Tree Frog Forestry News

Category Archives: Forest Fires

Forest Fires

Has British Columbia’s fire season already begun?

By Justine Hunter
The Globe and Mail
May 17, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

…The early start to this year’s wildfire season could be a harbinger of another challenging summer for the province. The devastating fires in the summer of 2017 were unprecedented in scale and cost. …Then, last summer, things got worse. For the second year in a row, a state of emergency was declared, as wildfires blazed in almost all regions of the province. A new record was set – 1,354,284 hectares of land were consumed by fire. “People realize this may be the new norm,” said Fraser Lake Mayor Sarrah Storey, whose community in central B.C. faced evacuations last weekend because of the Lejac fire. …“You can never be prepared for this, you hope for the best each day,” Ms. Storey said. “But we have to make sure we are focused on preparing the community.” What is different this year is that B.C. is mobilizing its wildfire-fighting teams earlier.

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As wildfire nears Alberta town, residents prepare to flee

By Jeffrey Jones
The Globe and Mail
May 20, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Residents of High Level, Alta., were ordered to evacuate their homes on Monday as the largest of several wildfires in the province bore down on the small northern community. The out-of-control fire in the northwestern corner of Alberta expanded through the long weekend to cover 690 square kilometres, blocking two highways and burning as close as three kilometres to High Level, a town of about 3,100 people. …“People are, of course, afraid, because they remember the wildfires of Fort McMurray,” Crystal McAteer, High Level’s mayor, told reporters. “But we talked to a lot of the residents and reaffirmed that we were being pro-active. I’m very optimistic with the resources that we’ve got here, the good intelligence that we’re getting and our fire chief, who has been excellent with his crew.” …Officials said the fire was moving in a northwesterly direction and should spare the town, but the evacuation was ordered as a precaution. [Full story only available to Globe and Mail subscribers]

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Community Forest launching wildfire awareness initiative

By Sean Eckford
The Coast Reporter
May 19, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

A stretch of cool rainy weather in mid-May has allowed the Coastal Fire Centre to drop the wildfire danger rating to low for the Sunshine Coast, but the season has already gotten off to a busier start than last year. As of May 15 there had been 27 wildfires in the Coastal Fire Centre, including two on the Sunshine Coast, and all were person caused. By the same time last season there had been 13 fires in the Coastal zone. A stretch of cool rainy weather in mid-May has allowed the Coastal Fire Centre to drop the wildfire danger rating to low for the Sunshine Coast, but the season has already gotten off to a busier start than last year. 

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Federal fire officials update forecast for this year’s wildfire season

Canadian Press in CKPGToday
May 17, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

EDMONTON — This year’s fire season forecast is normal across the country for the month of May, but the hazard is expected to increase for much of Western Canada this summer. Natural Resources Canada’s Northern Forestry Centre in Edmonton, one of five research centres with the Canadian Forest Service, provided the update on Wednesday. “For the month of May, we are showing normal or below-normal levels of expected fire severity through the entire country,” said Richard Carr, a wildland fire research analyst. “However, through the summer beginning in June and extending through August, we’re seeing the western-most regions — British Columbia, Yukon, western Alberta — that have increased risk of fire severity and therefore the possibility of more fires.” 

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Norbord Reports Fire Near High Level, Alberta OSB Mill

By Norbord Inc.
Cision Newswire
May 21, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

TORONTO – Norbord Inc. today reported that its OSB mill in High Level, Alberta has temporarily suspended production due to the wild fires burning nearby in the region and in order to comply with evacuation orders in the town of High Level. All non-essential mill employees have been safely evacuated and no injuries have been reported. At this time, Norbord is assessing the impact to its production schedule. The mill was secure at the time of evacuation. The High Level, Alberta mill has a stated annual production capacity of 860 million square feet (3/8-inch basis) and has been ramping up toward full production since resuming operations in late 2013. High Level is located approximately 720 kilometres northwest of Edmonton and 400 kilometres west of Fort McMurray. [End]

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Growing wildfire prompts warning for Alberta town to prepare for evacuation

Canadian Press in Vancouver Sun
May 20, 2019
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Residents of a northern Alberta town are being told to be ready to evacuate at any time as an out-of-control wildfire, fanned by strong winds and dry conditions, continues to grow. The Town of High Level announced Monday that residents should fill their gas tanks, gather important documents and prepare food and water in case an evacuation order is issued. The town also says fire crews will be setting up sprinklers in various places. The province’s wildfire information centre says the Chuckegg Creek fire has grown to approximately 69,000 hectares in size and is now just five kilometres south of High Level. On Sunday, the blaze was about 25 kilometres away and officials estimated it at about 25,000 hectares. It says that the town, which has over 3,000 residents, isn’t in immediate danger but that residents should be vigilant as the situation could change rapidly.

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BC’s Tahltan First Nation won’t be able to return home for months after wildfires

Canadian Press in Vancouver Sun
September 27, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Members of a tiny First Nation in northwest B.C. remain scattered across the province in hotels and relatives’ homes after fleeing destructive wildfires this summer. It will take months to clean up the damage in Tahltan First Nation territory in Telegraph Creek, which was devastated by four wildfires that merged into one 1,180-square-kilometre blaze in August, said Chief Rick McLean. Crews must clear debris and burnt-out houses, ensure the water is drinkable, restore police and health services and even restock store shelves, he said. Rebuilding 21 destroyed homes can’t even begin until spring, when the ground isn’t frozen. “It’s mixed emotions,” McLean said. “Some people are happy they got out and have their safety and lives. Other people are taking it a little bit harder after losing all their stuff, everything.”

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Forty-seven wildfires still burning across North Island

By Troy Landerville
My Comox Valley Now
September 24, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

NORTHERN VANCOUVER ISLAND, B.C. – Even with fall officially upon us, the wildfire situation is still lingering across Northern Vancouver Island. All told, 47 wildfires are currently burning north of Gold River. “Given the number of fires and the size that some of them go to this summer, that’s not unusual for this time of the year,” Coastal Fire Centre information officer Natasha Broznitsky said. All of the fires are considered under control, meaning they aren’t expected to spread beyond their current boundaries. The focus now is to demobilize, as well as removing firefighting gear off the wildfires, and, through the creating an action plan, to rehabilitate areas impacted by wildfires. The amount of rain in the region has also helped lower the fire behaviour in the region.

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B.C. firefighters battle a fire tornado near Vanderhoof

By Scott Brown
The Vancouver Sun
September 17, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

If smoke and flames weren’t bad enough, sometimes firefighters battling blazes in the bush are forced deal with fire tornadoes. Fire tornadoes, or fire wirls, are formed when strong winds come into contact with raging forest fires. The updrafts of air catch fire and the swirl sucks in ash and debris. B.C. firefighters battling a blaze near Vanderhoof recently had to contend with a fire tornado that pulled their hose 100 feet in the air. “Fire tornado destroyed our line. It threw burning logs across our guard for 45 minutes and pulled our hose 100 plus ft in the air before melting it. That’s definitely a first,” wrote Mary Schidlowsky on her Instagram post.

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Trail, B.C. wildfire sparks up in the forest between a hospital and a high school

By Jesse Ferreras
Global News
September 11, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

B.C. wildfire crews were “aggressively” tackling a two-hectare wildfire that sparked up and came within several hundred metres of Kootenay Boundary Regional Hospital in Trail on Tuesday. The McQuarrie Creek fire, which was believed to have been triggered by lightning, was fought using ground crews, helicopters and four air tankers. Crews made good progress by nighttime, said the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary. The blaze was considered a “slope-driven fire” and it wasn’t believed to be threatening any structures, according to the BC Wildfire Service. It was burning between the hospital and JL Crowe Secondary School, though it was also moving away from town.

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As smoke sweeps across Alberta, Cochrane works to protect town from wildfire

CBC News
September 11, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

As smoke continues to sweep across Alberta from B.C., officials in Cochrane are continuing work on a multi-year process to protect the town from wildfire. The town northwest of Calgary is in the second phase of working to become a FireSmart community. Deputy fire Chief Shawn Polley said right now the town is planning for areas they identified as high-risk and close to combustible materials. “In the wildfire threat assessment, we identified a number of hazards in the six open spaces, and there were recommendations in how to reduce the wildfire threat to life and property,” Polley said. “It’s a really great, exciting project for the town.” …GlenEagles resident Maureen Anderson welcomes the FireSmart measures in her community, and said wildfire season seems to be getting worse every year. 

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Trees burn on inside, too

By Rob Gibson
Castanet
September 11, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for parts of Northern B.C. with as much as 10 centimetres expected for Dawson Creek, Chetwynd and Highway 97 between Pine Pass and Chetwynd for Tuesday night. You’d think that would snuff out any fires burning in that region at least, but not necessarily. As we’ve seen in past fire seasons, wildfires can smoulder underground or even inside trees. …Experts say fires like the ones we’ve experienced in the province over the last couple of years can continue burning right into the next fire season.

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Canadian Armed Forces battling Cool Creek wildfire near Princeton, B.C.

By Shelby Thom
Global News
September 10, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Sixty-two members of the Canadian Armed Forces descended on Princeton, B.C. Saturday afternoon to assist with fire suppression efforts at the Cool Creek wildfire. The 12,685 hectare fire is still classified as out of control. It was caused by a lightning strike and detected on Aug. 15 and is burning approximately 20 kilometres northeast of Eastgate. The military members relocated from Merritt to Princeton to assist ground crews. “Right now they are assisting us with mop up which means patrolling the burned area and extinguishing any hot spots that they find,” said BC Wildfire Service information officer Brenna Ward.

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Helicopters hold border fire

The Canadian Press in Castanet
September 9, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Crews battling a wildfire near the U.S. border in Alberta are hoping an avalanche path will prevent the flames from spreading further into a national park that was badly burned last year. Dry and windy conditions Friday afternoon pushed the Boundary Wildfire north across the border for the first time into Waterton Lakes National Park in southwestern Alberta. Parks Canada says in a news release the area received a small amount of rain overnight, but it was so small that it couldn’t be measured, and Saturday’s forecast called for strong winds and sun. John Stoesser, a spokesman for Parks Canada, says the flames have reached a stretch of mountainside that has been swept mostly bare of trees by winter avalanches.

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Kenow Fire damage helps crews fighting Boundary blaze in Waterton

Zach Laing
Edmonton Sun
September 8, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada, Canada West

Days after a fire burning south of the town of Waterton started growing again and spread into Canada, fire crews are thanking a previous fire for creating a fire break. A dry, windy Friday afternoon saw the Boundary Valley fire — burning roughly seven kilometres south of Waterton — grow from 703 hectares to 1,092 hectares. At last report, only 12 per cent of the fire is under control. “The 2017 Kenow Fire burned much of the area to the north and west of this new area of fire,” said the Northern Rockies Incident Management Team in a release. “Reduced fuels in this recently burned area should help act as a fire break.” The Kenow wildfire, which started in B.C. before it jumped the border into Alberta, triggered an evacuation of Waterton Lakes National Park on Sept. 7, 2017.

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Destruction from forest fires jumps sharply

TB Newswatch
September 25, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

DRYDEN, ON —  Wildfires have destroyed about 200,000 hectares of northwestern Ontario forest so far this fire season. That is more than three times the amount of forest that was burned across the region last year. Data obtained by Tbnewswatch from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry shows that as of Sept. 20, the total damaged area this season was 198,626 hectares. By contrast, only 63,400 hectares of forest was burned last year. The 2018 fire damage is the second worst in the northwest in the past 15 years. Since 2004, the region’s only worse fire season was in 2011, when 632,000 hectares went up in smoke.  A comparable number of fires occurred in the northwest that year (908 vs. 838 so far this year) but the destruction in 2011 was significantly more extensive.

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Kenora Fire 71 still burning

By Mike Aiken
Kenora Online
September 24, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

There may only be a handful of forest fires still burning across the province, but they’re big ones. They include Kenora Fire 71, which is still more than 10,000 hectares — or 25,000 acres — in size. However, that’s not the largest. North Bay 72 measures more than 27,000 hectares, that’s upward of 66,000 acres, or 50 per cent larger than the City of Winnipeg. Parry Sound 33 is just over 11,000 hectares, or about 27,000 acres.

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Twenty-one new forest fires reported in Ontario, ministry says most caused by lightning

Canadian Press in The Toronto Star
September 8, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: Canada East, Canada

Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry says there are 20 new forest fires in the northwestern part of the province. A spokesman for the ministry says the new fires were reported on Friday night and that they were caused by lightning.  Jonathan Scott says there are 57 active fires in the northwest and 11 active fires in the northeast. He says there hasn’t been much activity in the northeastern region as one new fire was reported on Friday. Scott says all of the fires in the northeast are under control or are still being observed. The ministry says there have been 1,277 forest fires so far this year, compared to 706 last year. [End of story]

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Vehicle’s catalytic converter started Ferguson wildfire, Forest Service says

By Ralph Ellis and Sheena Jones
CNN
October 5, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Almost from the start, authorities said a vehicle somehow started the Ferguson Fire, a California wildfire that ended up burning almost 100,000 acres over the summer. On Friday, the US Forest Service issued a news release with more detail, saying “investigators believe superheated pieces of a catalytic converter came into contact with dry, roadside vegetation, igniting the fire.” The fire burned through 96,601 acres of the Sierra National Forest, Stanislaus National forest, Yosemite National Park and state lands, the release says. The fire, which is now contained, killed two people. Investigators haven’t located the vehicle and are seeking the public’s help in finding it. No description of the vehicle was provided.

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Man must pay $8 million after gender reveal party sparks 47000-acre wildfire

By Amir Vera
CNN in Click on Detroit
October 2, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

(CNN) – An off-duty Border Patrol agent wanted an explosive gender reveal party for his family and friends, but he ended up igniting a wildfire that spread to Coronado National Forest in Arizona. Dennis Dickey, 37, of Tucson, Arizona, has to pay more than $8 million in restitution, starting with a $100,000 initial payment and monthly payments thereafter, the Department of Justice said in a statement. …The Sawmill Fire burned nearly 47,000 acres owned by the state of Arizona and various federal agencies. The Coronado National Forest is federal land operated by the US Forest Service. Firefighters from at least 20 agencies fought the fire for about a week, the affiliate reported. Dickey immediately reported the fire and admitted to starting it, the Department of Justice said. CNN has reached out to Dickey’s attorney, but has not heard back. Dickey has not revealed the gender of his baby, KGUN reported.

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A Border Patrol agent threw a gender-reveal party. He ended up starting a 47,000-acre wildfire

By Antonia Noori Farzan
The Washington Post
October 1, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

In April 2017, the Sawmill Fire swept across the dry grasslands of southern Arizona… The blaze ultimately spread over 47,000 acres of land, forcing residents to evacuate the area as roughly 800 firefighters fought to get it under control. The cause? A gender-reveal party gone horribly wrong. Dennis Dickey, an off-duty Border Patrol agent, was celebrating his wife’s pregnancy… In preparation, he had filled a target with colored powder. When it exploded, it would reveal their future child’s sex: pink for a girl or blue for a boy. The target also contained Tannerite, a legal but highly explosive substance, U.S. Forest Service special agent Brent Robinson wrote in an affidavit filed in federal court on Sept. 20. When Dickey, now 37, fired his rifle at the target, the ensuing explosion sparked a fire that quickly spread through the dry brush, spurred on by unusually high winds and lower-than-average rainfall.

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Coming days crucial in Northwest Colorado wildfire fight

Matt Stensland
Craig Daily Press
September 28, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Officials say the next few days will be crucial as they try to keep raging Northwest Colorado wildfires at bay. “We need to get through the next few days — hot dry, windy,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos said, “mostly concerned about the Ryan Fire.” The human-caused Ryan Fire burning north of Steamboat Springs on the Wyoming border on Friday was listed as being 21,631 acres with 35 percent containment. The Silver Creek Fire burning southeast of Steamboat was listed at 18,719 acres with 60 percent containment. “We had really successful burnout operations lately,” Voos said, referring to the Silver Creek Fire. “They accomplished a lot.”

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Authorities say wildfire has now destroyed 40 homes in western Wyoming

By Shane Sanderson
The Missoulian
September 26, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

CASPER, Wyo. — A wildfire burning in the Bridger-Teton National Forest has destroyed at least 40 homes, officials said late Wednesday afternoon. The new count issued by Sublette County Sheriff’s Sgt. Travis Bingham is double a Tuesday evening estimate of at least 20 destroyed buildings. Bingham said in a statement that firefighters had saved 70 homes. Crews were still working to assess the status of other homes in the area. The 50,586-acre Roosevelt Fire has forced 500 people to evacuate their homes in rural subdivisions near the tiny community of Bondurant in western Wyoming. …Firefighters working the conflagration numbered 982 on Wednesday morning. They were assisted by 10 helicopters. A total of 22 aircraft battled the fire on Tuesday.

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Carr Fire concerns over staffing, perils of yard bark and saving yourself in the pool

By Mike Chapman
The Redding Record Searchlight
September 25, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A panel of Redding firefighters recalled first-hand Saturday how they fought the Carr Fire as best they could and apologized for not being able to save more homes from the unrelenting inferno. Two months removed from the start of what became the sixth most destructive fire in state history — and the worst-ever natural disaster in Shasta County — Redding Professional Firefighters Local 1934 hosted what it called a community debriefing at the United Public Employees of California building off Park Marina Drive. The five firefighters shared their experiences the evening of July 26 when the encroaching blaze destroyed 261 homes in west Redding subdivisions. They also answered questions from residents, some of whom told their own stories of harrowing escapes and losses they experienced.

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Wyoming Wildfire Forces Evacuations, Closes Highway South of Jackson

By Reuters
The Epoch Times
September 24, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

PINEDALE, WYOMING—A wind-blown wildfire that has forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes south of the resort town of Jackson, Wyoming on Sept. 23, prompted officials to close 50 miles of a key highway traveled by tourists to reach Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks. The Roosevelt fire has scorched nearly 40,000 acres of drought-parched landscape and destroyed at least four structures, including two dwellings, since erupting Sept. 15 in the Bridger-Teton National Forest about 30 miles south of Jackson. Hundreds of firefighters battled across steep, forested terrain and bone-dry sagebrush flats to push back flames driven by winds gusting to 50 miles per hour.

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Colorado wildfire update: Ryan fire blows up, multiplies to more than 19,000 acres

By Kirk Mitchell
The Denver Post
September 24, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

Several Colorado wildfires raged into the fall season with several growing bigger and more threatening under drought conditions. Leading the advancing wildfires was the Ryan fire in north-central Colorado and Wyoming. Over the weekend, it raced through beetle-kill forests, increasing its size more than sixfold to 19,328 acres. …Ryan fire: The wildfires, which is 27 miles northwest of Walden, grew by 5,699 acres on Saturday and 10,643 acres on Sunday. …Silver Creek fire: Although the fire grew by more than 5,000 acres over the weekend, fire crews were able to gain 50 percent containment over the weekend. The fire was at 35 percent containment on Friday. …Bull Draw fire: The wildfire grew 2,642 acres over the weekend and is now at least 36,442 acres in size. It is now 70 percent contained.

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Pole Creek Fire passes 100,000 acres in size, Bald Mountain Fire burns more than 18,000 acres

By Stacy Johnson
The Daily Herald
September 23, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

ELK RIDGE, UTAH — The Pole Creek Fire passed 100,000 in size by Sunday morning, and fire officials say that there is additional growth potential throughout the day Sunday. According to the U.S. Forest Service, the Pole Creek Fire was reported Sunday morning at 101,423 acres, with the Bald Mountain Fire at 18,596 acres. The Pole Creek Fire is 34 percent contained and the Bald Mountain Fire has reached 20 percent containment. Firefighters are expecting high wind speeds and low humidity on Sunday, with it being a red flag day, which the U.S. Forest Service says could lead to increased fire activity. In the early afternoon, a cold front is expected to move across the area, producing potential for thunderstorms and for a change in wind directions.

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Ryan Fire burning along Colorado-Wyoming border grows to nearly 3,000 acres

By Eric Ruble
KDVR.com
September 22, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

JACKSON COUNTY, Colo. — Warm temperatures and dry conditions allowed a wildfire burning along the Colorado-Wyoming border to continue to spread, officials said Saturday. The Ryan Fire has burned at least 2,986 acres in Jackson County, Colorado and Carbon County, Wyoming. It is burning about 27 miles northwest of Walden. Containment remains at 0 percent. Officials said firefighting crews have been challenged by weather conditions, which were described as “extremely dry.” Humidity values were measured at just 8 percent. An area closure is in effect for National Forest System lands near the Ryan Fire. Portions of both the Routt and Medicine Bow National Forests are affected. Hunters planning to go to the area are urged to get a closure map before beginning their trip. The Ryan Fire began on Sept. 15. Its cause is under investigation.

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Fire spreads rapidly in western Wyoming forest

Casper Star-Tribune
September 19, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

JACKSON, Wyo. — A growing wildfire in western Wyoming has forced the evacuation of some 230 rural homes but so far no homes have been burned. The fire burning in the Bridger-Teton National Forest south of U.S. 189-191 has charred about 39 square miles (101 square kilometers) of mostly timber since it started last weekend. The highway, which leads north to the Jackson Hole area, remains open. It is burning along the Hoback River in northern Sublette County near scattered, small subdivisions with mostly year-round residents. About 255 firefighters are battling the fire with more arriving Wednesday. They’re being supported by air tankers and helicopters.

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Biggest wildfire on record in California is fully contained

The Associated Press in the Washington Post
September 19, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

LAKEPORT, Calif. — The U.S. Forest Service says the largest wildfire on record in California is 100 percent contained. The agency made the announcement Wednesday about the so-called Mendocino Complex of twin fires that erupted in July. The fires north of San Francisco killed a firefighter, destroyed 157 homes and scorched 720 square miles. That’s an area more than twice the size of New York City. Officials say 460 firefighters remain in the area, working to prevent erosion and monitoring spots that are still burning. …Authorities are still investigating what started the fires.

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Colorado wildfire update: Heat wave stoking wildfires from New Mexico to Wyoming borders

By Kirk Mitchell
The Denver Post
September 18, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

From the Horse fire near the New Mexico border to the Ryan fire now partly burning in Wyoming, Colorado wildfires continue to scorch new forests and grasslands late in the summer. A heat wave has energized the fires that continue to make runs in parched areas of the state suffering from drought and low humidity. U.S. Forest Service officials have walked a tight rope in allocating thinly-stretched resources, including manpower, planes and bulldozers. Fire crews have been beefed up across Colorado. Ryan fire – Fire managers continue to funnel more firefighters to the blaze that started on Saturday and has spread to 2,500 acres by late Monday. The fire is at zero-percent containment.

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Fire danger rises in northwestern Wyoming

The Billings Gazette
September 18, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The fire danger rating has been elevated to very high for the Bridger-Teton National Forest, Grand Teton National Park, National Elk Refuge, and remaining portions of the Teton Interagency Dispatch area in northwestern Wyoming. The area has seen exceptionally dry conditions since the last appreciable rain in late August, and fuel conditions are at their driest of the season. In addition, several days of red flag warnings have elevated local fire conditions. A red flag warning is issued by the National Weather Service when relative humidity is expected to be at or below 15 percent and strong gusty winds are anticipated, and conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion and rapid spread.

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Four people believed dead after ATV crash sparks wildfire near Payson

By Cameron La Fontaine
12news.com KPNX
September 16, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

PAYSON, Ariz. – A wildfire sparked by an ATV crash has left four people missing and a fire that crews are currently trying to put out in the Tonto and Coconino National Forests, according to the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office said on Saturday just before 4:30 p.m. they received a call to help with a wildfire along Forest Service Road 300. The fire is being called the “September Fire.”  This fire is believed to have been caused by an ATV crash after an ATV went off the service road and falling up to 400 feet down the cliff face. Four people who were out riding ATVs in that area were reported overdue last night. Now, crews are battling a 10-acre fire that has made it too dangerous to get to the crash site to identify possible victims.

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Interstate 5 reopens after California blaze forces closure

The Associated Press in the Sacramento Bee
September 10, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A major interstate that connects California and Oregon reopened Monday after a wildfire roared along the roadway and forced a six-day closure while burned trees and charred vehicles were removed. One lane in each direction of Interstate 5 near the Oregon border was reopened with restrictions and warnings of slow traffic, California Department of Transportation spokeswoman Denise Yergenson said. With the fire still burning, vehicles carrying flammable materials, including hay, wood chips, lumber and logs, will not be allowed along the 17-mile stretch in Shasta-Trinity National Forest. …The blaze has chewed through 64 square miles (165 square kilometers) of timber and brush. It was 5 percent contained Monday. The blaze was human-caused, officials said, without indicating whether it was arson or an accident.

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Huron-Manistee National Forest workers fighting wildfire in Idaho

By Karen Hopper Usher
Cadillac News
September 10, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

CADILLAC — Joe Alyea is in the middle of a two-week stint fighting fires out west. It would be more typical to find the Cadillac resident in the Huron-Manistee National Forest, where he is the deputy fire staff officer. …In Idaho, Alyea’s job is to plan daily and long-term operations for the folks on the ground. For the past couple of days, firefighters have been doing firing — otherwise known as blackening — to hem in the fire. Readers might know the practice as “fighting fire with fire.‘ …Alyea is with a team of about 52 people from all over the midwest and eastern regions of the United States.

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Behind Wildfire Suppression, A Human Toll

Oregon Pubic Broadcasting
September 9, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

The Forest Service says too many wildland firefighters are exposed to hazards on the fire line and that it must change its ways. …Fighting wildfire is inherently risky, but it has become riskier than its needs to be. Federal and state agencies have come to realize fires should not be fought at all costs and, in fact, many should not be fought at all. Excluding natural fire led to forests burning in bigger, more destructive ways. Each year, hazardous fuels accumulate faster than we can reduce them through selective logging and burning. The U.S. Forest Service and other wildland fire agencies continue aggressive suppression on nearly all fires, with few considerations of the long-term risk. That needlessly endangers firefighter lives on the front lines of massive blazes where there’s little hope of suppression — and on small fires in the backcountry that could be left to burn with little risk to anything of value.

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Wildfire threat keeps California highway closed Sunday

Associated Press in San Luis Obispo
September 9, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: United States, US West

A highway running the length of California remained closed for a fifth day Sunday near the Oregon border as a wildfire smothered rural forestlands in smoke and flame. Officials were trying to determine whether it was safe to reopen a 45-mile (72-kilometer) section of Interstate 5 north of Redding. The fire has destroyed thousands of trees — some 70 feet (20 meters) tall — that could fall onto the highway that runs from Mexico to Canada and serves as a main artery for commerce. Trucks and other traffic were using a smaller road that has added 100 miles (160 kilometers) or more and up to eight hours to the journey. The stretch of highway closed Wednesday as flames flanked the roadway and left the roadway littered with burnt and abandoned trucks.

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Opposition raised to logging plans in Salamonie River forest

Associated Press in San Antonio Express-News
October 8, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: US East, United States

WABASH, Ind. — Activists opposed to the planned logging of a state forest in northern Indiana say it would harm one of the region’s largest remaining tracts of woodlands and allow invasive species to take hold. State officials say the logging of selected trees on about 120 acres (50 hectares) in the Salamonie River State Forest will clear dead and dying pines planted about 90 years ago for flood control, and allow old hardwoods more room to regenerate. The forest lies about 60 miles (100 kilometers) north of Indianapolis. The state Division of Forestry’s logging plans for parts of Huntington and Wabash counties was announced in 2014. Aaron Goulet, a founding member of the conservation group Friends of Salamonie River State Forest, told The Journal Gazette the logging would clear some of northern Indiana’s remaining natural forest land and mature hardwood stands.

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700 firefighters in Portugal battle wildfire west of Lisbon

By Helena Alves and Joseph Wilson
The Associated Press
October 9, 2018
Category: Forest Fires
Region: International

SINTRA-CASCAIS, Portugal — Over 700 firefighters battled a wildfire Sunday in a national park west of Lisbon that forced Portuguese authorities to evacuate about 350 people. The fire that broke out overnight in the Sintra-Cascais Natural Park that covers hilly terrain near the Atlantic coast injured 17 firefighters and one civilian, Andre Fernandes of Portugal’s civil protection agency said Sunday. Fernandes added that 300 people were evacuated from a campsite while another 47 were removed from their homes in the wooded area as a precaution. …Fernandes said firefighters were combating the fire on two fronts, and their efforts were being helped by a decrease in the winds that had previously fanned the flames. …Last year they also killed 106 people in what was by far the country’s deadliest fire season on record.

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Historic Camp Lodge Burns in Eastern Nevada Wildfire

KTVN
October 3, 2018
Category: Forest Fires

Firefighters continue to battle a wildfire that destroyed a 79-year-old camp lodge and devastated thousands of acres of wilderness in a glacially-carved canyon in one of the most popular recreation areas in northeast Nevada. The Range 2 Fire broke out Sunday near a private shooting range in Spring Creek and has burned 9,196 acres. It’s currently 50% contained.  Forest Service spokeswoman Erica Hupp says they’ve not confirmed any reports of homes destroyed but several structures have been lost. That includes the Lions Club’s Camp Lamoille, which the Boy Scouts of America first built in 1939. The U.S. Forest Service says the Mountain City, Ruby Mountains, Jarbidge Ranger District and Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest area is closed until further notice. They said roads and trails are closed as well as picnic areas and campgrounds. 

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