Friday, July 25, 2008

Wildfire news, July 25

Stanislaus National Forest: 55 vacant fire positions

According to a story in the Union Democrat, the Stanislaus National Forest in California has 55 vacant permanent wildland fire positions. Here is an excerpt from the article:
The Stanislaus National Forest's firefighting force has started this season short dozens of positions, even as they face a long fire season which has already strained resources statewide.

The forest is down 55 permanent positions and several temporary spots, said Bob Shindelar, deputy fire chief for the Stanislaus National Forest.

It's a shortage federal firefighting forces are facing statewide and nationally, and stems from problems with agency policy and its ability to retain firefighters, according to a firefighters advocacy group called the Federal Wildland Fire Service Association.

The Stanislaus is seeing the consequences locally, Shindelar said.

The Stanislaus should have 12 engines staffed seven days a week, he said. This year, the forest has 10 engines, only four of which are staffed the entire week. There are also two unstaffed water tenders, which should have firefighters on them full-time.

The Arctic may benefit from wildland fires (?)

There is a lot of information and many different opinions about global warming, it's causes, and effects. Now there is a school of thought that smoke from massive wildland fires may protect or delay the ice in the Arctic from melting.
ScienceDaily (July 26, 2008) — The Arctic may get some temporary relief from global warming if the annual North American wildfire season intensifies, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Colorado and NOAA.

Smoke transported to the Arctic from northern forest fires may cool the surface for several weeks to months at a time, according to the most detailed analysis yet of how smoke influences the Arctic climate relative to the amount of snow and ice cover.

"Smoke in the atmosphere temporarily reduces the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface. This transitory effect could partly offset some of the warming caused by the buildup of greenhouse gases and other pollutants," said Robert Stone, an atmospheric scientist with the university and NOAA Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) and lead author of the study, which recently appeared in the Journal of Geophysical Research.
The rest of the article is HERE.

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