Why California Burns: Not-So-Benign Neglect
October 31, 2007, 5:58 am
Filed under: firefighter, news, politics, Uncategorized

 April 2, 2007 San Diego Union Tribune: “Across San Diego County’s fire country, an alliance of agencies has spent about $50 million to clear dead trees and overgrown brush after blazes charred much of the region in 2003.  But now, the federal fire-prevention money for their work is drying up. Priorities in Washington, D.C., have shifted to paying for national defense, cleanups after Hurricane Katrina and other needs, forestry experts say.  That leaves many residents uneasy about their safety and fire officials uncertain about the future of a nationally recognized program to reduce wildfire threats in San Diego County.”

Why California Burns (CannonFire blog)

EXCERPT, commentary from an Australian investigative reporter and former Parks & Wildlife Firefighter: “Here in NSW (population 6.72 mil) we have a volunteer Rural Fire Service of 70,000…I knew the reputation the US had for its absolute lack of resources for wildfires but I really had no idea it was as laughable as it is until I read on MSNBC just now that California had just 4800 professionals and 1400 “seasonals”. Population, what 30 million? Unbelievable.” [Population is closer to 38 million]


Aircraft sat as California wildfires took hold (CNN)

EXCERPT: “As wildfires were charging across Southern California, nearly two dozen water-dropping helicopters and two massive cargo planes sat idly by, grounded by government rules and bureaucracy…It took as long as a day for Navy, Marine and California National Guard helicopters to get clearance early this week, in part because state rules require all firefighting choppers to be accompanied by state forestry “fire spotters” who coordinate water or retardant drops. By the time those spotters arrived, the powerful Santa Ana winds stoking the fires had made it too dangerous to fly.  The National Guard’s C-130 cargo planes, among the most powerful aerial firefighting weapons, never were slated to help. The reason: They’ve yet to be outfitted with tanks needed to carry thousands of gallons of fire retardant, though that was promised four years ago.”

NASA’s high tech wildfire weapons (CNN)


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