Thursday, March 26, 2015

Firewise Webinar TODAY !!!!

Planning in the Face of Change;
an Urban Forestry Webinar Series

About the Series

The NC Forest Service's Urban & Community Forestry Program is hosting a series of webinars on five topics designed to educate professionals who have responsibility for managing urban forestry assets. Partnering with the NC State University Forestry & Environmental Outreach Program, the webinars will be accessed through the portal. The webinars will be offered monthly from January to May 2015. Urban foresters, community and civic planners, arborists and urban conservation organizations are encouraged to participate.

Webinar Opportunities

Each webinar will be 1 hour in duration and feature presenters from a variety of land management organizations and educational institutions. Continuing education credits from ISA, SAF and APA are in the process of being approved for each webinar. Participants will join the webinars through the Webinar Portal at


Click on the webinar title below for registration details.
Urban Interface

Continued development in and around forests, combined with drought, tree mortality and increased fire potential requires careful planning and understanding of people and fire.  What is the Interface and what must be considered when building in the Interface? There are resources and partners focused on the interface.
How do you get firewise?

Fred X. Turck

Assistant Director Resource Protection Division

March 26
2pm EST

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Record Drought Possibly Record Wildfires

While the wildfires in Oklahoma, Chile and elsewhere are for now being contained other parts of the US are gearing up for what might be a significant wildfire season unlike any recently. While here in Virginia yesterdays rains were welcomed as we have had over 100 fires for a couple of hundred acres this last week. This time of year it  doesn't take long to go from snow and rain to dry "enough" conditions for wildfires.

No Spring Drought Relief for California, Nevada, Oregon

 The spring weather outlook for the west issued Thursday by federal forecasters has a familiar ring to it: continuing drought conditions leading to greater wildfire risk.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast predict drought will persist or worsen in California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, and western Colorado through June.
"Periods of record warmth in the west and not enough precipitation during the rainy season cut short drought relief in California this winter, and prospects for above-average temperatures for this spring may make the situation worse," said Jon Gottschalck, with NOAA's Climate Prediction Center.

El NiƱo finally arrived in February, but forecasters say it’s too weak and too late in the rainy season to provide much relief for California which will soon reach its fourth year in drought.
Drought is expected to persist in California, Nevada, and Oregon through June with the onset of the dry season in April. Drought is also forecast to develop in remaining areas of Oregon and western Washington. Drought is also likely to continue in parts of the southern Plains.

Drought will continue, increase in wildfire risk
 These two images are of the same boat ramp at Lake Tahoe. Above what it looks like today and the one below shows the lake this same time back in 2012.

Risk of wildfires grows across Wisconsin

Forecasters say drought improvement or removal is favored for some areas in the Southwest, southern Rockies, southern Plains, and Gulf Coast while drought development is more likely in parts of the northern Plains, upper Mississippi Valley and western Great Lakes where recent dryness and an outlook of favored below average precipitation exist.

If you live in any of these areas targeted for an increase in wildfire activity or if you live anywhere where there is a threat of wildfire there ARE things you can do NOW in preparation. Giving YOU, YOUR HOME and YOUR DREAM the best chances possible of surviving the devastation of a wildfire.

 I recently came across what I feel is one of the best if not the best website for information. Although it is from a small county in California the information is invaluable and could save property and lives, possibly yours! GO THERE AND SPEND TIME LOOKING AND LEARNING.                          Then TAKE ACTION.

Thanks Madera County!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Wildfires in Chile

We might be enjoying an easy (for now) Spring Wildfire Season everyone is not so fortunate.

SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — A big coastal wildfire was briefly contained then flared to life again in hot, windy weather, although it posed no threat to homes in the nearby Pacific ports of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar, officials said late Saturday.
Chile's National Emergency Office said the revival was mainly in unpopulated forest along two roads connecting the two cities, and sections of both routes had to be closed.
Earlier Saturday, many of the more than 7,000 people who had been evacuated after flames neared their neighborhoods the previous night were allowed to return to their homes as the blaze waned in those areas.
About 200 firefighters on the ground and water-dumping helicopters and planes were battling the wildfire, which started Friday afternoon at an illegal dump and was quickly spread by strong winds. Officials declared a state of emergency.
The fire was blamed for the death of a woman in her 60s who suffered a heart attack. Thirty-two people had been injured, including 19 firefighters, the emergency office said. Five of the firefighters were badly injured, but their lives were not in danger.
Electricity service for about 12,000 people was turned off as a precaution, officials said.
The fire comes nearly one year after a wildfire tore through Valparaiso neighborhoods, leaping from one hilltop to another. The blaze killed 15 people, injured more than 500 and destroyed nearly 3,000 homes.
No houses were reported damaged from the latest fire, which Chile's Emergency Office estimated had affected about 740 acres (300 hectares) by early Saturday.

The government asked people to avoid traveling to either of the coastal cities, both of which are popular weekend destinations, especially during the Southern Hemisphere's summer months.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Can you help little Smokey find his way to the 4 leaf-clover? Each one has a path to the shamrock!  All 3 images are dated 1950. Do you know the little girls name? 

Judy Bell... That's correct. She enjoyed helping nurse Smokey (the cub) back to health after he was rescued.

Can you believe this is her all grown up. 

Smokey looks pretty good also as a grown bear.1961 --- 11-12 years old.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

As the snows melt wildfires occur and....

Saint Patrick's Day is right around the corner and it is said that at least for a day everybody is Irish!  Hopefully the Smokey Bear keepers don't get so upset that smokey has a new hat for the day!

PLEASE remember at least here in Virginia we are still in what is considered our Spring Wildfire Season and as the snow melts the wildfires are beginning to show up. There were several around yesterday even with snow still being found on the Northern slopes and in shaded areas. DON'T depend on being LUCKY obey the fire laws and do your part to NOT let a wildfire start. ONLY YOU CAN.

 And by the way .......  
Smokey is well rested and ready to hit one out of the park for wildfire prevention!!!

Friday, March 6, 2015

Enought Snow and Ice talk Lets Talk Wildfires!

But Wait! One last word for now. I know many of you really enjoy the white covered countryside we have seen since February14 and while the snow brings about a certain calmness and beauty it also bring with it challenges and dangers. I hope all of you have and are doing well and staying safe...

For those who must be on the roads:
     Delay trips at least until the afternoon, if possible.
     Use extreme caution, increase following distance and do not brake quickly. Many vehicles have been observed traveling at dangerous speeds for road conditions.
     Roads that appear clear are likely to have many locations covered with black ice.
     Clean all snow from mirrors and your vehicle.
     Watch carefully for pedestrians walking alongside roadways.

Now for the fires!

Wildfires eat up Forest Service budget, hampering prevention

The cost of fighting wildfires in California and in the western United States has skyrocketed, hampering efforts by the U.S. Forest Service to implement fire prevention and forest management programs, the country’s top natural resources official said Wednesday.
Fire suppression and other firefighting expenses have increased from 16 percent of the Forest Service budget in 1995 to 42 percent in 2014, according to Robert Bonnie, the undersecretary of natural resources and environment for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service.
“The general consensus is that this is a problem and we need to fix it,” Bonnie said Wednesday during a Chronicle editorial board meeting. He said money has been borrowed that was targeted for non-fire-related activities, like landscaping and fire prevention, to pay for fighting fires.
California, which is suffering from a fourth year of drought, is one of the major culprits. At one point last September, 12 major wildfires were burning in the state. Eleven of them were in Northern California. Nearly 6,000 firefighters were employed to beat back the flames.
Catastrophic wildfires expected in Southern Oregon this summer
Record low snowpack amid a second straight drought year has wildland managers bracing for what they consider an upcoming wildfire season in which catastrophic fire in the Cascades or Siskiyous "seems inevitable."
State and federal wildfire experts said Thursday in Medford that they expect mid- and high-elevation forestlands to be prime for generating a 2015 fire season that will start earlier, last longer and likely burn hotter than normal in this area known for summer fires.
With minimal or no snow around places such as Howard Prairie and Mount Ashland, the sun's rays that normally would melt snow and wet the forest instead will be cooking it tinder dry this spring, making slopes more able to carry flames and more susceptible to fire starts caused by lightning downstrikes.

 THE Biggest story with regards to wildfires comes out of South Africa.

Despite Encroaching Wildfires, Cape Town Should Be Safe

Wildfires have been ripping through peripheral parts of Cape Town, South Africa, since Sunday. As of Tuesday, more than 7,000 acres of land had been destroyed, according to NBC. reported that at least five homes have burned, but the fires have yet to claim any lives. City officials are increasingly concerned, however, dispatching hundreds of additional firefighters to combat the flames, according to the Independent.

Bushfires raging through one of South Africa's most popular international tourist destinations have destroyed vineyards and scorched thousands of hectares of spectacular scenery.
Firefighting teams and water-bombing aircraft were in action as the flames swept down Cape Town's southern peninsula, a mountainous spine of land running from the city to Cape Point, Africa's most southwestern tip.
At least two vineyards in the Constantia Valley, below the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, and one further south at Noordhoek, lost vineyards. Steenberg winery general manager John Loubser told Bloomberg that winemakers were concerned that smoke could taint unharvested grapes.