighting fires with the USFS, and she said it was quite the experience — intense, hot and exciting, but not scary.

“It was the most intense and most fire all at once. Just going through those houses really quickly. And sometimes so fast you have to take a step back because it's hot and we only have so much water on our engine,” Dubs said.

The team finished its 21-hour work day around 4 a.m. on June 27. A few days later, they returned to the subdivision for after-action review and to see the site in the light.

The crew was about to leave when they got a call from the strike team leader asking if they were ready to meet their boss. Deleon, the team's engine boss, thought that that meant the incident commander or maybe a metonymic representative of the public. But when the presidential motorcade pulled up and men in plain clothes with ear pieces stepped out of the SUV with tinted windows and flags, the team knew they were in for a surprise.

“Out pops a guy with glasses, looks one way and then the other way, and then — boop — out pops Obama. And I was like, ‘Is that really him?' It was pretty cool,' Deleon said.

“It was nice he came out and recognized the guys on the ground, the ground-pounders. It was really nice of him to come out and shake our hands and take a minute out of his schedule, say hi to everybody and thank us for all the hard work we did,” Deleon said.

News coverage of the Engine 43 team might have trickled off after they met the president, but their work did not. The crew drove north to Wyoming to help with the Oil Creek fire and work in the Medicine Bow National Forest before finally retuning to the Lake Tahoe Basin last Thursday.

It was Dube's longest time away from home fighting fires, and he admitted it can be a strain.

“It's very hard. This is your job, you signed up for it, and a couple weeks go by and you're like, ‘This is my job.' You have to keep reminding yourself how much you love your job. When it's all over, you will be going home,” Dube said.

As cool as meeting the president might have been, both Deleon and Read agree that meeting Obama fits into a bigger picture for the USFS a a whole. Just a few weeks ago, Obama offered healthcare to seasonal firefighters like Dubs and Dube.

“It can get brushed under the rug how much work we do on the fires. It's been a very beneficial thing to have us seen in that light by the public. It's been a pretty awesome experience,” Read said.


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Quick Look California Wildfires Today

 Major Injury Accident: A CAL FIRE firefighter sustained a major injury at the Penn Wildfire while engaged in firefighting operations off Skunk Ranch Road in the early hours of the fire. 
 The firefighter and a CAL FIRE engine were struck by a civilian motorist on Skunk Ranch Road. The CAL FIRE firefighter was transported by helicopter to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto for treatment. He is currently undergoing surgery for his injuries.
 The civilian motorist declined treatment at the scene. 
 The CAL FIRE engine sustained moderate damage. 
 An investigation into the accident and subsequent injury is being conducted by the California Highway Patrol. 
 CAL FIRE has activated a serious accident review team as part of standard departmental procedures for injuries and vehicle damage of this nature.


Fire Weather: No Current Fire Weather Watches Or Warnings In California NWS Current Fire Weather Watches / Warnings

       Per the National Interagency Coordination Center effective immediately the National Preparedness Level is being reduced to 2 (PL2). 
     Demobilization of all resource types is occurring in most geographical areas. Initial attack capability is high in most areas and competition for resources between geographical areas is non-existent.
     Although areas are experiencing hot and dry conditions, NICC is not seeing a high risk for significant fires in the short term. Large fire activity has been decreasing daily and containment dates of existing large fires are in the near future.   The Southern Geographic Area issued a Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisory for the "Potential for Extreme Fire Behavior, Potential for Long Term Burning and resistance to control" for areas of Oklahoma and Arkansas. http://www.predictiveservices.nifc.gov/fuels_fire-danger/SAFuelsFire_behavior_advisory_7_25_2012.pdf There are currently Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisories isssued for the Northwest, Western Great Basin, Eastern Great Basin,Northern Rockies, Southern, and Eastern (1 for IL, WI, IN, and MI, 1 for MO, IN & IL) Geographic Areas.
     The NIFC Predictive Services' Fuels and Fire Behavior Advisories webpage is http://www.predictiveservices.nifc.gov/fuels_fire-danger/fuels_advisories.htm  Cal Fire firefighter who was seriously injured while on scene of a fire in the Sierra foothills Wednesday afternoon is recovering after surgery.  Cal Fire said that five-year veteran Nathan Fyock was hit by a car off of Skunk Ranch road while at the fire in Murphys. Fyock, 39, continues to receive treatment at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto. Officials said that the firefighter was taken by air ambulance to the hospital where he underwent surgery.  The California Highway Patrol is investigating the crash. Cal Fire said a driver also hit a fire engine.
    CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES TODAY: Eureka (Wildfire) Location: Plumas National Forest - Eureka Ridge Area 
    GPS: 39.84 latitude, -120.744 longitude
    Situation: Incident Commander reports very good progress; fire is holding at 5 acres at 7:00pm.  Burning in timber/timber litter. 
    Smoke visible from CA State Highway 70. Additional resources cancelled. Smoke will continue as interior of fire area burns.
    Resources: Air tankers and helicopters on scene in addition to 5 engines, 20 person handcrew, dozer, and numerous single resources. Another hot shot crew will be on scene soon. 
    Cascade (Wildfire) CA-YNP-1473 Location:  Yosemite National Park
     This is a lightning caused fire, in Yosemite’s high elevation Wilderness.  Fire is burning between two upper forks of the Cascade Creek, The fire has grown to 109 acres.
    Situation: It is burning in a short needle red fir forest. The southern perimeter edge is the most active with occasional 6 to 12 inch flame lengths during the hottest part of the day. Currently, the fire poses no threat to trails, park service buildings, infrastructure or roads, cultural or natural resources.Resources:  Firefighters continue to monitor and scout the fire to determine the potential in growth and spread direction.
    Graham  (Wildfire) CA-TCU-6808 CAL FIRE ICT 8 (Veneris) has been activated for the CA-TCU Penn/Graham fires
    Location: Clements Road / Community of Groveland.Situation: Fire has burned 100 acres, and is 20% Containment.Fire is burning deep in the Tuolumne River Canyon, was 20 percent contained as of Thursday evening.  A Cal Fire incident update overnight said about 20 homes were threatened and that residents were urged to voluntarily leave their homes. Evacuation warning was issued for homes on Clements Road, from Cliffton Way to the end of Clements Road, by the Pine Mountain Lake Airport.
    Penn (Wildfire) CA-TCU-8609 CAL FIRE ICT 8 (Veneris) has been activated for the CA-TCU Penn/Graham fires.Location:  Pennsylvania Gulch / Community of Murphy’sSituation: Fire has burned 134 acres, and is 60% containment.
    Adobe (Wildfire) CA-INF-846 Location:  NE/O Mono Lake
    Situation: Fire is 8-10 acres, 0% containment. The forward rate of spread has been slowed, however there are some areas of isolated torching. Fire is burning in Pinyon & Juniper on right flank and sage on left flank. 
    Resources: Firefighters are being shuttled in to fire by helicopter. Access problems are hampering suppression efforts. Jumper 52 with eight smoke jumpers has jumped this fire. Values at risk are watershed and wilderness.
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Thursday, July 26, 2012

CA-YNP- Cascade #WUF #ForestFire - 109 acres, potentially 1000

Yosemite Fire - Update #2 – July 26, 2012

Cascade: (37 46.173 x 119 40.519; 7800’el. Mariposa Co.)  This lightning caused fire has been slowly burning since June 16, in Yosemite’s high elevation Wilderness.  It started during an afternoon thunderstorm on June 15th.  

Cascade Fire Yosemite National Park
Credit: NPS




The fire has grown to 109 acres.  It is burning in a short needle red fir forest between two upper forks of the Cascade Creek. The fire has slowly smoldered through sparse surface fuels of duff, forest litter and occasionally creating enough heat to ignite brush. The southern perimeter edge is the most active with occasional 6 to 12 inch flame lengths during the hottest part of the day. Currently, the fire poses no threat to trails, park service buildings, infrastructure or roads, cultural or natural resources.  

The fire could potentially grow to 1000 acres over the next month due to typical warm and dry weather for this time of year.  Firefighters continue to monitor and scout the fire to determine the potential in growth and spread direction. Although the immediate fire area has a history of lightning, there is no recorded recent large fire history.  Normally fuels too wet during this time of year to support active fire growth.  Due to light winter snowpack this year, fuels at this elevation are now able to support fire spread and allow this natural fire to play a vital role in Yosemite Wilderness.  The nearest historic fire to the Cascade Fire suggest that fires at this elevation, in this forest type, creep and smolder for weeks and only make runs during dry windy conditions.

Additional information: Red fir forests burn about every 30 years. Cascade Fire is burning in an area that has not burned in at least 60-90 years.  Because there are no resources threatened at this time or in the near term future, allowing this fire to burn in this area, this year promotes healthy, resilient ecosystem function.  If resources are threatened, and/or smoke impacts threaten human health, fire managers will reassess the objectives of this fire.

Though California is hot and dry, which is typical for this time of year and there are few fires burning in our region.  Other fires nationally are starting to wind down due to cooler weather and monsoonal flow patterns assisting firefighters in suppression efforts. Resources are available to assist with managing the Cascade Fire.  The Cascade Fire meets the park fire management objectives of minimal risk to firefighter and public safety, federal and public property, air quality and Wilderness character.  

Smoke: Light smoke has been visible mainly in the morning hours near Cascade Falls and the community of Foresta.  Smoke may become more visible at high locations within the park.  Fire managers are working closely with state and local air pollution regulators concerning potential adverse air quality impacts to nearby smoke sensitive areas.  Yosemite’s Division of Resources Management and Sciences personnel have installed air quality monitoring equipment within the communities of Lee Vining, Hodgdon Meadow, El Portal and Yosemite Valley.  


The park’s webcam located at Crane Flat Helibase will capture fire images, which can be viewed at:  http://ssgic.cr.usgs.gov/dashboards/WebCam.htm?

For additional Information:


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RRU: Fired Cal Fire captain retroactively resigns


 Who: Cal Fire captain Arthur Gonzalez, who worked at Station 18 on Mission Boulevard, Jurupa Valley has been allowed to retroactively resign after he appealed his dismissal for submitting incorrect time sheets.
 Why: Gonzalez was fired Feb. 11, 2011, for submitting incorrect time sheets after a battalion chief found inaccuracies with the amount of time Gonzalez claimed to have worked, according to Ginevra K. Chandler, chief counsel for Cal Fire.
What: Gonzalez appealed the action, and his attorney and Cal Fire reached a settlement before the scheduled hearing this summer. The terms of the settlement prohibit Gonzalez from ever seeking employment with Cal Fire again.
 Also, Cal Fire agreed to remove all documents related to this case from Gonzalez’s personnel file, and Gonzalez dropped his appeal.  Gonzalez was represented by John Bakhit of Upland-based Lackie, Dammeier and McGill, which specializes in representing public safety employees. Gonzalez hired Bakhit after his first attorney was barred from practicing law in California

Where: 
 Former Cal Fire captain Arthur Gonzalez,  worked at Station 18 on Mission Boulevard, Jurupa Valley John Hawkins, chief of the Riverside unit, said the Gonzalez case prompted him to order a review of 13 months of time sheets of about 1,200 employees in Cal Fire Riverside unit. 
What Else: A firefighter based in El Cerrito south of Corona received a letter of warning, and a firefighter in Desert Center was demoted.

California Fire News 2012 

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USDA: Prescribed Burning and Mechanical Thinning Pose Little Risk to Forest Ecology



Prescribed burn at the Tahoe National Forest. (Photo: Steve McKelvey, U.S. Forest Service
 There’s hot debate over whether or not to conduct prescribed burning and mechanical thinning (the manual removal of trees) in our nation’s forests. Supporters of these fuels reduction methods, which remove highly flammable undergrowth, argue that they help lower the severity of wildfires. Meanwhile, opponents say that the treatments can hurt the environment. 
New research by scientists from the U.S. Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station and six universities in the U.S. and Australia has shown that prescribed burning and mechanical thinning can be conducted with few negative consequences. The scientists looked at a broad range of ecological indicators, such as animal and bird diversity and soil chemical composition, which helped to detail the effects of these treatments on vegetation, soils, wildlife, bark beetles and carbon sequestration (trees’ ability to capture carbon dioxide).
Prescribed burn at the Tahoe National Forest. (Photo: Steve McKelvey, U.S. Forest Service
They found that prescribed burning and mechanical thinning had little or no effect on a forest’s vegetation, soils, wildlife, bark beetles and carbon sequestration.  In fact, these treatments increased the overall diversity of vegetation and improved tree health, making the trees more resilient to bark beetle attacks. Wildlife appeared unaffected or adapted quickly to the treated areas—some birds and small mammals that prefer shady, dense habitat moved away, while others that prefer more open environments thrived.
Some communities, particularly in the western U.S., are opposed to prescribed burning because they are concerned about cost and environmental impacts. As a result, other methods to reduce the potential of wildfires, such as tree removal, have become attractive, especially if forest managers can retain tree stand health. But, in reality, a combination of both prescribed burning and thinning is needed to reduce the severity of wildfires in many forests, according to co-author Dr. Chris Fettig, a research entomologist at the USDA Forest Service’s Pacific Southwest Research Station.

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Quick Look: California Wildfires Today

Weather: No Current Fire Weather Warnings or Watches - NWS Current Fire Weather Watches / Warnings

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Penn Fire: 180 acres - 15% contained
Penn Fire Incident Information: Progress made overnight constructing direct and contingency lines
Continuing threat to distribution power lines
Heavy fuels with continuing threat to Stanislaus River drainage
Evacuations lifted, roads open to residents only.

A CAL FIRE firefighter sustained a major injury while engaged in firefighting operations off Skunk Ranch Road in the early hours of the fire. The firefighter and a CAL FIRE engine were struck by a civilian motorist on Skunk Ranch Road. The civilian motorist declined treatment at the scene. 
 The CAL FIRE firefighter was transported by helicopter to Memorial Medical Center in Modesto for treatment. He is currently undergoing surgery for his injuries.
 The CAL FIRE engine sustained moderate damage.  An investigation into the accident and subsequent injury is being conducted by the California Highway Patrol. 
CAL FIRE has activated a serious accident review team as part of standard departmental procedures for injuries and vehicle damage of this nature. 
Date/Time Started: July 25, 2012 3:24 pmAdministrative Unit: CAL FIRE Tuolume-Calavares Unit
County: Calavares County
Location: Off Skunk Ranch Road, near Pennsylvania Gulch, East of Murphy
Acres Burned: 180 acres
Containment 15% contained
Structures Destroyed: 1 outbuilding destroyed
Threatened: 12 homes threatened
Evacuations: Evacuations have been lifted.
Injuries: 1
Cause: Under Investigation
Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, CHP, US Forest Service, National Park Service, Murphys Fire, NCPA, Calaveras SO, Altaville Melones Fire, Ebbetts Pass Fire, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, PG&E.
Total Fire Personnel: 263
Engines: 20
Fire crews: 9
Airtankers: 4
Helicopters: 4
Dozers: 4
Water tenders: 5
Conditions: Both Pennsylvania Gulch and Skunk Ranch Road are anticipated to be ooen to local residential traffic only at 21:00 tonight.
 
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Graham Fire: 100 acres - 5% contained
Graham Fire Incident Information: Clements Road / Community of Groveland
SRA and FRA within CAL FIRE DPA
Potential continues for active fire behavior with slope and wind alignment
Very steep slope with creeping, roll out and possible spotting
Difficult access to flanks
Potential for fire to establish itself in Tuolumne River drainage

Continuing threat to Tuolumne river wild and Scenic areaDate/Time Started: July 25, 2012 3:10 pm
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Tuolume-Calavares Unit
County: Tuolume County
Location: Off Graham Ranch Road, East of Groveland
Acres Burned: 100 acres
Containment 5% contained
Cause: Under Investigation
Cooperating Agencies: CAL FIRE, US Forest Service, Groveland Community Services District, Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office, Tuolumne County Fire, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and PG&E
Total Fire Personnel: 264
Engines: 21
Fire crews: 8
Airtankers: 3
Helicopters: 2
Dozers: 3
Water tenders: 3
Conditions: The fire is burning in very steep and difficult terrain.
 
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Paskenta Fire: 300 acres - 100% containment
Name: Paskenta Fire
County: Tehama County
Location: off Round Valley Rd in Paskenta
Administrative Unit: CAL FIRE Tehama-Glenn Unit
Date Started: July 25, 2012 6:30 pm
Last update: July 25, 2012 9:30 pm 

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In memoriam - East Pierce (WA) Fire Chief Daniel Packer was fatally injured July 26, 2008 during a shelter deployment on the Panther Fire, Klamath National Forest. In order to prepare for assuming responsibility of a division the following day, Chief Packer was scouting the fire with another incoming Division Supervisor when the fire ran up a drainage and cut off their escape route. For more information, visit http://www.wlfalwaysremember.org/incident-lists/88-daniel-packer.html

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In memoriam - On July 26, 1978, Six Rivers NF engine crewmembers Richard Montano, Gayle Tsutsumi, and David Perrine were killed, and Mark Evans and Gene Schmoker injured when their engine collided with a logging truck south of Orleans, California. The Orleans engine was responding to fires in Weitchpec when the accident occurred. For more information, visithttp://www.wlfalwaysremember.org/incident-lists/235-orleans-tanker.html

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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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