Friday, September 19, 2014

Update on Boles and King Fire (California)

direct link to video and article on News10 ABC

For those of you in and around the areas that have been burned by the Boles and King Fire in California, I've had several friends comment to me about the fire. Thanks to the firefighters in the air and on the ground who have worked these fires.

Boles Fire

According the latest update from the CAL FIRE Boles Fire incident page, the Boles fire has burned 479 acres and is at 90 percent containment with 150 structures being destroyed.There is a nice report from KTVU about some firefighters who tried to save a home in Weed destroyed by the Boles Fire.

King Fire

As I write this, the King Fire has burned 76,376 acres and is at 10 percent containment. Recall that when I posted on Wednesday, September 17th, the size of the fire was at 18,544 acres. It grew by more than 40,000 acres over Wednesday night into early Thursday morning (September 18th). Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today wrote about the growth of the King Fire in an article he wrote yesterday (September 18th). See also, coverage from  CBS13 Sacramento early morning of September 18th (with video).

Current updates:
King Fire Updates on Facebook (should be publicly available)

More Articles:
Wildfire Today on arrest of man suspected of starting the King Fire
KQED (PBS) on King Fire
KCRA video report on air attack
News10ABC (Sept. 19th) on the King Fire

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

California wildfires

Boles Fire in Weed, Siskiyou County, Califonia

I first learned of the Boles Fire in Weed California last night from some friends. Very sad. One hundred fifty homes destroyed. As I write this, according the CAL FIRE Boles Fire incident page the Boles fire has burned 375 acres and is at 25 percent containment. I'd like to thank Bill Gabbert of Wildfiretoday for his usual outstanding reporting, I got the video from the article that Bill first posted on September 15th the Boles Fire (which he updates), which is where I learned about the video that I am sharing here. 

King Fire, Eldorado County, Eldorado National Forest, California 
The King Fire has burned 18,544 acres and is at five percent containment according to this CAL FIRE incident report on the fire. CNN has a video report on the fire that may be found here (article and video accessed on Sept. 17). Bill Gabbert reported on a fire shelter deployment at the King Fire here, all CAL FIRE firefighters are accounted for with no reported injuries. 

I understand that tankers are or were working both the King and the Boles Fires.

Here is a video of one of the DC-10 tankers working the King Fire. The video was posted by the NWS in Sacramento CA, video credit to Jason Clapp:

Monday, September 15, 2014

Sliverado Wildfire, Cleveland National Forest, California

Over the weekend, I heard about the Silverado Fire as I watching a cable news outlet. As I write this, the Silverado Fire has burned 968 acres in the Cleveland National Forest in California, and is at 80% containment. Evacuations are in place. I found these two videos showing footage of the Silverado fire thanks to my friend at the NJ Forest Fire Service Section B10 webpage, he has a wonderful videos of the week page where he posts a few new fire videos weekly.

direct link to video from loudlabs news

direct link to video from Kevin Byrnes

Friday, September 12, 2014

Curiosity Arrives at Mt. Sharp on Mars

I am taking a time out to share some exciting news about what one of my favorite Martian Rovers -- Curiosity -- has been up to these days. After two years she has arrived at the base of Mt. Sharp. on Mars. I did get advance notice of a press conference yesterday where this was announced but a prior commitment kept me away from watching the press conference on live stream. A press release with photographs from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory may be found here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Station Fire - 5 years later - moving on (at least for now)

Yesterday I spent quite a bit of time going through my files on the Station Fire, as well as reviewing sources on the Internet that had written about the Station Fire as it was being fought as well as investigations and concerns raised in the aftermath of the Station Fire. Bill Gabbert of  Wildfire Today wrote a series of articles on the Station Fire (the link is for articles with tagged "Station Fire" with the most recent article being listed first).

At this point all I will say is that I learned a lot about wildland firefighting following various sources who covered the Station Fire while the fire was raging as well as the aftermath of the fire. I think that, at least for now, it is best for me stop here. The fire burned over 160,000 acres. Lives were lost, people were injured, houses were destroyed, residents were evacuated. For the victims of this and other wildfires, I will remember. It doesn't feel like enough, but at times it is the best that I can do.

I've been exploring some things which are tangental to the Station Fire. Perhaps I'll be back sometime later and offer my reflections on the tangents that I am exploring.

Monday, September 08, 2014

Station Fire - 5 years later

As I continue to do the background work on the post(s) that I will write later this week on my reflections on watching live stream of the aerial and ground assault on Mt. Wilson, I leave you with a couple of videos to watch. In addition, I going back to the posts that I made five years and doing some editing or removing posts where the videos (mostly from local news organizations) are no longer available.

I may have one or both of these videos five years ago, but if so a rerun doesn't hurt.

direct link to video sample of Station Fire video from Alan Simons

direct link to Mt. Wilson Cam time lapse video uploaded on Sept 1, 2009

Friday, September 05, 2014

Station Fire - 5 years later - Assault on Mt. Wilson part 1

direct link to video

I was intending to write today offering my reflections of watching airtankers and helos dropping on the Mt. Wilson Observatory and then seeing aerial wildland firefighters on top of Mt. Wilson fighting the fire. Five years ago this week, I spent hours watching this on live stream.

As someone who loves the night sky, historic Mt. Wilson Observatory holds a special place in my heart. Go here to read about the history of Mt. Wilson.

As I was preparing to write my reflections, I found a kindle e-book, Diary of a Fire -- The 2009 Station Fire Threat to Mount Wilson Observatory, written by Harold A. McAlister. McAlister is the Director of Mt. Wilson, and the e-book comes from his blog. I lucked out, I got a kindle a few months ago, so I downloaded the e-book (2.99 plus tax) and will read it before writing my reflections.

The book

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Station Fire - 5 years later - Remembering Ted Hall and Arnie Quinones

A little over five years ago, on August 30, 2009, I was following the Station Fire (latest post is first). One of my good buddies had told me that Los Angeles TV news outlets where showing live stream over the Station Fire from news helos that were flying over the fire.

Sadly, one of the first live streams that I saw were aerial shots from the news helo in the area where a tragic accident occurred that resulted in the death of two fire fighters: Ted Hall and Arnie Quinones. There is a nice page devoted to Ted and Arnie and the incident that took their lives on Always Remember.

As the five year anniversary of the Station Fire rolled around, I found myself thinking (again) about Ted and Arnie. So, in sharing my reflections of the Station Fire with you, I start be remembering Ted and Arnie. And remembering Ted and Arnie's families, friends, colleagues and all who knew and loved them.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Helos and their dip site (in support of 790 Fire in the Skylands Wilderness Area)

I found this amazing video quite by accident about 30 minutes ago. I love watching helos dipping. What makes this video special is seeing how the water gets to the dip tanks that you will see later in the video.  You will see to Air Cranes dipping.

According to the about this video information on youtube:

They had to pump water up hill 500 feet to transfer tanks,add bleach to kill any parasites then pump it up hill another 300 feet to the dipping tanks. This site was built on a hill side above Parker Creek a tributary of the upper reaches of the S. Frk. of the Rogue River. The Heli Dip Site was being utilized to fight the 790 fire in the Sky Lakes Wilderness Area. Site was built due to its close proximity to the fire and the short turnaround times. They where coming in every 4 to 5 minutes for re-loads.
For information about the 790 fire, which has burned 2,292 acres and is at 20% containment as I write this. go to the 790 fire page on inciweb.

Unlabor Day

I took a couple of days off from my labors including this blog. I hope that everyone here in the U.S. who was or still is traveling over the long Labor Day weekend is safely home. Now it is back to the grind for many, school and all that.

I'll be back later today or tomorrow with a post.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Happy Camp Complex Fire (CA) -- Temporary Helibase (Aug. 21, 2014)

direct link to NewsWatch12 video on youtube

This video shows a temporary helibase that was set up at the Illinois Valley Airport in support of the Happy Camp Fire on or about August 20, 2014. I don't know if the helibase is still operating. I do know that as I write this that the Happy Camp Complex  (started on August 12 by lighting), burning in Klamath National Forest (CA) has burned 44,549 acres with only 20 percent containment. Evacuations are in place, see Bill Gabbert's article that he wrote earlier today with information about the evacuations along with some maps.

The video that I embedded above interested me because I got to see some of the activities on the base, the images of all the helos from type 1 to type 3, and the temporary control tower. More importantly, the video speaks to what I consider an important safety issue, the fleet of helos was grounded the morning the video was shot (I believe on Thursday Aug. 21) because of a smoke layer over the Happy Camp Fire. The smoke layer, caused by an inversion, had the effect of grounded the helos because it wasn't safe to fly. I wrote about inversions in an article on January 12, 2010 (includes link to other articles in a series I wrote on Flying Fires: Fog, Smoke, and VFR or IFR)

Being somewhat geeky, I was wondering what kind of information I might be able dig up about smoke conditions over the Happy Camp Complex Fires in Klamath National Forest. I came across the California Smoke Information Blog thanks to some information posted on Inciweb's Happy Complex page (accessed on 8/29/14 about 4:45 PM). I was able to find a Smoke impact summary for the Klamath National Forest uploaded on August 21st. They also shared a Happy Camp Smoke Video (8/21/14) that I am embedding below:

The most recent smoke impact summary (August 29, 2014)  from the California Smoke Information Blog is posted here. These reports go into smoke and weather conditions at Klamath.  I'll let those of you who are interested read the reports that I have linked to here. Interesting stuff in the reports.