Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Wildfire News, October 22

Fire in New Jersey burns 1,200 acres

The fire burns near Atsion Lake in Shamong Township in New Jersey on Tuesday. Photo by Curt Hudson.

Update @ 9:13 p.m. ET

By 4:30 p.m. the fire had burned a total of 1,800 acres and was 40% contained. No homes are immediately threatened, a spokesman said.


A fire 10 miles southeast of the Philadelphia suburbs has forced the evacuation of several homes and has burned 1,200 acres as of Wednesday morning. The fire is burning in the New Jersey Pine Barrens in the Wharton State Forest and a portion of it has burned into an area that burned last year. Two helicopters and an air tanker are assisting firefighters. A major highway, Route 206, has at times been closed due to the fire, which is 20% contained. Strong winds are predicted for today, 15-20 mph with gusts to 30.

National Guard troops used on fires in California

For the first time in more than 30 years National Guard troops were used on fires in California during the Siege of '08, the lightning bust earlier this summer when 2,096 fires burned 1.2 million acres. Over 4,400 troops worked on the fires, with 150 of them being treated for injuries. The most common injury was a strained back, but others suffered snake and spider bites.

The National Guard says 400 are on "high alert" for fire duty as needed and that 2,000 have been trained as firefighters. We are not sure if that means 2,400 worked the fires without being trained, or if some of them had multiple assignments and were counted twice.

Michael Gardner of the San Diego Union-Tribune described the tools used by the troops:
"....the California National Guard dispatched crews with picks and shovels to the front lines from Big Sur to the Oregon border."
Anyone ever used a pick on a wildland fire?

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