24 Aug 2009, 10:25pm
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City leaders urge thinning of watershed despite lawsuit threats

By Vickie Aldous, Ashland Daily Tidings, August 22, 2009 [here]

An Ashland City Council majority has agreed to send a letter to National Forest Supervisor Scott Conroy asking for timely approval of a U.S. Forest Service plan to thin wildfire fuels in the Ashland Watershed.

The city of Ashland, its Forest Lands Commission and other groups, including The Nature Conservancy, have been cooperating with the Forest Service to develop the thinning plan and a monitoring system.

Note: the Ashland Forest Resiliency Project Final Environmental Impact Assessment - September 2008 is [here].

Ashland Fire & Rescue Forest Resource Specialist Chris Chambers told councilors earlier this week that $225,000 in Forest Service funding was lost because the federal agency has yet to make a decision about the thinning project.

“That money was passed on to other areas. Other money in the queue could be lost as well,” he said.

The project could involve thinning of brush and trees on 7,600 acres of Forest Service land in the watershed over a 10-year period.

Mayor John Stromberg said complex legal issues about what activities can be allowed in inventoried roadless areas are holding up a decision on the project.

Part of the watershed contains roadless area land.

Councilor Greg Lemhouse was joined by councilors Russ Silbiger, Kate Jackson and David Chapman in voting to send the letter asking for approval of the project.

“This is a tinderbox here,” Lemhouse said, referring to conditions in the watershed.

Councilors Eric Navickas and Carol Voisin voted against sending the letter.

The mayor votes only to break a tie.

Navickas said he was concerned that the project was developed under the Bush Administration-era Healthy Forests Restoration Act.

The act allowed the Forest Service to make one project proposal and consider a community alternative. In the past, the Forest Service had to analyze several options.

The proposed option for the Ashland Forest Resiliency Plan includes elements of an alternative plan developed by local residents with expertise in forest, fire and environmental fields.

Navickas said he would like the Forest Service to approve a scaled-down Ashland Forest Resiliency Plan that would allow work to proceed quickly by removing controversial elements like logging of large trees. He has long been a proponent of thinning only brush and small diameter trees in the watershed.

“They can avoid litigation and get work done quickly on the ground,” Navickas said.

Note: When Eric Navickas threatens lawsuits, he means it. He has sued the USFS before [here]. He is a self-described “environmental activist” with a history of disrupting public meetings [here]. He also has a history of violent protest representing a group called Ashland Creek First! [here]. He opposes forest restoration for fire resiliency and has supported homeless camps in the Ashland watershed despite the obvious fire risk and hazard [here]. The list of his radical pro-holocaust anti-forest activities goes on and on. Eric Navickas is a real piece of work.

24 Aug 2009, 10:22pm
Latest Fire News
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Burning questions remain about restaurant fire

Silver Dollar Cafe owners seek answers in wake of Friday’s fire

by Melissa Sánchez, Yakima Herald-Republic, Aug. 24, 2009 [here]

MOXEE, Wash. — Rick and Martha Lounsbury aren’t looking to blame anybody for Friday’s fire, but they have two unanswered questions.

Why didn’t any of the half-dozen firefighters eating inside their Silver Dollar Cafe minutes before it burned down tell them it was at risk?

What agency calls the shots when multiple crews are on a wildfire that’s sweeping through this so-called “no-man’s land”?

Late Sunday afternoon, the Lounsburys trudged around the charred remains of the decades-old diner on State Route 24 they bought last December.

A massive wildfire [the Dry Creek Complex here] sparked by lightning Thursday night destroyed the iconic burger-and-shake joint that had served as a gathering place for this small, rural community outside Moxee. …

Lightning in this area late Thursday started two major fires in federal and private lands north of Sunnyside to the Columbia River, straddling state routes 241 and 24. The cafe sits at that intersection.

Starting Thursday, nearby residents helped each other put out flames in the brush and grass in this area about 30 miles east of Yakima. They borrowed farmers’ water trucks and watched each other’s property.

This barren stretch of State Route 24 is considered no-man’s land and falls under no fire district’s responsibility, officials from multiple agencies said Sunday.

Residents in this eastern part of Yakima County do not pay for fire protection, said Michael Reil, deputy chief of Yakima Fire District No. 4, which covers much of Terrace Heights and eastern Yakima County.

Dale Warriner, who is spokesman for the multiagency team in charge of fire management, said, “That restaurant or cafe was not in any fire precinct or district, so I guess nobody technically had responsibility for it.”

The fire moved fast throughout the area and crews from the state’s Department of Natural Resources, Richland, Walla Walla and Hanford were fighting different parts of it. At its peak, the fire would cover some 40,000 acres — although about 80 percent had been contained by Sunday evening and both state roads had been reopened.

And on Friday afternoon there were about a dozen firefighters from various agencies inside the Silver Dollar, which is something like an oasis for folks passing through or residents themselves. At least six firefighters had ordered burgers, said Martha Lounsbury, who remembers the number because she was flipping the patties at the time.

She could see smoke from beyond the hills around her property, but no flames in the minutes before the fire began around 6:30 p.m.

“I just kept watching the smoke but didn’t feel threatened at all. There were firefighters inside. If they’d just have even said the wind was moving closer …” she trailed off. “I don’t know.”

Her husband was on his way back to the diner with his daughter in a borrowed water truck when he saw the flames. But firefighters on State Route 24 didn’t let him through, he said.

“I don’t blame the firefighters, but I blame the mismanagement of superiors,” said Rick Lounsbury, who works in cement mixing. “If it’s a no-man’s land, why wouldn’t they let me in with the water truck to fight the fire?” … [more]

20 Aug 2009, 1:38am
Latest Climate News
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Seven arrests in suspected £38m carbon credit fraud

Seven people have been arrested and 27 addresses raided over an suspected £38m fraud involving the trade of carbon credits to avoid paying value-added tax (VAT).

By Rowena Mason, Telegraph UK, 19 Aug 2009 [here]

Officers from HM Revenue & Customs searched both residential properties and offices in both Gravesend and London targeting an alleged network of organised crime.

Members are believed to have been trading large volumes of high-value carbon credits from overseas sources free of VAT.

Tax investigators believe these may then have been sold on to businesses in the UK charging VAT that is never paid to the authorities.

Officers said further arrests are likely, adding that the proceeds of this alleged crime have been “used to finance lavish lifestyles and the purchase of prestige vehicles”.

The Treasury removed VAT from carbon credits on July 31 as a temporary measure until the European Union works out a common policy to tackle fraudsters.

The tax dodge appears to be a variation of “carousel” VAT fraud. Carousel fraud, also known as “missing trader” fraud, typically involves goods such as mobile phones and computer chips imported VAT-free from EU member states. These are then sold in the UK, including a VAT charge, but the trader then going missing without paying the taxman.

Companies now need permits to emit carbon dioxide as part of the global fight against climate change and polluters are granted a certain number of emissions allowances that can be traded.

“The Government took decisive action to prevent this type of fraud recurring by zero rating carbon credits for VAT,” said Les Beaumont, deputy director of criminal investigation for HMRC.

Arctic Ice Rebounds — Summer Extent Greatest Since 2004

Summer Sea Ice Good News for Hudson Bay Polar Bears

By PR Newswire, Aug. 18, 2009 [here]

CHURCHILL, Canada — Scientists have confirmed what a Tundra Buggy(R) business in Churchill is witnessing: that due to colder-than-usual subarctic weather this year, healthier polar bears are being spotted along the west Hudson Bay coast.

“We are going to have a great opportunity this autumn to fulfill our Tundra Buggy Adventure guests’ expectations of snow, ice and healthy polar bears,” says John Gunter, General Manager of Frontiers North Adventures in Churchill. “The last couple weeks, as polar bears have been making their way from ice to land for the summer, we’ve seen from our Tundra Buggies numerous big, healthy polar bears in Manitoba Conservation’s Churchill Wildlife Management Area, east of Churchill.”

“This year there is more ice on average,” explains Dr. David Barber, a Canada Research Chair in Arctic System Science and the director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science at the University of Manitoba. “Hudson Bay in particular has seen a very cold winter and essentially a late spring.” … [more]

Graph courtesy International Arctic Research Center in cooperation with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

19 Aug 2009, 12:04am
Latest Forest News
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Weyerhaeuser sells 140,000 acres to Campbell Group

By CASSANDRA PROFITA, The Daily Astorian, 8/18/2009 [here]

The pending sale of 140,000 acres of Weyerhaeuser timberland ties a quarter of Clatsop County’s total acreage to a wide array of profit-seeking investors in the global economy.

It also links the North Coast to a sweeping trend in timberland ownership, wherein insurance companies, pension and mutual fund managers direct land-use decisions based on what will deliver the most profits to investors.

Weyerhaeuser Co. is selling almost all of its timberland in Clatsop County to an entity affiliated with The Campbell Group LLC, a Portland-based timberland investment company.

The sale is expected to close this month, and does not include Weyerhaeuser’s Warrenton sawmill or the acreage near Seaside and Cannon Beach…

The Campbell Group is one of the largest timberland investment management organizations (TIMOs), which help investors avoid corporate taxes and long-term capital gains. The tax savings give TIMOs an economic advantage over corporations like Weyerhaeuser in managing timberland.

The Campbell Group already manages 2.85 million acres and $5.3 billion in timberland assets as a subsidiary of an international investment firm, Old Mutual Asset Management of London. …

Gary Lettman, economist for Oregon Department of Forestry, said timber companies like Weyerhaeuser have been shedding timberland rapidly over the past 10 years, as well as contracting out the jobs that they used to keep in-house. Timber companies used to own timberland and sawmills and had an incentive to keep both operations going. Now, timberland management organizations can decide whether sending logs to the mill is the most profitable use of their asset. … [more]

18 Aug 2009, 11:54pm
Latest Climate News
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Global Warming, a Mass Mania

by Walter Starck, Quadrant Magazine Ltd., August 11, 2009 [here]

Throughout history episodic eruptions of mass manias have swept societies. These outbreaks embody the dissatisfactions, fears and hopes of their times while offering a shining path to a bright new future. They are characterised by a millenarian nature, wherein threat of punishment for past sins is accompanied by promise of salvation through a new faith.

The power of mass manias is reinforced by severe disapproval of any questioning of their certain truth. Any doubt is seen not just as error needing correction but as conscious deliberate evil deserving expulsion or extermination. With adherents permitted only to support the established dogma, these movements tend to gather followers rapidly. But they also soon become afflicted with a growing disconnect from reality which they can neither acknowledge nor adjust for.

As no believer dares express anything other than certainty, social manias tend to persist for some time after their disconnect with reality has become obvious to all. In the face of such recalcitrant reality, leaders are forced to become ever more extreme in their proclamations. This then often leads to a zenith of zealotry and disconnect just before increasingly obvious reality finally forces them to make some small admission of error. The spell is then broken and the faith collapses.

Global Warming is the mania of our times. While there is good scientific evidence that atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing from the burning of fossil fuels, and that carbon dioxide does indeed absorb infa-red heat radiation of certain frequencies, it is purely speculation that this will cause a climate catastrophe. …

Unfortunately, the academics, activists, politicians and bureaucrats leading the push for carbon dioxide taxation and use of renewable energy are non-producers who are woefully ignorant of both the economic reality of productive activity and the practical limits of technology. They are techno-economic-illiterates with a cargo cult understanding of production. Their prescriptions amount to a ritualistic belief that admitting sin (GW) and making an appropriate sacrifice (carbon dioxide taxes) will in some undefined (magical) way bring forth all the right changes, discoveries and implementations that are needed to effect a bright new world of clean endlessly renewable energy with minimal inconvenience to anyone. … [more]

18 Aug 2009, 5:11pm
Latest Fire News Latest Forest News
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High Erosion Rates After Wildfires Affect Forest Rehabilitation

Colorado State News Release, August 10, 2009 [here]

FORT COLLINS - For nearly 10 years, researchers at Colorado State University have investigated wildfires and the resulting effects on flooding and erosion. These include intensive field studies prior to and after the Hayman wildfire in Colorado, which burned more than 100,000 acres in 2002, and rainfall simulation studies in the laboratory. Newly published results in the Soil Science Society of America Journal indicate that soil erosion rates after forest fires are largely dependent on the amount of ground cover rather than the amount of soil water repellency, and this has important implications for designing effective post-fire rehabilitation treatments.

These issues are of concern because severe wildfires can increase stream flows and erosion rates by 10 to 100 times relative to undisturbed forests. The increases in water flow can cause downstream flooding, degrade public water supplies, fill reservoirs and hurt fish habitats.

The number, extent and severity of wildfires are projected to increase as a result of land-use and climate change. After large fires, millions of dollars are often spent on a variety of treatments to reduce flooding and erosion. The effectiveness of these treatments is uncertain, and land managers must better understand the underlying causes of the increase in post-fire runoff and erosion to make informed decisions about possible treatment options.

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Agricultural Methods Of Early Civilizations May Have Altered Global Climate

ScienceDaily, Aug. 18, 2009, [here]

Massive burning of forests for agriculture thousands of years ago may have increased atmospheric carbon dioxide enough to alter global climate and usher in a warming trend that continues today, according to a new study that appears online Aug. 17 in the journal Quaternary Science Reviews.

Researchers at the University of Virginia and the University of Maryland-Baltimore County say that today’s 6 billion people use about 90 percent less land per person for growing food than was used by far smaller populations early in the development of civilization. Those early societies likely relied on slash-and-burn techniques to clear large tracts of land for relatively small levels of food production.

“They used more land for farming because they had little incentive to maximize yield from less land, and because there was plenty of forest to burn,” said William Ruddiman, the lead author and a professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia. “They may have inadvertently altered the climate.”

Ruddiman is a climate scientist who specializes in investigating ocean-sediment and ice-core records. In recent years he has searched across scientific disciplines – anthropology, archaeology, population dynamics, climatology – to gain insight into how humans may have affected climate over the millennia.

He said that early populations likely used a land-clearing method that involved burning forests, then planting crop seed among the dead stumps in the enriched soil. They would use a large plot until the yield began to decline, and then would burn off another area of forest for planting.

They would continue this form of rotation farming, ever expanding the cleared areas as their populations grew. They possibly cleared five or more times more land than they actually farmed at any given time. It was only as populations grew much larger, and less land was available for farming or for laying fallow, that societies adopted more intensive farming techniques and slowly gained more food yield from less land.

Ruddiman notes that with the highly efficient and intensive farming of today, growing populations are using less land per capita for agriculture. Forests are returning in many parts of the world, including the northeastern United States, Europe, Canada, Russia and even parts of China. … [more]

Note: historical landscape geography studies indicate that vast areas of Amazonia were home to sedentary civilizations who farmed the same soils for hundreds or even thousands of years. This was not slash-and-burn but permanent agriculture. See Amazonian Dark Earths: Wim Sombroek’s Vision [here].

16 Aug 2009, 10:00pm
Latest Forest News
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Ninth Circuit ruling to reinstate Roadless Rule leaves wilderness areas vulnerable to fire

The JURIST, August 16, 2009 [here]

by Mike Dubrasich [Executive Director, Western Institute for Study of the Environment]

On August 5th the San Francisco based Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals set aside the State Petitions Rule and reinstated the Roadless Area Conservation Rule, more commonly known as the “Clinton/Dombeck Roadless Rule.

The Ninth Circuit Court, the most overturned court in the United States, has once again overstepped its authority, written law from the bench, and engendered massive environmental destruction across nearly 60 million acres of federal land in the West.

Background: the Clinton (Dombeck) Roadless Rule was rushed through (by proclamation) in the waning days of that administration. It was immediately litigated in more than a dozen courts. In 2003, Judge Brimmer, a United States District Court Judge for the District of Wyoming, found, in response to the complaint filed by the State of Wyoming, that NEPA had been violated on several different levels, including the fact that Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) input from the states had been excluded, the process had been rushed, the United States Forest Service (USFS) had failed to take the requisite “hard look” at the proposed rule, and that the NEPA process was a sham in order to adopt a political rule. Judge Brimmer also found that the Roadless Rule violated the Wilderness Act [PDF file] in that it designated 58.5 million acres as defacto wilderness despite the fact that only Congress has the authority to do so. Judge Brimmer enjoined the Clinton/Dombeck Roadless Rule. The USFS developed an alternative plan, called the State Petitions procedure, ensuring that not only would state concerns be addressed, but that tribes, local governments, and the general public would be able to participate in the NEPA process.

The usual environmental groups sued in the Ninth District Court and, in 2006, Magistrate Laporte concluded that the State Petitions procedure violated NEPA because it was not accompanied by an EIS. In the strangest twist of legal logic, she then reinstated the enjoined Clinton/Dombeck Roadless Rule, and ordered that the USFS comply with its terms.

Wyoming again filed suit in an attempt to fix the mess created by Magistrate Laporte’s decision. In August 2008, Judge Brimmer issued yet another permanent national injunction against the Clinton/Dombeck Roadless Rule. Then (judicial ping pong) on Aug 5, 2009, the Ninth Circuit Court affirmed Laporte’s ruling and reinstated the defective and repeatedly enjoined Clinton/Dombeck Roadless Rule.

That is an abuse of discretion, despite the Ninth Circuit Court’s claim to the contrary. It may be within the power of the Ninth Circuit Court to throw out the the State Petitions Rule for violating NEPA, but it is not within their power to reinstate the Clinton/Dombeck Roadless Rule, which has itself been found to violate NEPA. The remedy to the defective State Petitions Rule cannot be another defective rule found to be illegal by another court.

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13 Aug 2009, 9:35pm
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Ancient Weapons Point to First Use of Fire for Tools?

Christine Dell’Amore, National Geographic News, August 13, 2009 [here]

With the tell-tale sheen of heat-treated rock, a 72,000-year-old cache of stone weapons found in Africa suggests humans began using fire to create tools nearly 50,000 years earlier than previously thought, a new study says.

Scientists had thought people began manipulating fire to create tools in Europe about 25,000 years ago. But the new finds suggest that people in what is now South Africa discovered that heating a stone called silcrete would make it easier to flake, allowing them to shape more advanced blades, knives, and other tools.

These early engineers likely used some of these tools, mounted on handles, to hunt and butcher wide range of prey, from the aggressive Cape buffalo to the tiny mole rat, according to the authors of the study, to be published tomorrow in the journal Science.

Birth of Modern Humanity?

This sophisticated control over fire reflects advanced smarts, and marks the turning point when we became “uniquely human,” said study leader Kyle Brown, an archaeologist at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

“These people were extremely intelligent,” Brown said. “These are not the image of the classic cavemen, of brutish people that are stumbling around the landscape and, in spite of themselves, surviving.

“These are the people that [may have] even colonized the rest of the world,” he said.

As part of the study, the researchers replicated the processes the early Africans likely would have used to make the stone tools. Heated over a fire pit, the silcrete flaked and took on a glossy red color.

Such craftsmanship required thinking ahead, a sign of high intelligence, Brown said. People had to collect firewood, build the fire, work the stone, and then afix the handle to the stone using natural adhesives.

“Because [this is] such a sophisticated technology, this is something that would involve language to pass it on to the next generation,” he added. … [more]

12 Aug 2009, 12:00pm
Latest Fire News
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You Order, You Pay. La Brea Fire May Usher In New Era Of Interagency Cooperation

by Retired Fire Captain Mike, Firefighter Blog, August 12, 2009 [here]

The La Brea fire may be offering hints of a new direction in the long standing cooperative agreement between Cal Fire and the Feds. Mike Dubrasich, Executive Director of the Western Institute for Study of the Environment shared with Firefighter Blog readers the following passage in last evening’s 209 report.

“At 1200 the fire entered into Unified Command with Cal Fire because the fire threatens state DPA. The threat is from a slop over off Sierra Madre Road into Foothill Road located in Branch Four. There is a cost share agreement with Cal Fire for “you order you pay”. The slop over Sierra Madre Road in Moon Canyon has the potential to go to the valley floor. Evacuation order issued for the 14 threatened residences on Foothill Road and evacuation warning issued via reverse 911 to the 104 residences in Cottonwood Canyon.”

Mike opines;

“You order you pay? I think that means the USFS is billing CalFire for any actions that CalFire “orders”. Such as the Martin Mars. Who takes responsibility when poorly managed Fed land blows up in a massive fire and threatens private land on the other side of the fence? Evidently CalFire will be billed for suppression actions at the “interface”. The old co-op suppression agreements are burning up along with the landscape.”

Mike may be right, apparently if Cal Fire orders in equipment they will have to pay the entire cost billed by their contractors, even if sloppy work by the Feds requires a state response. I’m not saying the La Brea incident is mismanaged, not suggesting this at all.

Are we entering an era of a leaner, meaner USFS? Getting budget minded all of a sudden? Ms Pincha-Tulley did not just pull this rabbit out of her hat, no this came from a policy change.

As I understand the current policy if a fire runs into another jurisdiction, that jurisdiction must pay their own freight, nothing new here. What is new is the direct wording. I have never heard that phrase before.

I have a feeling Pincha-Tulley wants the 747 and DC-10 Supertanker, (Tanker 910) on scene but doesn’t want to pay. Typically, once aircraft are above a fire air attack keeps track of what drops go where. Say a tanker drops 40 loads, 20 on state land and 20 on Fed land. The drops are billed accordingly.

More often in practice the drops are blurred, whereupon the bill is absorbed by one party or another, or a good guess at a split is attempted. That era may be over. It appears now that if Cal Fire orders equipment they bear the brunt of the costs.

Cal Fire could get tough by calling up the tankers, order drops on their designated area of operation and send them home.

Will we need for an arbitrator at incident bases in the future. The “Incident Legal Office”, or ILO would be inexpensive compared to costs of overhead, equipment, personnel, food, lodging and transportation.

Worth keeping an eye on, let’s see how this plays out.

12 Aug 2009, 1:23am
Latest Fire News
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New California Budget Cuts $27 Million From CAL Fire

Fire Department Network News, Aug. 6, 2009 [here]

Sacramento, CA. When California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger finally signed the state’s hotly-contested budget for the 2009-2010 fiscal year last month his fire-fighting agency suffered a severe blow.

Millions of dollars were suddenly removed from the new operating budget for Cal Fire, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. And the final year of a three-year contract for use of a valuable aerial firefighting tool was canceled.

Janet Upton, Cal Fire’s Deputy Director for Communications, tells FDNNTV $17 million was cut from the department’s Vehicle Replacement Fund which means “no new fire engines or command vehicles.”

$3 million for the agency’s Resource Management Program was deleted as well. That money was to have been used for the protection of natural resources on private property. Upton says, “It was a big hit to that program.”

While the cuts from Cal Fire’s budget total $27 million dollars Upton says, “There will be no fire fighting personnel cutbacks and all Cal Fire stations will remain open.”

According to Upton, “The Governor has been very protective of our fire protection budget.”

Upton says through an Executive Order. signed in early May, Gov. Schwarzenegger has required Cal Fire Director Del Walters to staff all Cal Fire engines with a four person crew.

For some, the biggest budget-cutting surprise was the cancellation of the final year of a three-year “exclusive use” deal for a DC-10 fire retardant bomber even though the state is in the midst of its fire season. … [more]


DC-10 No Longer At California’s Beck-And-Call

KCRA News, July 30, 2009 [here]

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The DC-10 can dump up to 12,000 gallons of water or fire retardant each time it opens its tank — or 10 times as much as California’s other firefighting planes.

But the stroke of a budget-signing pen has canceled a $7 million contract that kept the DC-10 on standby for the state.

“Well obviously, these are difficult fiscal times for the entire state. So we need to take a look and balance providing the appropriate level of public safety with prudent fiscal policy,” Cal Fire deputy director Kim Pimlott said.

Instead, the state will pay more than $66,000 every day it uses the plane, with a five-day minimum. Anything beyond 21 separate deployments for the season will end up costing more. … [more]


Schwarzenegger signs budget with more welfare cuts

by Judy Lin, AP, July 28, 2009 [here]

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a revised $85 billion budget Tuesday that he said contained “the good, the bad and the ugly,” including additional cuts to child welfare programs, health care for the poor and AIDS prevention efforts.

Schwarzenegger used his line-item veto authority to save an additional $656 million that will let the state restore a reserve fund he said is needed for tough times. … [more]

11 Aug 2009, 7:38pm
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Dedication of Krassel Memorial To Take Place This Saturday

News Release, Payette National Forest, August 11, 2009 [here]

The dedication ceremony for a memorial honoring those killed during a helicopter crash in 2006 will take place this Saturday, August 15, 2009. The memorial will honor pilot Quinn Stone and passengers Monica Zajanc, Michael Lewis and Lillian Patten all of whom were killed in the crash on the Payette National Forest near the town of Yellow Pine on August 13, 2006.

The dedication ceremony will begin at 3:00 PM. Those planning to attend should park at the East Fork South Fork Bridge construction area near the intersection of South Fork Salmon River Road and East Fork South Fork Road no later than 2:30 PM. The ceremony should last about 45 minutes. Attendees are invited to the Krassel Helibase at the Krassel Work Center at noon for a barbeque lunch prior to the ceremony.

The East Fork South Fork Bridge area will be signed to direct visitors to the river bank where rubber rafts will be stationed to ferry visitors across the river. The memorial site is a quarter mile hike from the drop off point. Attendees should wear sturdy shoes and be prepared for warm weather. The dedication ceremony will take place rain or shine. Signs will be posted throughout the area directing people to the memorial dedication site.

The memorial overlooks the crash site. A plaque embedded in a rock pedestal and a bench will commemorate the accident and trees have been planted around the site to aid the restoration of the area, which burned during the fires of 2007.

Donations to the memorial may be sent to: Wildland Firefighters Foundation, Krassel Memorial Fund, 2049 Airport Way, Boise, ID 83705. Checks should be made out to the Wildland Firefighters Foundation with “Krassel Memorial Funds” written in the memo line.

Attendees may drive up the South Fork Salmon River Road via Warm Lake Highway and park at the bridge construction site. Rafts will ferry attendees across the river to the other side. The EFSF Bridge is in the process of being replaced.

Note: see also In Memorium: Lillie May Patten, Monica Lee Zajanc, Michael Gene Lewis, and Quin Stone [here]

11 Aug 2009, 3:33pm
Latest Wildlife News
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Ancient Wolves of Alaska Became Extinct 12,000 Years Ago

News About the College, UCLA College of Letters and Science, August 6, 2007 [here]

The ancient gray wolves of Alaska became extinct some 12,000 years ago, and the wolves in Alaska today are not their descendants but a different subspecies, an international team of scientists reports in the July 3 print edition of the journal Current Biology.

The scientists analyzed DNA samples, conducted radio carbon dating and studied the chemical composition of ancient wolves at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History. They then compared the results with modern wolves and found that the two were genetically distinct.

“The ancient Alaskan gray wolves are all more similar to one another than any of them is to any modern North American or modern Eurasian wolf,” said study co-author Blaire Van Valkenburgh, UCLA professor of ecology and evolutionary biology.

The research was federally funded by the National Science Foundation.

The ancient gray wolves lived in Alaska continuously from at least 45,000 years ago — probably earlier, but radio carbon dating does not allow for the establishment of an earlier date — until approximately 12,000 years ago, Van Valkenburgh said.

The ancient gray wolves were not much different in size from modern Alaskan wolves, although their massive teeth and strong jaw muscles were larger. They were capable of killing large bison, Van Valkenburgh said.

more »

10 Aug 2009, 8:33pm
Latest Fire News
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Zaca Megafire Remembered

Firefighter Blog, August 10, 2009 [here]

I found this video essay embedded on Google Earth. The photos are put to the soundtrack of the movie Braveheart. In an odd way it works. Both the fire and movie were epics. As we are reminded at the end of this essay the Zaca Fire burned for 2 months and claimed over 240,000 acres.

With the La Brea blaze about to touch the edge of the Zaca burn it is appropriate to reacquaint ourselves with the fire potential of this region.

Click [here] to visit site with video.

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