1 Billion Acres At Risk For Catastrophic Wildfires, U.S. Forest Service Warns

The chief of the U.S. Forest Service is warning that a billion acres of land across America are at risk of catastrophic wildfires like last fall's deadly Camp Fire that destroyed most of Paradise, Calif. As we head into summer, with smoke already drifting into the Northwest from wildfires in Alberta, Canada, Vicki Christiansen said wildfires are now a year-round phenomenon. She pointed to the hazardous conditions in forests that result from a history of suppression of wildfires, rampant home development in high-risk places and the changing climate. "When you look nationwide there's not any place that we're really at a fire season. Fire season is not an appropriate term anymore," Christiansen said in an interview with NPR at the agency's headquarters in Washington. Christiansen's agency is the nation's lead firefighting apparatus. It's trying to prioritize treatments such as thinning, brush clearing and prescribed burning on 80 million [...]

2019-06-05T07:24:54-07:00June 5th, 2019|0 Comments

Wildfire threatens homes, crops in Grant County

SMYRNA, Wash. – About 25 homes in the small community of Smyrna are at risk of burning in a wildfire that’s already scorched more than 5,000 acres, and emergency evacuations are in effect. Jim Mullen believes his sprinkler and defensible space surrounding his home mean he can stick it out as long as he can. “This one seems a little worse,” he said. “There’s a lot of fuel on both sides and a lot of tough terrain.” His Smyrna neighbors are used to wildfire, but they are not taking any chances, many are packing up what they need if they have to leave in a hurry. “I think that makes me more frightened when I hear evacuate,” said homeowner Anita Sather. The wildfire has already closed multiple roads south and west of Royal City. Flames were feeding off heavy sage brush and grass. “When we [...]

2019-06-05T07:25:48-07:00June 4th, 2019|0 Comments

Washington’s first major wildfire of 2019 grows to 5,000 acres in Grant County; wind-borne smoke briefly made Spokane’s air quality worst in country

A wildfire in Grant County – Washington’s first major fire event of 2019 – near the Wanapum Dam grew to more than 5,000 acres Tuesday as it burned its way east, forcing dozens of evacuations. Spokane saw the fire’s smoke slowly drift into the city through the afternoon, lowering air quality and screening surrounding hills with a smoky brown haze. The so-called 243 Fire began burning in dry grass and sage north of Beverly on the east side of the Columbia River. Fueled by strong winds, the blaze grew quickly to more than 1,000 acres early Tuesday morning, then spread to another 4,000 acres by early afternoon. Mandatory evacuations were ordered for some residents living on Beverly Burke Road. The towns of Beverly, Schawana and Wanapum Village went under Level 2 evacuation notices, meaning residents were told to be ready to leave at a moment’s [...]

2019-06-05T07:20:45-07:00June 3rd, 2019|0 Comments

Paradise Fire survivors say warnings were too little, too late

By James Rainey LOS ANGELES — Belated warnings from public officials and the reluctance of residents who had survived previous fires to leave home were among the factors that contributed to the delayed and chaotic evacuation in what has become the deadliest wildfire in California history, survivors said. Some of those who escaped from the massive Camp Fire last week questioned why Butte County leaders did not do more to warn residents of Paradise and neighboring mountain communities as a fire whipped with fearsome speed through the mountainous region north of Sacramento. Most of the attention following the wildfire has focused on the search for dozens of people still missing and the possibility that power equipment belonging to the electric utility PG&E may have sparked the fire. But a few residents have begun to ask why notice did not get out to more people about the fire, which [...]

2019-01-25T06:22:04-07:00November 14th, 2018|0 Comments

California wildfires: Death toll reaches grim milestone

The death toll in wildfires sweeping California has risen to 31, with more than 200 people still missing, officials have said. Six more people were confirmed killed in the Camp Fire in the north of the state, taking the toll there to 29. That fire now equals the deadliest on record in California - the 1933 Griffith Park disaster in Los Angeles. In the south, the Woolsey Fire has claimed two lives as it damaged beach resorts including Malibu. An estimated 250,000 people have been forced to flee their homes to avoid three major blazes in the state.         See the Full Story HERE

2019-01-25T06:23:24-07:00November 12th, 2018|0 Comments

The “wall of fire” that destroyed Paradise, California

Update (2:45pm ET): Authorities have confirmed five deaths related to the fire. Fueled by high winds, the Camp Fire blazed rapidly spread the northern California town of Paradise yesterday (Nov. 8), burning over 70,000 acres and leading to the evacuation of the town’s 27,000 residents, plus thousands more in surrounding Butte County. As of writing, the fire is only 5% contained. A police officer who works in nearby Chico was quoted in the AP describing the blaze he encountered when trying to evacuate residents: “It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us.” The AP recounted the terrifying scene as the fire accelerated towards the town: Residents described fleeing their homes and getting stuck on gridlocked roads as flames approached, sparking explosions and toppling utility poles. “Things started exploding,” said resident Gina Oviedo. “People started getting [...]

2019-01-25T06:20:54-07:00November 9th, 2018|0 Comments

One of the California wildfires grew so fast it burned the equivalent of a football field every second

(CNN)The three main wildfires raging in California have expanded rapidly, devouring virtually everything in their paths. One fire burned an area equivalent to the size of a football field every second during a period Thursday into Friday. Intense winds and low humidity are feeding the flames. So is very dry vegetation, as much of California has seen gotten than 5% of its normal rainfall over the last month. Here are some other startling facts about the fires: CAMP FIRE The Camp Fire, which is burning in Butte County in Northern California, had grew by Friday to 70,000 acres. It had charred 20,000 acres Thursday in less than 14 hours. It grew by 5,000 acres Thursday in just three hours, according to Cal Fire, meaning it expanded by an average of more than one football field every 3 seconds during that period. The Camp Fire's most significant growth period [...]

2019-01-25T06:24:41-07:00November 9th, 2018|0 Comments

5 killed as 3 California wildfires destroy thousands of structures and force evacuations

(CNN)A series of fast-moving wildfires is racing Friday up and down California, leaving at least five dead, destroying thousands of structures and forcing thousands of residents to evacuate through flame-lined streets. A blaze in Northern California sent terrified residents running for their lives as it closed in and destroyed parts of the town of Paradise. Five people have been found dead there in a vehicle that was overcome by flames, the Butte County Sheriff's Department said. And two Southern California fires are just miles from the bar where 12 people were killed in a mass shooting in Thousand Oaks, and a voluntary evacuation advisory was issued for part of Malibu, a seaside city popular with celebrities. Fanned by high winds and fueled by low humidity and dry vegetation, the fires spread rapidly Thursday and overnight into Friday. The threat continues Friday morning, with millions of Californians under "red flag" [...]

2019-01-25T06:25:31-07:00November 9th, 2018|0 Comments

Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires keep growing; juvenile accused of sparking Herriman blaze

As fire crews tried to slow the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires, which grew by more than 17,000 acres Friday night into Saturday, a new fire ignited in Herriman, burning homes and forcing evacuations. As of Saturday afternoon, the Pole Creek and Bald Mountain fires in Utah and Juab counties had grown to a combined 86,107 acres. They have displaced approximately 6,000 people living in the Woodland Hills, Elk Ridge and Covered Bridge communities, in addition to those living along U.S. 89 from Nebo Creek to Thistle Junction, according to a news release from the Utah County Sheriff’s Office. Those living in the Diamond Fork Canyon and Sheep Creek area have been put on pre-evacuation notice, according to the release. The fire also forced officials to close U.S. 6 through Spanish Fork Canyon on Saturday. U.S. 89 in that area remains closed from mile [...]

2019-01-25T06:26:25-07:00September 16th, 2018|0 Comments

Wildfires: Causes, Costs & Containment

Wildfires burn millions of acres every year, leaving death and destruction in their wake. While natural causes (and climate change) play a part, nearly all wildfires are caused by people. Also, the number of wildfires has increased in recent years, and they are burning longer. Definition The National Park Service uses several terms to describe fires. A wildland fire is the overarching term describing any non-structure fire that occurs in vegetation and natural fuels. (Non-structure fires involve residential, commercial or industrial buildings.) A prescribed fire is a planned fire intentionally set by park managers to meet management objectives. A wildfire is an unplanned fire sparked by natural causes, by human ignition or by an escaped prescribed fire. U.S. wildfire losses during the past 10 years have totaled $5.1 billion, according to Verisk Analytics, a data-analytics provider that serves the insurance industry. About 4.5 million U.S. [...]

2019-01-25T06:28:22-07:00August 28th, 2018|0 Comments