The recent decision by the Department of Defense (DoD) to halt further transfer of excess trucks, generators, pumps, and engine parts will cost states and local fire departments the opportunity to utilize excess equipment to protect lives and property from wildfire.
There are two major federal excess property programs for state foresters:
The National Wildfire Coordinating Group has designated the week of June 30 to July 6, 2014 as “A Week to Remember, Reflect and Learn” to honor the memories of all fallen wildland firefighters and to reflect on lessons learned from different types of wildland fire accidents.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released information showing how limited federal firefighting budgets have impacted states over the last two fiscal years. The state-by-state report provides examples of how funding for local wildfire preparedness, forest restoration, and other activities in nearly every state across the country has been used to instead fight fires when wildfire suppression budgets did not fully cover firefighting costs.
A new website has been unveiled to help homeowners and communities determine their risk for a wildfire in their area. The Southern Wildfire Risk Assessment Portal, known as SouthWRAP, allows users to identify wildfire threats based on landscape characteristics, historical fire occurrence, weather conditions and terrain. The site also routes users to resources that can help them implement practices to address the threats identified and reduce their risk.
200 goats from Healing Hooves vegetation management were recently unleashed on a brush-buffet to provide fire protection. By eating up “ladder fuels,” the goats are able to prevent the quick spread of a large wildfire. It takes the goats about a day to eat through an acre – which they do with apparent glee.
Meanwhile, the cost of a mechanical crew is between $900 to $1500 per acre; the goats cost just $500.
After the state of Oregon’s worst fire season in 60 years, the Oregon Department of Forestry decided to chronicle the massive fire season through the video “2013: An Epic Fire Season.” More than 100,000 acres burned on state protected land and three firefighters were tragically lost in 2013; the video notes in the importance of coordination of federal and state agencies and the relationships with landowners to address the threats. Says Oregon State Forester Doug Decker, “It was a fire season of a lifetime.”
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