On the front lines of California’s Rim Fire

August 31, 2013

rim-fire-nightfire-usfs-mike-mcmillan-smThe massive Rim Fire burning in and around California’s Yosemite National Park is now the largest U.S. wildfire in 2013 and currently the nation’s top priority as many residents remain evacuated as of Saturday morning (31-August).

As of Sat evening, Inciweb is reporting the Rim Fire is 222,777 acres and 40% contained with over 5,000 personnel battling the blazes, and officials are projecting they may have full containment by late September.

Unfortunately this beast is human-caused and, although investigators have not determined the official cause yet, a local Fire Chief has indicated it may be the result of illegal pot growers.

According to National Parks Service Fire and Aviation Mgmt, as many as 90% of wildland fires in the U.S. are caused by humans. Some human-caused fires result from…

  • campfires left unattended
  • burning of debris
  • negligently discarded cigarettes
  • off-road vehicles
  • firearms + exploding targets
  • intentional acts of arson

The remaining 10% are started by lightning or lava. In addition, wildfires caused by lightning burn an average of 5.5 million acres annually.

Acreage burned comes from a variety of factors…

  • climate shift to a hotter, drier West after decades of cooler weather
  • pine beetle infestations that create more fuel to burn
  • decades of fire suppression

Even though it seems like much of the western U.S. is burning, the National Interagency Fire Center reports 34,388 fires have burned almost 3.8 million acres in the U.S. from January 1 – August 31, 2013 … which is well below the 10 year average of 54,072 fires that burned 6 million acres for this same time period.

Below are some amazing shots of the Rim Fire and the incredible Hotshots and firefighters working the front lines…

rim-fire-1

View From Pilot Peak Lookout / Credit: USFS-Mike McMillan

rim-fire-nps-fire-crews

The National Park Service (NPS) fire crew is helping to protect the Giant Sequoias in Tuolumne Grove, about 16 miles (26 km) west of Yosemite Village on Tioga Pass Road in Yosemite National Park. Credit: USFS

rim-fire-usfs-3

Fire Crews construct fireline / Credit: USFS-Mike Mcmillan

rim-fire-Silver-state-ihc-usfs-mike-mcmillan

Silver State IHC on South Flank / Credit: USFS-Mike McMillan

rim-fire-usfs-2

Credit: USFS

rim-fire-2

Credit: USFS

rim-fire-melted-meter-USFS

Melted Power Meter / Credit: USFS-Mike McMillan

Please review and share some safety resources from our partners at U.S. First Responders Association…

Wildfire Mitigation tips

Tips for Fire Safety in the Wilderness This Summer

Protect Yourself and Others from Wildfire Smoke

and visit USFRA’s Wildland Fire Prevention and Safety group to learn more.

Stay safe and have a great weekend all! j & B

Advertisements

Tribute to our Arizona 19 (and some ways to help families of the fallen firefighters)

July 5, 2013

yarnell hill fire granite mountain hotshotsAs we posted earlier this week, Arizona lost 19 of our elite firefighters in the Yarnell Hill Fire on June 30, 2013.

On July 1st a caravan of 19 vans took the bodies to the Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office to perform autopsies since the Yavapai County authorities didn’t have the resources to handle so many casualties.

The remains of our Fallen Firefighters will be escorted, with full Honor Guard, from Phoenix to the Yavapai County Medical Examiner’s Office on Sunday, July 7, beginning at 10 a.m. PDT. A majority of the route from Phoenix to Prescott Valley is open to the public for those who would like to pay tribute, and the procession route  is available on YarnellFallenFirefighters.com.

Then a Memorial Service will be held Tuesday, July 9, 2013 at Tim’s Toyota Center in Prescott Valley, Arizona from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pacific.

We wanted to take another moment to honor our Granite Mountain Hotshots with several photos we found on Facebook this week, and provide some links to several organizations that are raising funds for the families of these heroes. Also please take a moment to view a video tribute by elledub1015 at the bottom.

yarnell hill fire photo by andrew ashcraft

The final photo Arizona firefighter Andrew Ashcraft texted to his wife before persishing in the Yarnell Hill fire – from Prescott Granite Mountain Hotshots FB page

Yarnell Hill Fire photo by Wade Parker before overcome by fire

Wade Parker sent this photo of a crew mate and the approaching fire by text message to his mother before he and 18 other firefighters were fatally overrun by flames in the Arizona blaze. “This thing is running straight for Yarnell,” he wrote in the 4:04 p.m. text. (Wade Parker / June 30, 2013) via LA Times

prescott fire chain with 19 links

A chain with 19 links hangs locked on the fence outside the Granite Mountain Interagency Hotshot Crew fire station, Monday, July 1, 2013 in Prescott, Ariz. The chain, left by Slade Graves, has 19 links to signify 19 men linked. Graves said she wanted to give the combination of the lock to the survivor of the team. Photo via FB pg

arizona 19 out of the ashes National Firefighters Endowment

Designed by National Firefighters Endowment via FB

Anthem tribute Arizona 19 from Daisy mountain

Anthem, Arizona tribute to the fallen firefighters, at the top of Daisy Mountain, looking west toward Yarnell. July 4, 2013. via FB

salute to Arizona 19

Photo credit: unknown via FB

How to help the families of our fallen heroes

The Granite Mountain Hotshots Memorial Incident Management Team has raised more than $800,000 through three firefighter-endorsed organizations: the 100 Club of Arizona, the Wildland Firefighters Foundation, and the United Phoenix Firefighters Association. Other similar websites have also been created, but their intent or credibility has not been verified. The Team encourages all donors to first check the credibility and confirm their 501C3 status before donating.

The Prescott Firefighter’s Charities is operated by Prescott firefighters, and they are ensuring 100% of any and all donations will go to the families of the fallen firefighters. No money will be diverted for administration costs, advertising, etc. The only exception is a 2.3% processing fee charged by PayPal, which is a lower fee than typical credit card transaction rates. Learn more

Yavapai College is creating a scholarship fund for the children and spouses of the 19 firefighters who died battling the wildfire in Yarnell. Officials at the Prescott school say some of the Granite Mountain Hotshots team members were Yavapai College students and many were in its fire science program. The Granite Mountain Hotshots Scholarship Fund will provide two-year scholarships for the community college education needs of the children and spouses of the fallen firefighters. Read more

A Tribute

Our thoughts and prayers continue to go out to the families of the fallen Arizona 19 (a.k.a. Prescott 19), the cities of Yarnell and Prescott, and the entire FF/EMS Brotherhood. Rest in peace…


Arizona wildfire kills 19 of our elite firefighters + The Hotshot’s Prayer

July 1, 2013

yarnell hill fire photo APArizona suffered a devastating loss yesterday. Nineteen firefighters from the elite Granite Mountain Hotshots of Prescott, died Sunday fighting an out-of-control wildfire in Yarnell, a tiny Yavapai County town roughly 80 miles northwest of Phoenix.

About half of the town’s 500 homes were feared destroyed by the blaze, which began early Friday evening and had spread to 8,374 acres by early Monday. All of Yarnell and the neighboring Peeples Valley were evacuated. Fire crews reported no containment as of Monday morning (1-Jul-2013).

The National Fire Protection Association website lists the last wildland fire to kill more firefighters as the 1933 Griffith Park fire of Los Angeles, which killed 29. The most firefighters — 340 — were killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York.

The Granite Mountain Hotshots, established in 2002, were an elite ground firefighting crew known for their innovative problem-solving and history of safe, aggressive fire suppression.

Members of the crew were highly trained, came from diverse backgrounds, and worked long hours in extreme environmental conditions doing the most demanding of fireline tasks.

According to The Daily Courier

  • They carried 50-70 pounds on their back, hiked seven miles or more to where they needed to work, and worked up to 14 hours, sometimes longer.
  • The average age of the men in the hotshot crew was 27-years-old.
  • “They have to be ready to leave for an assignment on two hours’ notice, which sometimes means missing family events,”Wade Ward of the Prescott FD said last week. “They have to be prepared to be on that assignment for 21 days, get two days rest at home, and possibly be sent out on another 21-day assignment.”

prescott granite mountain hotshots

Prior to the Yarnell Hill fire which took nearly all of their lives, the team had just returned from a wildfire in New Mexico.

Just one week ago, the same crew also led the charge against the massive Doce fire in the Prescott National Forest.

We’d like to take a moment to extend our condolences to the elite fallen firefighters, their families, the cities of Yarnell and Prescott and the entire firefighter nation. Words can never adequately express the gratitude we have for all first responders who sacrifice so much to help keep us safe. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those impacted by this and other wildfires ravaging the nation. Bill & Janet Liebsch, FedHealth, Tucson AZ

iaff logo used on yarnell prescott arizona 19 memorial program

arizona prescott yarnell 19 hot shot prayer

prescott arizona firefighters killed yarnell hill fire


West, Texas Firefighter and EMS Fallen Hero Fund

April 23, 2013

We wanted to share this news item from the NFFF website … and continuing to send our thoughts and prayers to all those lost and affected in last week’s plant explosion.

In light of the tragic event in West, Texas on Wednesday and in cooperation with local support efforts, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation has established a national fund to accept monetary donations to assist the survivors and coworkers of the fire and EMS personnel who died in the line of duty.

Checks can be mailed to:

NFFF c/o West, Texas Fire and EMS Fallen Hero Fund
P.O. Drawer 498
Emmitsburg, MD 21727.

Donations also can be made by credit card at www.regonline.com/westtx. All donated funds will be used to assist the survivors and coworkers to rebuild their lives and support the programs and services they will need.

As a result of the blast, the station along with the apparatus, equipment and turn-out gear were destroyed or badly damaged. If you would like to donate these items, please send a message with your contact information to www.firehero.org/contact and the Foundation will share this with the West, Texas department.

“This fire and explosion have devastated the entire town in which so many people know and care about each other,” said Chief Ron Siarnicki, executive director of the NFFF. “We want to ensure the survivors and coworkers of those who died in the line of duty know that the entire fire service family is holding them in our hearts and doing all we can to offer support.”

As part of the Foundation’s mission to assist the survivors of the fallen, the Texas LAST (Local Assistance State Team) was activated on Wednesday night to provide support to local officials and public safety personnel in West.

The United States Congress created the NFFF to lead a nationwide effort to remember America’s fallen firefighters. Since 1992, the non-profit foundation has developed and expanded programs to honor fallen fire heroes and assist their families and coworkers. The NFFF also works closely with the U.S. Fire Administration to help prevent and reduce line-of- duty deaths and injuries. For more information on the Foundation and its programs contact us at 301-447-1365 or visit www.firehero.org.


%d bloggers like this: