Friday, February 20, 2009

Wildfire news, February 20

A real prepare, stay, and defend story

Len Renouf lives on a farm 30 miles east of Melbourne, Australia. Having been a volunteer firefighter, he thought he knew what to expect when one of the large fires approached his place recently, but it was much worse than he thought. His preparations and quick thinking may have saved his life and those of three of his neighbors.

The Daily Mail has the story.

USFS to send ICS trainers to Lebanon

The U.S. Forest Service has received funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide Lebanon with training on the Incident Command System.

Service for Chad Suppa scheduled

A memorial service for Chad Suppa, who passed away on February 15 in a parachuting accident, will be held on March 6 in Grand Junction, Colorado. When we receive more information about the exact time and place, we will post it here.

Carson Helicopters to send S-61's to Afghanistan

The company that owned the helicopter that crashed last year killing nine on a fire in northern California will be sending seven of their Sikorsky S-61 ships to Afghanistan.

The Mail Tribune in Medford, Oregon reports that Carson Helicopters has signed a contract with a subsidiary of Blackwater Worldwide, which recently changed their name to "Xe". The contract, worth $605 million through 2013, is for the helicopters to transport supplies; they will not be involved in combat. Carson has already starting painting the helicopters and installing radios.

This is a very interesting development. There is speculation that the deal is related to the liability claims resulting from the crash, and it involves a "fraudulent transfer of assets to block creditors and plaintiffs".

The Mail Tribune has more details.

Photo: Carson Helicopters

Man sentenced to probation for starting Corral Canyon fire

Brian David Franks, 28, will be on probation and will have to perform 300 hours of community service for starting the 2007 Corral Canyon fire that destroyed 53 homes and injured 6 firefighters near Malibu, California. He pleaded no contest to a felony charge of recklessly causing a fire.

Franks' hand was also slapped by the judge, stunning Franks' attorney, who jumped up and objected, waving his arms and shouting. (not really)

As part of his plea deal, Franks agreed to provide testimony against four others that have been charged, some of them for recklessly causing a fire with great bodily injury and recklessly causing a fire to an inhabited structure.

More information is HERE.

Oyler's sister testifies in Esperanza fire trial

The sister of Raymond Lee Oyler testified in court on Wednesday that he was talking to her on the phone at his house when the Esperanza fire started.

Oyler is charged with five counts of murder for starting the 2006 fire in which five U.S. Forest Service firefighters died. He is also charged with setting 22 other fires in the area in 2006, many of them with a device consisting of a cigarette and matches.

The trial could go to the jury late next week.

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