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  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    October 3rd

    By REBECCA BOONE
    Associated Press Writer
    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Wildfires across the United States have
    burned a record number of acres (hectares) this year, and with the
    scorched land comes a record bill, a federal official said.
    The U.S. Forest Service's firefighting efforts for fiscal year
    2006, which ended Sept. 30, cost more than $1.5 billion (euro1.2
    billion), at least $100 million (euro78.5 million) over budget,
    said Mark Rey, the Agriculture Department undersecretary for
    natural resources and the environment.
    To pay for the fires, money was transferred from other programs
    that had surpluses, including a reforestation program, said Kent
    Connaughton, the Forest Service comptroller.
    The wildfire season is not over yet, but so far more than 15,515
    square miles (39,700 square kilometers), or 9.93 million acres
    (3.97 million hectares), have burned in the continental United
    States, Rey said. That is the most since at least 1960, when the
    Boise-based National Interagency Fire Center began keeping reliable
    records.
    The previous record was in 2005, when more than 8.6 million
    acres (3.4 million hectares) burned. The average of the past 10
    years has been 4.9 million acres (2 million hectares).
    The 2006 tab compares with $690 million (euro541.7 million)
    spent in 2005 and $726 million (euro570 million) in 2004, Forest
    Service spokesman Dan Jiron said.

    (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    Acreage burned by wildfires sets 45-year high; hot, dry weather is
    blamed


    By CHRISTOPHER SMITH
    Associated Press Writer
    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Wildfires across the country have scorched
    more land in 2006 than in any year since at least 1960, burning an
    area twice the size of New Jersey.
    But the flames have mainly raced across sparsely populated
    desert, causing fewer firefighter deaths than in previous years.
    As of Wednesday, blazes had torched 8.69 million acres, or
    13,584 square miles, just above last year's total of 13,573 square
    miles, according to the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise.
    Reliable records were not kept before 1960, officials said. The
    annual average over the past 10 years is 4.9 million acres.
    Federal officials attributed the increase to two consecutive
    seasons of hot and dry weather that left forest and ranges parched
    and easily ignited by lightning.
    Fifteen federal, state and local firefighters have died this
    year battling wildland fires, the center reported. The worst single
    accident this year was a helicopter crash Aug. 13 in Idaho that
    killed three firefighters and the pilot.
    From 1995 to 2004, the average number of firefighter deaths was
    18, with 30 killed in 2003, according to the NIFC.
    Rose Davis of the NIFC said the 2006 acreage was skewed by
    unusually large early season range fires in Texas and Oklahoma -
    blazes that burned mainly sparsely populated areas and did not lead
    to large numbers of deaths or heavy damage to homes.
    The Interior Department and the U.S. Forest Service have spent
    about $1.25 billion fighting the fires since the fiscal 2006 year
    began last Oct. 1.
    The wildfire season may almost be over. Cooler weather and
    upper-elevation snow are expected in the Northwest.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Wildland Fire Statistics: http://www.nifc.gov/stats/index.html

    Leave a comment:


  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    9/12/06

    By SHANNON DININNY
    Associated Press Writer
    STEHEKIN, Wash. (AP) - The battle against a wildfire threatening
    this remote lakeside town continued Tuesday, as firefighters cut
    trees and vegetation to slow the fire's growth.
    Blue skies and light winds greeted fire crews Tuesday at the
    north end of Lake Chelan in mountainous north-central Washington,
    where an estimated 60 residents have been watching the Flick Creek
    fire burn nearby for nearly seven weeks.
    Already, the fire has blackened more than 11 square miles, to
    within yards of a National Park Service visitor center, a post
    office and several other buildings. Authorities ordered a mandatory
    evacuation of the boat landing and about 25 homes, largely summer
    rentals, prompting 100 tourists to leave.
    However, most residents of the close-knit community, which is
    reachable only by boat or float plane, refused to leave despite
    warnings that they, too, may be forced to flee if the fire grows.
    The community is surrounded by wilderness area, the North
    Cascades National Park and U.S. Forest Service land. Miles of
    trails make the scenic area a popular destination for tourists, who
    can escape to a town that does not even have telephone service.
    A single road leads around the end of the lake from the boat
    landing into the Stehekin Valley, where it reaches a dead end.
    Residents have no other way out if fire closes the road.
    The 7,576-acre fire was holding in an area called Imus Creek,
    but fire managers were concerned that southeast winds could blow
    the blaze toward the road Tuesday, said Barbara Budd, a U.S. Forest
    Service spokeswoman.
    Regular ferry service to Stehekin has been canceled.
    About 20 firefighters battled the blaze Tuesday, cutting trees
    and vegetation near the road, carefully dodging electricity lines
    with the aid of power crews. Still more firefighting resources were
    expected to arrive during the day, said U.S. Forest Service
    spokesman Mick Mueller.
    Chelan County Sheriff Mike Harum also met with Gov. Chris
    Gregoire on Tuesday to alert her to the situation and request
    additional resources. Gregoire visited Stehekin days after the fire
    was started July 26 by a campfire.
    Any equipment that does arrive, such as water tenders, still
    face a six-hour barge ride to Stehekin, said Deputy Sheriff Maria
    Agnew.
    "The truth is it could go either way, depending on what the
    weather allows," Agnew said. "Obviously, we're looking for
    resources to help put the fire out."
    Fire managers planned a community meeting with Stehekin
    residents Tuesday evening to discuss the fire.
    Firefighting efforts continued around the West as the wildfire
    season stretched toward autumn.
    In California, crews fought a fast-moving wildfire that scorched
    more than 30 square miles and threatened to jump Interstate 5 north
    of Los Angeles and march into the Angeles National Forest.
    The fire, which started on Labor Day in a remote area in the Los
    Padres National Forest, has burned 19,523 acres and was 25 percent
    contained by Tuesday. Authorities temporarily shut down the highway
    in both directions in the area, but reopened some lanes early
    Tuesday.
    The blaze, which U.S. Forest Service investigators said was
    sparked by someone burning debris, scorched mostly chaparral and
    brushy hillsides over the last week, but rapidly spread east Monday
    afternoon due to hot, dry and windy weather.
    In south-central Montana, crews continued to reinforce
    containment lines on the southwest edge of the fire that has burned
    an estimated 208,000 acres since it erupted three weeks ago.
    About a mile of line remains to be built on the western edge of
    the fire and managers began releasing a few crews. The total number
    of firefighters dropping by about 300 - to about 750.
    Early on, the fire burned 26 homes and about 22 other buildings,
    and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents. Two more burned
    buildings have been confirmed, managers said. The fire was reported
    to be 70 percent contained by Tuesday.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Flick fire: http://www.inciweb.org/incident/360/
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/

    (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    September 7th Top firefighting teams sent to battle Nevada blazes

    By TOM GARDNER
    Associated Press Writer
    RENO, Nev. (AP) - A national command team and three of the top
    firefighting teams in the country joined the battle Thursday
    against wildfires that have blackened nearly 375 square miles of
    rangeland the past four days, threatening ranches, mines and
    wildlife habitat.
    The Nevada fires are among the largest wildland blazes which
    have blackened more than 1 million acres nationally, or 1,563
    square miles - slightly more than the land mass of Rhode Island.
    The national command team was set up in the Elko Convention
    Center on Thursday and will coordinate efforts with the three elite
    teams.
    "I think all of our large fires are in good shape," Joe Ribar,
    commander of the national command team, said on Thursday. "If we
    get through today's issues, we'll be on the downhill side."
    Those issues include temperatures in the 80s, humidity in the
    teens and the ongoing threat of isolated thundershowers.
    Fires touched off by dry lightning since Sunday had burned
    240,000 acres in Nevada, including the Sheep fire 25 miles
    northeast of Battle Mountain in Lander County, which exploded to
    130,000-plus acres and was 20 percent contained.
    In Elko County, the 80,000-acre Amazon fire near Tuscarora,
    which was 25 percent contained, while the 16,700-plus-acre Deer
    blaze near Jackpot was 90 percent contained.
    No damage to homes or injuries were reported, but the fires
    continued to pose a threat to scattered ranches and mines as well
    as wildlife habitat, fire information officer June McMillen said on
    Wednesday.
    In Montana, fire officials were bracing on Thursday for
    advancement of the state's dominant wildfire after the blaze
    increased to 191,000 acres, with some of the growth attributed to
    deliberate burning as part of the fire battle.
    South-central Montana's Derby Mountain fire, which started Aug.
    22 and has burned 26 homes, increased from 185,000 acres. Further
    growth was anticipated because of wind and the density of dead
    trees, said Dixie Dies, fire information officer.
    "It's real rugged," Dies said. "We can't get equipment in
    there." Firefighting includes digging shallow trenches, or lines,
    in the ground to inhibit fire growth.
    Officials were concerned about the fire spreading further west
    into the Boulder River Valley. The fire crossed into the valley -
    setting for the movie "The Horse Whisperer" and home to historic
    ranches and wealthy vacation homes - earlier this week. So far,
    flames have not reached any homes in the valley.
    Forty-five percent of the fire was contained.
    Plans called for an end Friday to evacuation orders issued
    Sunday, with returning residents to remain on alert in case
    conditions change and they are advised to leave again. Lifting
    evacuation orders will open access to 265 homes, officials said.
    In Idaho, three more fires sparked by dry lightning brought the
    total number of large blazes burning in the state to 17.
    Nine large fires were burning in both Washington and Oregon as
    the Pacific Northwest's fire season dragged into the waning days of
    summer, when rains usually douse the flames.
    In Washington, state and county authorities have advised
    residents in much of Eastern Washington to take precautions against
    heavy smoke from more than a dozen wildfires in the region.
    "It is late in the year not to see any relief in sight and to
    have heavy duty fire activity in similar ecosystems in Montana,
    Washington and Oregon," said Rose Davis, a spokeswoman for the
    National Interagency Fire Agency in Boise.
    In California, a 4,230-acre wildfire was raging out of control
    in the Los Padres National Forest on Thursday, spreading in all
    directions as dry, windy weather and rugged terrain hampered
    firefighters, authorities said.
    No homes or structures were threatened and no one had been
    injured fighting the blaze, which erupted Monday afternoon 10 miles
    northwest of Castaic, said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Brigitta
    Van De Raay.
    In Nevada, the latest fires come less than two weeks after crews
    contained wildland blazes that scorched more than 240,000 acres, or
    375 square miles, near Elko - about 300 miles east of Reno.
    The fires meant more bad news for mule deer, antelope and other
    wildlife that depend on the high desert's brush and grasses for
    food and shelter.

    Associated Press writers Martin Griffith in Reno, Susan
    Gallagher in Helena and Jesse Harlan Alderman in Boise contributed
    to this report.

    On the Net:
    Incident Information System: http://www.inciweb.org/
    Nat'l Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/

    Leave a comment:


  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    September 6th

    HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Gov. Brian Schweitzer traveled to the
    command post for Montana's colossal Derby Mountain wildfire
    Wednesday as the blaze entered its third week and firefighters
    toiling in hot, dry conditions faced still another challenge: bees.
    The trip to the Derby Mountain camp in south-central Montana was
    the second for Schweitzer, who was to be briefed by fire managers,
    then take an aerial tour if the sky was clear enough. The fire that
    started with lightning Aug. 22 has spread across 185,000 acres, or
    289 square miles. It has burned 26 homes.
    Other states with major fires Wednesday included Washington and
    Nevada.
    Officials said 45 percent of the Derby Mountain blaze was
    contained. Containment consists of natural or constructed barriers,
    such as bulldozer lines, that may restrict a fire's spread.
    Information officer Joan Dickerson said the west side of the
    fire was particularly active Wednesday, when temperatures were in
    the mid 80s, humidity remained low and wind blew from the east.
    Bee stings among firefighters have been occurring at the rate of
    40 to 50 a day, said Dickerson, adding some of those stung required
    medical attention for sensitivities.
    "We've had a couple of our leaders taken to the hospital," she
    said.
    Dickerson said she had no explanation for the surge in bee
    stings.
    An evacuation order that applied to 265 homes remained in
    effect, three days after it was issued. An alert for evacuation
    readiness covered another 20 homes.
    Smoke from the Derby Mountain fire and others triggered
    air-quality warnings in southwestern Montana. The Department of
    Environmental Quality said the air in Bozeman and in the area of
    the fires was "very unhealthy" while Butte's air quality was
    "unhealthy." Air was not healthful for sensitive groups of people
    in Livingston, Helena, Missoula, Whitefish, Kalispell and Libby,
    the DEQ said.
    Smoke may linger until Friday, forecasters said.
    "We're not sure what the weekend is going to bring," Dickerson
    said. "We're prepping for a cold front" that could shift the
    wind.
    Also Wednesday, the East Boulder Mine in Sweet Grass County
    remained closed. The mine was shut down Sunday because of the fire;
    about 230 employees are affected, information officer Allison
    Jackson said.
    In Washington, a second wildfire approached the Canadian border
    Wednesday. With a dozen large fires burning in the state, officials
    watched for new blazes after a round of dry lightning strikes in
    eastern Washington. In the Seattle area, outdoor burning was
    banned.
    Weekend lightning struck more than 80 places in Washington.
    Sometimes days elapse before remote fires are detected.
    More than 3,300 firefighters were assigned to the state's 10
    largest blazes, which had burned nearly 468 square miles.
    The Columbia complex, 40 percent contained on Wednesday, took
    priority. It had burned 145 square miles, or 93,225 acres, near
    Dayton in southeast Washington. Several hundred residents remained
    evacuated, said Virgil Mink, a fire information officer for the
    U.S. Forest Service.
    Washington's largest burn was the Tripod complex, which had
    moved across 163,098 acres in the north-central part of the state.
    The fire, 56 percent contained, burned within a mile of the
    Canadian border near Haig Mountain. Canadian crews were monitoring.
    In Nevada, crew leaders Wednesday awaited arrival of more
    personnel to work on fires that blackened nearly 375 square miles
    of rangeland across the state's northeastern area during a four-day
    span.
    Officials reported 32 fires touched off by lightning since
    Sunday had burned 240,000 acres. The fires included one that
    exploded to 129,000 acres and was 10 percent contained.
    There were no reports of human injury or damage to homes.
    Information officer June McMillen said the fires were a threat to
    scattered ranches and mines, and to wildlife habitat.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Incident Information System: www.inciweb.org

    (Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    Update August 29th

    REDLANDS, Calif. (AP) - A wildfire erupted quickly in the
    southern San Bernardino National Forest on Tuesday, burning a home
    and prompting the evacuation of a tiny mountain community.
    It was one of several fires to have started in Southern
    California this week as hot weather dried out brush and increased
    fire danger.
    The fire started about 3 p.m. and burned about 2,000 acres by
    dusk, authorities said. The cause was under investigation. The
    blaze was about 5 percent contained.
    The community of Mountain Home Village was under a mandatory
    evacuation order, and nearby Angelus Oaks was under a voluntary
    evacuation, said Robin Prince, a forest spokeswoman.
    One home and two outbuildings had burned.
    Mountain Home Village resident Kevin Bondy said a number of
    people were leaving. About 60 homes are in the area.
    "You can't see (the flames) from where we're at right now,"
    Bondy said. "It's on the other side of the ridge, but I guess it's
    enough for them to evacuate us."
    Nearly 200 firefighters, along with seven air tankers and three
    water-dropping helicopters, attacked the flames as they moved north
    into the forest about 60 miles east of Los Angeles.
    The fire was burning near the eastern edge of the Santa Ana
    River, about 14 miles from San Bernardino.
    In northern Los Angeles County, firefighters contained a
    565-acre blaze near Santa Clarita. Residents of several closed
    streets were allowed to return home. Arson was suspected,
    authorities said.
    In Montana, residents of about a dozen homes were urged to
    evacuate after an afternoon windstorm fanned a fire that had burned
    about 18,000 acres and was 40 percent contained.
    It made a "pretty good run" Tuesday, information officer Pat
    Cross said. The fire was burning in national forests about 60 miles
    north of Yellowstone National Park.
    In Washington state, more favorable weather was helping
    firefighters battle a huge wilderness blaze. Firefighters were
    pulled from the lines Monday because of unsafe conditions in hot,
    windy weather.
    The lightning-caused fire covers about 142,326 acres in the
    Pasayten Wilderness in the north-central part of the state. There
    are 1,562 people battling the fire, and it is about 48 percent
    trailed, said Bud Nelson, a spokesman for the firefighting effort.

    APTV 08-29-06 2356EDT

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  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    August 23rd

    DAYTON, Washington (AP) - Red flag warnings were posted for wide
    areas of the northwestern United States, indicating extreme fire
    danger as crews battled spreading wildfires.
    Washington Governor Chris Gregoire declared a statewide wildfire
    emergency Wednesday, citing the major fires already burning and the
    potential for more blazes as weather forecasters predicted
    thunderstorms, high wind and low humidity.
    "It's very rugged terrain," Gregoire said after a helicopter
    tour of the state's largest fire, which had burned across 200
    square miles (512 square kilometers). "The firefighters go in and
    put up a line, and the fire will jump a mile over the line. ...
    We're just hoping now the weather cooperates."
    The declaration allows state agencies to spend money and
    resources to help local jurisdictions fight wildfires.
    Meanwhile, a group of wind-driven fires near Dayton in southeast
    Washington doubled in size in about 24 hours to nearly 40 square
    miles (102 square kilometers).
    Thirty-five residents evacuated from a nursing home were allowed
    to return because the smoke had cleared, and some residents of 200
    evacuated homes also came back, said Ray Steiger, information
    officer at the fire complex.
    But residents of dozens of homes near the Coppei River south of
    Waitsburg, some on pricey 5-acre (2-hectare) lots, and some people
    living along the Tucannon River were warned to be ready to
    evacuate.
    Red flag warnings or fire weather watches also were posted for
    parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Utah, the National Fire
    Information Center said.
    An evacuation order was issued Wednesday for 25 to 30 homes in a
    subdivision east of Billings, Montana, as a nearby wildfire grew to
    at least 3,300 acres (1,320 hectares), said Mary Apple, fire
    information officer with the Billings Dispatch Center. The blaze
    destroyed two homes, a barn and several outbuildings Tuesday.
    The fire, fueled by timber and grass, was reported Tuesday
    morning; the cause was not yet known.
    In California, a fire that had burned 480 acres (192 hectares),
    or about three-quarters of a square mile (nearly 2 square
    kilometers), forced the closure of trails to the summit of El
    Capitan, one of the best-known granite monuments that tower over
    the Yosemite Valley.
    The fire, which started Monday, was believed to have been
    accidentally set by people. It was about 30 percent contained
    Wednesday.
    North of Reno, Nevada, a vehicle struck a wall during a police
    training exercise Wednesday and sparked a 50-acre (20-hectare)
    brush file that destroyed several vehicles and sheds.
    In Nevada's Elko County, a week's worth of fires had blackened
    more than 360 square miles (920 square kilometers). The largest
    active fire burned nearly 36 square miles, including three cabins,
    a trailer and an outbuilding.
    So far this year, wildfires have blackened 6.8 million acres
    (2.7 million hectares), or 10,600 square miles (27,000 square
    kilometers), compared to 6.7 million acres (2.7 million hectares)
    at this same time last year, the center said.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Nat'l Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/

    Leave a comment:


  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    August 21st summary

    CASPER, Wyo. (AP) - The last evacuation orders have been lifted
    for hundreds of residents and firefighters were being sent home
    Monday after reaching 85 percent containment of a wildfire south of
    Casper.
    The fire had covered more than 11,700 acres, or about 18 square
    miles, since lightning started it Aug. 14.
    Hundreds of homes were evacuated last week on Casper Mountain,
    in central Wyoming about 5 miles south of Casper. Seven cabins, a
    barn and two outbuildings were burned, officials said.
    Only about 100 firefighters were still working on the fire
    Monday, down from more than 500 last week.
    Fire crews battled several large blazes Monday in north-central
    Washington state, including one threatening a remote community at
    the north end of Lake Chelan.
    The fire was burning in steep, dangerous terrain about 2 miles
    from Stehekin, which is reachable only by boat, air, horse or on
    foot. The fire has blackened more than seven square miles, or 4,738
    acres. It was 50 percent contained Monday.
    The largest fire in Washington has blackened nearly 190 square
    miles of forest between the north-central towns of Winthrop and
    Conconully. Firefighters estimated the fire at 121,596 acres.
    The National Interagency Fire Center reported as many as eight
    major fires burning across Idaho, on more than 415 square miles.
    They included at least four new fires that started Monday in
    southwestern Idaho, on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land
    Management territory.
    A group of four wildfires in West Texas was 50 percent contained
    Monday after charring about 12 square miles since Friday night,
    said Laura Polant, a spokeswoman for the Texas Forest Service.
    Crews battled 104 degree temperatures and low humidity.
    No injuries or deaths have been reported in the fires near
    Caddo, Texas, but one hunting cabin was burned. Twelve homes
    threatened by the fires were saved, Polant said.
    So far this year, wildfires have charred 6.8 million acres, or
    nearly 11,000 square miles, according to the National Interagency
    Fire Center in Boise, Idaho. By this same date last year, wildfires
    had covered 6.7 million acres.
    ---
    On the Net:
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov

    Leave a comment:


  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    Western RoundUp 2006

    CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - A wind-whipped wildfire threatened
    hundreds of homes under an evacuation order south of Casper, and
    firefighters wearily eyed a Wednesday forecast that could create
    conditions for the fire to spread.
    Gov. Dave Freudenthal declared a state of emergency as the blaze
    covered 7,000 acres, or 11 square miles. Officials said winds
    forced firefighters to pull back in places because embers were
    blowing across fire lines and creating spot fires behind
    firefighters.
    "The weather report isn't favorable for tomorrow," said State
    Forester Bill Crasper Tuesday night. Temperatures were predicted in
    the 90s again Wednesday, and isolated thunderstorms were possible.
    The fire was about five miles south of Casper - Wyoming's
    second-largest city, near the center of the state. But it was
    moving southeast, away from the city, toward scattered rural
    subdivisions.
    Crapser estimated about 225 firefighters were on the fire, but
    said he expected numbers to go up significantly as more crews are
    pulled from other fires elsewhere.
    "We're still calling for resources all around the country. With
    the fire activity going on about the country, resources are hard to
    come by," Crapser said.
    Elsewhere, cooler air helped firefighters in southern California
    advance on a blaze that charred about 7½ square miles and
    temporarily cut power in northern Los Angeles County on Sunday.
    Germain Aguilara, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Fire
    Department, said they hoped to have the fire fully contained by
    Wednesday night.
    "The crew keeps advancing on it," Aguilara said. "As long as
    the wind out there is not erratic, that will help us make
    progress."
    In Washington state, about 550 Army soldiers were undergoing
    basic fire training before being dispatched in 20-person crews to
    help on a 141-square-mile wildfire in the Okanogan and Wenatchee
    national forests.
    In Idaho, a blaze in the Salmon-Challis National Forest, 7 miles
    north of Stanley, had grown to more than 25 square miles and was
    threatening vacation cabins.
    In Montana, a 50-square-mile fire in the northwestern part of
    the state near the Canadian border showed little activity, and was
    75 percent contained. Meanwhile, residents of nine homes in Ravalli
    County were asked to be prepared to leave as a fire southeast of
    Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park grew to less than a square mile.
    Lightning in northern Nevada also started 10 brush fires in Elko
    County along a 100-mile stretch from Interstate 80 to near the
    Idaho line, authorities said Tuesday. Five firefighters were
    treated after their truck overturned, but the most serious injury
    was a broken arm, authorities said.
    ---
    On the Net:
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/

    Leave a comment:


  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    7/28 roundup

    A look at wildfires around the West:
    Arizona: No major fires
    California: A 4,300-acre fire in rural Riverside County that
    destroyed a home and five outbuildings was 80 percent contained. A
    1,002-acre fire that burned into Sequoia National Forest in Kern
    County was 95 percent contained. Both were expected to be fully
    surrounded by evening.
    Colorado: Wildfires were burning on more than 11,880 acres
    Monday, but none were considered a major threat to homes or other
    structures. A 360-acre fire 25 miles southeast of Meeker threatened
    about a dozen cabins and a 2,750-acre fire in Mesa Verde National
    Park remained 35 percent contained.
    Idaho: A half dozen large wildfires continued to burn on a
    combined 37,000 acres. The Hot Creek fire is the largest blaze in
    the state, burning on 19,489 acres northeast of Boise. New
    restrictions on smoking and campfires were being imposed in western
    and central Idaho.
    Montana: Fire officials said they might drop incendiary devices
    from the air to ignite a backburn in front of a 9,310-acre fire
    near Glacier National Park to protect park headquarters and nearby
    homes and businesses. Only essential personnel remain at the park's
    headquarters in West Glacier, and some of Glacier's western half is
    closed during what normally is the height of the tourist season.
    Nevada: No major fires
    New Mexico: Some crews have been released from the Spruce Fire
    Complex in the Gila National Forest of southwestern New Mexico. The
    9,452-acre fire was 50 percent contained Monday. The 18,505-acre
    Turnbo Fire in the Gila has grown little because of higher
    humidity.
    Oregon: Lightning started five small wildfires overnight in the
    Umpqua National Forest.
    Utah: The Black Rock fire has burned 482 acres and was 50
    percent contained. The fire is 30 miles west of Spanish Fork.
    Utah's largest wildfire of the season, the Bulldog fire, 17 miles
    north of Ticaboo in the Henry Mountains, has burned 31,738 acres
    and was 85 percent contained.
    Washington: More than 1,400 firefighters were battling the
    68,539-acre Farewell Creek fire, burning in the Pasayten Wilderness
    in north-central Washington. It was about 35 percent contained on
    Monday. About 60 miles southeast, the 2,233-acre McGinnis Flats
    wildfire on the Colville Indian Reservation was roughly 70 percent
    contained. A helicopter dropping water on that fire crashed on
    Friday, killing the pilot.
    Wyoming: The 370-acre Ditch Creek fire in northern Wyoming was
    50 percent contained on Monday, with full containment expected
    Thursday. In the mountains northwest of Cody, the Deep Lake fire is
    55 percent contained.



    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    July 27th

    WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) - Fire officials were positioning
    manpower and equipment to battle an approaching wildfire with fire,
    but hoped they won't be forced to light a 5,000-acre burnout sooner
    than planned because of changing weather in Glacier National Park.
    Dangerous though it may be, the strategy could pinch off the
    threat to hundreds of houses, cabins and businesses. And there may
    be no other choice, fire commanders said Sunday.
    "When the weather conditions are right and we have the
    equipment and people and resources to do the burn, that's what
    we'll do," said information officer Pete Buist. "The exception is
    if the fire starts to move quickly. Then we will have to do the
    burn quickly."
    Officials said the burnout could be ignited as early as Monday
    but they hoped to wait until Tuesday.
    Only essential personnel remained at the park's headquarters in
    West Glacier and much of the western half of the park, where at
    least three separate fires were burning, is closed during what
    normally is the height of the tourist season.
    Late Sunday, finger fires were flaring on the western portion of
    a 9,300-acre fire and it was "watch out time," said Dawn LeFleur,
    a fire information officer.
    She said forecasts call for more hot weather Monday with a front
    moving south out of Canada, suggesting increasing wind.
    Some limited burnouts, many aimed at protecting buildings, were
    ignited Sunday.
    Incident commander Joe Stam said his team was proceeding very
    deliberately with burnouts, which could take an unexpected turn and
    do more harm than good.
    That concerns Apgar resident Monica Jungster.
    "I'm kind of cringing right now," she told a community meeting
    Sunday. "My question is, `Is it dangerous to use this
    (backfire)?"'
    Stam told Jungster after the meeting that burnout planners are
    nationally renowned experts and every precaution will be taken.
    "It's not something we take lightly," Stam said. "We're
    sweating bullets when we say, 'Go ahead and light."'
    The blaze was one of three major blazes in and around the park
    that had blackened 44,500 acres by Sunday.
    An even larger blaze had burned 18,900 acres in the northwest
    corner of Glacier, just six miles south of the Canadian border. The
    fire destroyed five dwellings, damaged another and burned 19
    outbuildings. About 100 homes and cabins were still threatened.
    A third wildfire has burned 16,300 acres inside the park in a
    remote area north of Going-to-the-Sun Road.
    Large fires were also burning in other states, including
    Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Oregon, South
    Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming, the National Interagency Fire
    Center reported.
    Wildfires have turned deadly in Arizona, where a helicopter
    crash Saturday killed one firefighter and the pilot. Another
    helicopter pilot died Friday in Washington. In Idaho, two
    firefighters were killed earlier in the week.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Nat'l Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    July 24th

    By COURTNEY LOWERY
    Associated Press Writer
    WEST GLACIER, Montana (AP) - Several thousand people streamed
    out of Glacier National Park after a wildfire burned into the
    western half of the park and officials worried that conditions were
    ripe for more fires to break out.
    Wildfires have prompted officials to close most of the western
    half of Glacier - widely considered one of the crown jewels of the
    national park system. The park covers more than 1 million acres in
    northwest Montana near the Canadian border and is home to some of
    the most spectacular mountain views in the country.
    "The purpose of the evacuation is to make sure the fire doesn't
    get behind people and they don't have a way to get out of the
    park," park information officer Punky Moore said Thursday.
    Park spokeswoman Amy Vanderbilt said several thousand people
    were evacuated, including concession employees, landowners, campers
    and lodge guests.
    Park officials also ordered the evacuation of a valley on the
    eastern edge of the park because of "red flag" fire warnings
    stemming from dry conditions, high wind and low humidity.
    Officials said two fires posed the biggest threat, including one
    that swelled to at least 6,000 acres (2,400 hectares) by Thursday
    morning and a second estimated at nearly 2,000 acres (800
    hectares), officials said. The smaller blaze prompted Thursday's
    evacuations in the park's western half.
    In Idaho, residents mourned the deaths of Jeff Allen, 24, and
    Shane Heath, 22, who were overrun by flames after they had rappeled
    to the ground to fight a blaze in the Salmon-Challis National
    Forest.
    The fire, about 130 miles (209 kilometers) south of Missoula,
    was caused by lightning and first reported Sunday. Hot temperatures
    and wind blew it up from 120 acres (48 hectares) to about 1,000
    acres (400 hectares), officials said.
    "The dryness of the trees and other shrubs, the high
    temperatures of over 100 degrees (38 Celsius) for weeks, the
    relative humidity down to around 16 percent - all those factors
    contribute to very extreme fire behavior," U.S. Forest Service
    spokeswoman Erin O'Connor said.
    Another Idaho blaze grew to 14,000 acres (5,600 hectares) in the
    Boise National Forest and was about 8 miles (13 kilometers) away
    from the small town of Atlanta on Thursday. Isolated summer cabins
    were evacuated, and up to 80 residences are considered threatened.
    A 122,000-acre (48,800-hectare) cluster of fires in eastern
    Montana remained the biggest in the state, but officials said they
    were close to containing them.
    The National Interagency Fire Center said there were 45 large
    fires burning in the West, with 376,564 acres (150,625 hectares) of
    active wildfires. Other states with large fires included Arizona,
    California, Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South
    Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
    ---
    On the Net:
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov

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  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    7/23, A sad day.....

    BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Two firefighters were overrun by flames and
    killed soon after they were dropped by helicopter to battle a
    fast-moving blaze in a national forest in central Idaho, officials
    said Wednesday.
    The fire in the Salmon-Challis National Forest about 130 miles
    south of Missoula, Mont., was caused by lightning and first
    reported Sunday night. Hot temperatures and wind blew it up from
    120 acres to about 1,000 acres Tuesday night, officials said.
    Killed were Jeff Allen, 23, of Salmon, and Shane Heath, 22, of
    Boise. Allen became a seasonal firefighter in 1999. Heath, a Boise
    State University student, had been a wildland firefighter for four
    years.
    U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Erin O'Connor said the deaths
    were under investigation.
    Allen and Heath were the eighth and ninth firefighters to die
    since February nationwide, said Alan Hoffmeister, a spokesman for
    the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise. Only one of the
    previous deaths was by fire, while the others were helicopter
    crashes and accidents.
    The firefighters had just rappelled to the ground when they were
    overtaken by flames.
    All firefighters were pulled from the blaze and an investigation
    of the deaths was underway. A federal forest fire management team
    was sent to the fire, but it was unclear when the fight to contain
    the blaze would resume.
    "Firefighter safety is the number one priority," Forest
    Supervisor George Matejko said Wednesday. "The stand-down ensures
    that those involved on the fire have an opportunity to deal with
    the impact of the tragedy."
    The firefighters were part of a "helitack" crew. Such teams
    travel by helicopter to provide initial response to wildland fires,
    sometimes dropping crew members on the ground to battle small
    blazes before they grow into large fires. The crews are deployed to
    remote, steep and extremely smoky environments.
    Elsewhere in the West, neighbors armed with water tanks on their
    truck beds pitched in to help protect each others' homes as a
    cluster of range fires swept across more than 117,000 acres in
    north-central Montana.
    Residents have built fire lines, watered down yards and helped
    neighbors pack up valuable belongings since the fires erupted last
    week.
    Six to eight outbuildings burned overnight and four head of
    cattle were confirmed dead, the first confirmed cattle losses.
    Temperatures rose Wednesday and hundreds of firefighters protected
    up to 75 buildings, including the farm complex where the
    anti-government Montana Freemen holed up in a 1996 confrontation
    with federal agents.
    Some residents blamed the Bureau of Land Management for one
    fire, and criticized the interagency management team that was
    directing more than 400 firefighters in the effort to corral the
    fires.
    The fire started on bureau land and could have been stopped at
    20 acres, but bureau authorities would not allow residents to help
    suppress it, said Ross Childers, who had two ranches in danger.
    Trudie Olson, public affairs director for the bureau in
    Billings, said that the bureau has aggressively attacked all new
    fires when spotted.
    In northern Wyoming, evacuations were ordered after a wildfire
    just outside the Bighorn National Forest moved to within a
    half-mile of eight mountain homes, bureau spokeswoman Lesley
    Collins said.
    The blaze had grown to 1,500 acres and was moving northwest.
    "With the rough terrain and topography and lack of resources,
    they're just having a hard time trying to contain it," she said.
    About 250 firefighters were battling the fire, which was started
    by lightning Saturday about 20 miles southwest of Buffalo, Wyo.
    Wildfires this year have charred some 1.46 million acres
    nationwide. That remains a quieter-than-average wildfire season.
    Other states with large fires included Arizona, California,
    Colorado, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah
    and Washington.
    ---
    On the Net:
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    7/22

    BRUSETT, Montana (AP) - Rising temperatures and wind Tuesday
    threatened to revive a cluster of range fires that had burned
    105,000 acres (42,493 hectares) of north-central Montana,
    threatening isolated farm and ranch homes.
    Hundreds of firefighters had so far succeeded in protecting
    buildings, including the farm complex where a notorious anti-U.S.
    government group holed up in a 1996 confrontation with federal
    agents.
    However, about 50 people had been evacuated as the fire
    blackened stands of ponderosa pine and charred pastures and
    hayfields.
    The fires made little progress Monday, when the high was only in
    the 80s (27 degrees Celsius) , but temperatures were headed into
    the 90s (32 degrees Celsius) Tuesday, McKelvey said.
    The fires were south of the Missouri River on or near a national
    wildlife refuge.
    "Beyond a quarter of a mile, there's scorched land, scorched
    hayfields and scorched trees," said Brenda Pluhar, whose father's
    ranch sits in the path of the fire. "It's just devastating
    watching the scenery go up in smoke."
    Calmer weather on Monday had helped fire crews in northwestern
    Montana, where about 100 homes were evacuated in the path of a
    4,600-acre (1,860-hectare) fire just outside Glacier National Park.
    Elsewhere, officials said a fire blaze that had charred 1,200
    acres (485- hectares) near the community of Santa Margarita was 80
    percent contained Tuesday, state forestry officials said.
    In Wyoming, firefighters worked Tuesday to protect six homes
    about a mile from a 1,300-acre (526-hectare) blaze in Johnson
    County and three ranches about a half-mile from the flames.
    Large fires also were active Tuesday in Arizona, Colorado,
    Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah and
    Washington, the National Interagency Fire Center said.
    ---
    On the Net:
    National Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • NJFFSA16
    replied
    7/21

    SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. (AP) - A wildfire destroyed a house and
    four outbuildings and forced about 250 people to flee as it roared
    across rolling, oak-studded hills.
    The blaze was 60 percent contained Monday after charring 1,500
    acres near the community of Santa Margarita, said California
    Department of Forestry dispatcher Corrin Clark.
    About 200 other homes and 50 outbuildings had been threatened as
    high temperatures and wind help spot fires erupt, she said. The
    blaze was located in brushy cattle country about 200 miles north of
    Los Angeles. Full containment was expected Tuesday.
    The fire, reported Sunday afternoon, was caused by a spark from
    an off-road vehicle, and the driver was cited for having a modified
    exhaust system, said Nena Portillo of the California Department of
    Forestry.
    Farther south, a fire that charred more than 18,000 acres of
    brush in eastern San Diego County was 50 percent contained Monday,
    fire officials said. The fire was started by lightning on July 16.
    Full containment is expected Wednesday.
    In Montana, hundreds of firefighters battled range fires that
    have burned across 105,000 acres of the rugged Missouri River
    Breaks of the northcentral part of the state.
    About 50 people were evacuated from ranches as the fire
    blackened stands of ponderosa pine and charred pastures and
    hayfields. But calmer, cooler weather appeared to give fire crews a
    break.
    Elsewhere, a wildfire burned about 1,000 acres of timber and
    grasslands in eastern Washington state, destroying 14 vehicles and
    some outbuildings. The fire was located about five miles southwest
    of Cheney, Wash.
    The cause of the blaze, which began Sunday afternoon, was not
    known.
    It was one of several wildfires in central and eastern
    Washington. Temperatures were expected to reach as high as 103
    degrees in the eastern part of the state on Monday. No injuries
    were reported at any of the fires.
    Meanwhile, in Colorado, park officials reopened Mesa Verde
    National Park on Monday for the first time since six days, even
    though firefighters were still battling a 2,600-acre wildfire that
    was 10 percent contained.
    All the park's archaeological features were reopening, but a
    campground and shops about four miles inside the park's main
    entrance remain closed because firefighting operations are based
    there, spokeswoman Kathy Crepinsek said.
    In eastern Arizona, rain had calmed the 22,550-acre wildfire on
    the Fort Apache Indian Reservation, where hundreds of residents
    were evacuated for part of last week. No homes were damaged and
    none were threatened Monday, officials said.
    That fire was 65 percent contained Monday and firefighters hope
    to have it fully contained by Wednesday, said Kami Goklish, a
    spokeswoman for the team fighting the fire.
    Fires also were active Monday in Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada,
    Oregon, Utah and Wyoming, the National Interagency Fire Center
    said.
    ---
    On the Net:
    Nat'l Interagency Fire Center: http://www.nifc.gov/

    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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