Friday, August 29, 2008

Wildfire news, August 29

Jet Skis used again on a wildland fire

On August 19 Wildfire Today covered the story of a wildland fire in Hawaii where jet skis were used to evacuate tourists. Yesterday the San Francisco Fire Department used jet skis to transport hose from their fire boat to Yerba Buena Island where a fire was burning in an area with difficult access. Yerba Buena Island is in San Francisco Bay near the Bay Bridge.

They used two jet skis each with one firefighter aboard to carry the hose to the island, which had no roads near the three-acre fire.

View Larger Map

Crew finds pipe bomb

Damn. Another thing for crews to be heads up about. Hopefully, this is a very isolated incident. From The Western News in Libby, Montana:
During the course of a chainsaw tree-thinning operation on Swede Mountain this past weekend, U.S. Forest Service personnel saw their efforts come to a halt – and not because of bad weather or malfuctioning equipment. Late on Sunday afternoon in a ravine near Williams Creek, the crew came across a pipe bomb.

“You look at them and have every reason to believe it’s live,” Lincoln County detective Jim Sweet said. “They’re so highly dangerous when they throw them in a ditch like that. If anybody had been near it (if exploded) it could’ve been lethal.”

The bomb was indeed live and by its weathered appearance, could’ve been sitting in that spot for some time. Sweet said the Forest Service crew knew right away what they had found and reported its location.

Through an agreement with Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls, a bomb disposal unit was called in to take care of the device. Not long after arriving on Monday, the unit cleared the scene and soon thereafter exploded the bomb.

Hurricane Gustav response

It may strike in the vicinity of Louisiana on Tuesday morning as a Category 3 hurricane. The Southern Geographic Area has been tasked by FEMA to provide aviation overhead resources to be positioned across the southeast. These resources will be used to help FEMA aviation personnel transport evacuees. So far they have received FEMA Mission Assignments that cover TX, LA, MS, and AL.

61,000 acre fire in Montana

The Great Falls Tribune has more information about the Dunn fire, 40 miles northeast of Billings:
Calmer weather on Thursday allowed firefighters to resume their fight against a central Montana wildfire that has charred an estimated 61,000 acres — or more than 95 square miles.

But crews remained wary as winds picked up late in the day, threatening to again send the Dunn fire racing through dry scrub brush about 40 miles north and east of Billings.

"Right now things are all right, but the winds are getting a little stiff," said fire information officer Dwayne Andrews. "They're working real hard to contain it."

Although the size of the blaze was double a late Wednesday estimate, fire officials said it had not grown significantly in the last 24 hours. They attributed the change to better mapping attained through an aerial survey of the area Thursday morning.

Nine ranch houses were threatened and a bridge along Railroad Creek Road in Yellowstone County was destroyed. No evacuations have been ordered.

Strong winds had caused the blaze to expand rapidly Tuesday and Wednesday through a mixture of grasslands, sage brush and ponderosa pine stands. That forced firefighters to suspend efforts to put it out.

But lighter winds slowed that expansion by Thursday, and crews stepped up their attack on the fire, Andrews said. Winds of 5 to 15 miles per hour were forecast, with gusts possible up to 40 miles per hour.

"It's full bore today," he said. "We've got 25 wildland fire engines working on hot spots."

The front of the east-moving blaze was roughly 5 miles north of Pompeys Pillar National Monument. The monument, on the far side of the Yellowstone River, was not considered threatened.

The Dunn dire started last Friday, possibly by a lightning strike in the Bull Mountains. Crews thought they had contained the blaze at about 600 acres over the weekend, until a burning tree fell across fire lines sometime Monday.

No comments:

Post a Comment