Stuff in the news 5/28/2015 – Wildfires

Fire Danger Level Meme


  • Widespread rain in Yukon has dampened forest fire dangers to low or moderate from extreme in some regions of the territory, including the Whitehorse area. The fire risk remains extreme in the Mayo area, and high around Dawson City, Carmacks and Ross River.

  • Currently, there are 42 wildfires burning throughout Alberta, down from 63 fires reported Wednesday. Of those, 10 are considered out of control, nine are being held, and 23 are under control. Still much danger for Cenovus’ oil sands production: Cenovus Energy has reported that the fire is about 20 km south of their Foster Creek oil sands facility, and about three kilometres southeast of the Athabasca natural gas caribou south site. 

  • And for a little perspective on the size of the Cold Lake fire,  The Cold Lake Sun points out that Cold Lake weapons range fire is now larger than Cold Lake itself!
  • DeTect has developed technology to profile Santa Ana winds and wildfire risk. The system is being used by San Diego Gas & Electric to determine wildfire conditions.
  • “Experts say the keys to adapting Western lives to these wildfire risks lie in how fires and the lands that fuel them are managed; and in how yards, neighborhoods and cities are planned, built and run.”

  • Mud Lake Complex is still going but transitioned to a type 2 team this morning:
  • Oregon Department of Forestry has begun regular reporting of wildfire activity. It is currently being released weekly and will become a daily report, as the season gets busier:
  • In further news from Oregon, the bill for fighting all those fires last year was about $200 million. Across the entire Pacific NW region, it was a whopping $460 million: So do us all a favor and follow all the safety guidelines; put out your campfires; and firewise your property.
  • From burn bans to safety tips, agencies continue to convince us to protect ourselves and each other:
    • British Columbia has a fire ban for Coastal Centre in effect until mid-October
    • Southern Okanagon also reminds residents to maintain their property and clear debris, as a very dry summer is ahead:
    • Alaska Division of Forestry has a great list of fire safety tips here:

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Stuff in the news 5/27/2015 – Wildfires

Fire Danger Level Meme


  • Canada is still having a rough go of it today. Alberta rescinded some evacuations but is warning residents of health danger, due to wildfire smoke. Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Nova Scotia all have a number of fires or heightened fire risk, as well.
  • Alberta is a big deal, largely because of the threat to Canada’s oil sands production, which has already been cut about 10%. What the heck are oil sands, anyhow?
  • Alaska had fires near Nikolai and near the North Pole.
  • The cost of fighting fires in Oregon last year came out to $200 million. ODF advises residents to be prepared and to mitigate risk by creating defensible space (always a good idea!)
  • Mud Lake Complex in Florida will transition to Southern Area Gold Team on the morning of Thursday the 28th. It is currently 51% contained.
  • In Collier County, FL, the sheriff’s office has new camera technology in their helicopters that can be used to assist in wildfire evacuations.
  • A prescribed burn in Pinaleño Mountains in Arizona beginning Thursday the 28th
  • If you’re up for a run and anywhere around Chino Valley, AZ, June 4 registration is the deadline for the Chino Valley fundraiser Hotshot 10k, 5K, Fun Walk
  • In California, a marijuana grower was fined $6.5 million for sparking a wildfire and a girl was convicted over the San Diego Cocos fire, which she started “to see what would happen”. She was sentenced to community service for starting the fire, which grew to about 2,000 acres.
  • Thinking about learning more about forest ecology? Turns out there fewer students studying botany nowadays.
  • via @mic654 on Twitter, Kyle Dickman, the author of On the Burning Edge, about the Yarnell hotshots, says you should stop expecting firefighters to save your homes 
  • Speaking of Yarnell, there is also a movie in the making and @FSOMile wonders how close it will be to the facts.

Other stuff: 

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Stuff in the news 5/26/2015 – Wildfires

Fire Danger Level Meme


Other stuff

  • In Arizona, Coconino County Sheriff’s Office, Flagstaff PD, and the USFS are jointly giving a WoodsWatch class on Wednesday the 27th.
  • UN OCHA has a series of environmental e-courses available on their website
  • Dan Guenthner tweeted about a rebuttal to a WSJ review of the new Outside book on Yarnell. The rebuttal is worth reading and I suspect the book is too. I can’t endorse, having not read it, even started.

Why do mudslides occur and how do they relate to soil?

Good background info for #ORfire #WAfire folks but also for other parts of the country.

Soils Matter, Get the Scoop!

Question: Why do mudslides occur and how do they relate to soil?

Answer: As explained in the last Soils Matter post, in order to have a strong foundation for a house or a building, the soil must also be stable and strong.

A mudslide (or landslide) consists of mud and other earth materials that fall down a slope, usually after a period of heavy rain. When buildings balance on soils that cannot effectively capture and react to precipitation, mudslides may occur. The weight of the water and the steep incline push the mud and dirt downhill. Mudslides can happen quickly or slowly. Flash mudslides, where heavy, watery dirt falls suddenly without warning, are the most dangerous.

Mudslides can happen in all 50 states, but there are certain places where mudslides are more prone to happen. For example, on the West Coast, states like California, Washington, and Oregon see…

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