Skip to comments.Recent rains ease outlook for western wildfires
Posted on 07/28/2004 9:52:52 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Recent rains across much of the West have brightened the outlook for the current wildfire season, an improvement over previous forecasts that predicted another catastrophic year like 2003, a top federal official said Wednesday.
"All in all, it's not going to be as severe as 2003," Bureau of Land Management Director Kathleen Clarke said after a briefing at the National Interagency Fire Center and meetings with firefighters. "I think we're going to be able to get through this season just fine."
Over 4.8 million acres have burned so far this year; 4.5 million acres were in Alaska, where the state's second-worst fire season on record has commanded the vast majority of the nation's firefighting resources. Clarke said rain was expected there this week.
Fire potential was still significant in California, Washington and along the Sierra Nevada range, Clarke said. Still, she said, "The lower 48, I think, is well prepared for the next month or two."
Over 4.9 million acres burned nationally last year - 600,000 in Alaska, according to fire center statistics.
Nearly 4,000 firefighters and their equipment remained committed to the 15 major active fires still burning Wednesday.
A hot spot involved a blaze that had blackened 1,500 acres on steep mountain slopes about 35 miles northwest of Las Vegas and prompted fire crews to call for reinforcements Wednesday to battle the fire.
The fire, started Monday by a truck crash in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, was 20 percent contained. No structures were threatened and no new evacuations were ordered.
"We've asked for some additional resources, including air support, and it could be arriving today," said Robbie McAboy, a spokeswoman for the firefighters.
Also in Nevada, a fire started by teenagers playing with fireworks destroyed four homes in Reno, but firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze and no one was hurt.
Rather than the Hayman fire from a few years ago (158K acres), we are getting inundated in the high plains (9K feet) with rain this year. Hopefully it will stem the beetle kill and get us out of this drought.
My county has declared a disaster due to flooding. The Hayman burn is now allowing the water to just rip things apart. Oh well, much better than chainsawing non-stop to kill beetle infestation.
I hate to admit it, but I had euipment ready to fight fires this season with the USFS as a contractor. Difficult to beat the pay at $1,700 per day single shift - but I'd rather lose that money than see the forests burn.
I know lots of other folks who had euipment ready as well. It's a lot like farming, with the weather playing opposite roles in each industry.
Oh how right you are.........we've had so much rain in the past few days that while running some errands my husband encountered much of the topsoil of one farmer's fields - in the flood waters crossing the highway.
The volunteer fire companies, OTOH are thrilled with not having to refill their water tankers because the risk of brush/field/forest fires has been very greatly diminished.
I'm in the wrong business! Here in Southwest Montana its looking good for fewer fires, we had a lot of rain in June and July.
Especially want to thank the Roosevelt Hot Shots from Fort Collins and the Pike Hot Shots from Monument Colorado. Also the village crews from Holy Cross & Allakaket. We also had a hot shot group from Oregon, the Fergasons that were super for getting dropped back in about 50 miles from anywheres and dealing with everything.
These hot shots were highly trained and even better disciplined than anyone can imagine and without their help, many homes would have been gone.
Most people don't understand how important the forest service is until they have been about burnt out. Thanks to the fire service, feds, and especially the Hot Shots & Native crews that worked long hard hours protecting our community.
Good to hear, I've been wondering how Eagle fared through it all. Have you been getting rain this week? Anchorage has actually got quite a bit.
"4.8 million acres have burned so far this year; 4.5 million acres were in Alaska" ping
Sorry NormsRevenge, that was supposed to be a Flyer ping