Tuesday, July 29

Big Burn - Los Angeles Times

Big Burn - Los Angeles Times
Blazes are bigger, fiercer and harder to put out -- is California losing the fight against wildfires? The Times explores the growth and cost of wildfires in this 5 piece investigative series.

Big Fires- Big Business: A century after the government declared war on wildfire, fire is gaining the upper hand. Wildland blazes are growing bigger, fiercer and harder to put out. Firefighting costs are rising, too, and much of the money is going to private contractors. »

Political Meddling and Costly "Air Shows" Fire commanders are often pressured to order firefighting planes and helicopters into action even when they won't do any good. The reason: Aerial drops of water and retardant make good television. They're a visible way for political leaders to show they're acting decisively to quell a fire. Firefighters call them "CNN drops."

More to Come: Living in Fires Embrace: More and more Americans are moving into fire-prone canyons and woodlands. The settings are picturesque but road networks are often inadequate. In a wildfire, everyone may not be able to get out safely.

Lost Landscapes: From Frederic Remington paintings to Gene Autry songs and John Wayne movies, the cultural imagery of the West is steeped in sagebrush. Now, a devastating cycle of fire, fueled by non-native plants, is wiping sagebrush from vast stretches of the Great Basin.

Stay and Fight: Wildfire is a pervasive danger in Australia, just as in much of the Western U.S. But Australians cope with the threat very differently than Americans do. Rather than rely on professional firefighters to protect their lives and property, many Australians do it themselves.

Read the entire series by clicking the link above.

Tuesday, July 8

2008 Darwin Award Nominee: Chemistry went to her head!

2 February 2008, Bulgaria) It was a cold but sunny February afternoon. Lidia, a biology teacher from Sofia, was driving two friends home from a memorial service. Suddenly the vehicle stopped. Bystanders saw all three occupants dash from the car to a nearby manhole, and start pouring down liquids and powders from various bottles and jars.
Apparently, the biology teacher had been performing chemistry experiments in her free time, and had some leftover noxious chemicals. It is still not entirely clear what the chemicals were, but two of the bottles were labelled diethyl ether and methanol, both highly flammable substances. The former is also used as a sedative, so one explanation for their actions is that they felt dizzy from the ether vapors and thought it was a good idea to pour them in the sewer.

As it turns out, a good idea it definitely was not. The cocktail of flammable substances in the enclosed space of the sewer caused an explosion so powerful that it launched the manhole cover into the air, decapitating the (briefly) surprised Lidia. Left without a head on her shoulders, she decided it was time to kick the bucket.

The other two people were not left unharmed, but were alive. They were taken to the hospital with burns on their faces. They may not regain their eyesight, but hopefully will be able to speak clearly enough to tell their children that tossing random chemicals down the drain is not as wise as it might at first appear.

Firefighter Dies When Fire Engine Crashes

A firefighter was killed in an evening accident that involved a fire truck.

The Pitt Township volunteer fire department was responding to a car fire at 8 p.m. Monday when driver Richard L. Kear went off the road and rolled over on state Route 294, according to troopers.

Kear, 58, was ejected from the vehicle and seriously injured. Another firefighter reportedly crawled out of the engine and began first aid until EMS units arrived, according to the U.S. Fire Administration.

Kear was airlifted to Grant Medical Center but did not survive his injuries.

Kear of Harpster had 16 years of service as a firefighter.

The accident remained under investigation Tuesday.

You also may visit http://www.usfa.dhs.gov/fireservice/fatalities/.

Chewing gum for your brain...

Monday, July 7


City of Glendale is hiring:
Fire Cadet (19 w/a 2.0 gpa)
Fire Prevention Officer 3 yrs experience (or equivilant), no visible tattoos.
OCFA is looking for a Fire Prevention Specialist. 1 year experience or EQUIVILANT (ie: education!) They are also hiring:
Fire Equipment Technician Salary: $15.66 - $21.11 hourly Education/Experience: High School Diploma, or General Equivalency Diploma (GED), and one year of warehouse experience, or related maintenance and repair work; or, an equivalent combination of education and experience sufficient to successfully perform the essential duties of the job such as those listed above.
Moraga-Orinda Fire District is looking for a Fire Prevention officer.
Oroville, CA is seeking a certified Fire Inspector w/a min of 5 yrs experience.
San Ramon Valley is looking for a Fire Marshal.
San Antonio Texas is running a regiional recruitment for entry level firefighters/EMT.

Sunday, July 6

Do something good for yourself & someone else today...

Check out www.freerice.com. Improve your brain and feed the world. Then share it with a friend!

California neglected to save for a fiery day

California neglected to save for a fiery day

Seems to me they are funding the wildland fires with the Reserve account. Un-freakin-believable. Click the link above to read the whole story and look at the difference between what they are funding and what they are actually using! For last two years the budget for firefighting was $82 million...costs however were $392 & $206 million, respecively. And those weren't unusual years! Seems to me the State has a case of "It's Not Going to Happen to Me"...even though it does happen to us, year after year!

California spent a record $392 million fighting fires across the state in the fiscal year that ended Monday, burning another hole in the state's already strained finances and forcing officials to dip into shrinking cash reserves to pay firefighting bills.

The amount is by far the highest in the past decade, and it will likely get worse with wildfires in 27 areas of the state already burning early in the fire season.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has declared emergencies in 11 counties, including Monterey, Santa Cruz and Santa Clara, a necessary move to free up more state funds to fight fires.

"We always will be in a position to aggressively respond to any disaster in California regardless of the cost," said Aaron McLear, a spokesman for the governor.

In the past decade, however, the state has not budgeted enough funds to fight wildfires. In every year but one, the state has had to dip into cash reserves to pay firefighting costs.

"That's what reserves are for," said Assemblyman John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee. "We always make sure that there's enough money for firefighting regardless of what's in the rest of the budget."

Thursday, July 3

Newport/Mesa Firefighters Provide Southern Support

Daily Pilot - Serving Newport Beach & Costa Mesa, CaliforniaAnother local strike team undergoes training before heading to Butte County, where they will help its firefighters battle flames.

More than 20 Orange County firefighters stood Wednesday at the base of a burnt-out fire training building across the street from Angel Stadium with a week’s worth of supplies at their feet, less than a day from being thrown into the fight that has occupied thousands of their coworkers for the last week across California.

Five of them, Costa Mesa firefighters, joked and jawed with Del Taco breakfast burritos in their hands and sleeping bags, sacks full of clothes, and a pile of firefighting jackets and helmets curbside, waiting for the bus that would take them 500 miles north to Butte County.

The men are part of a county strike team — a group of more than 20 firefighters and five trucks sent on a mission. Costa Mesa firefighters have been traveling up and down the state for nearly a month now, ever since the Humboldt Fire started up there in early June. It seemed that the Humboldt Fire was nothing but a warm-up for what firefighters across the state have had to deal with since hot, dry weather and lightning strikes ignited virtually all of Northern California.

The men said they’re not fazed by the scale of the fight. After all, they’ve trained for this, they said.

“It’s a 12-hour drive,” said Darren Desluiter. “We’re sleeping on cots. Then a 12-hour drive back. It’s no vacation to go through all that. But it’s not scary or anything.”

“You have a little bit of anxiety going into a situation you haven’t been in. Once you get into base, once we understand what the divisions are going to be, where we’re going to be, we go out the first time, the area we’re going to work in, you’ve got to have heightened awareness,” said Costa Mesa Battalion Chief Scott Broussard.

The men work in 24-hour shifts — one day on, one day off, officials said. Once they arrive in Butte County, they’ll receive their assignments, most likely protecting homes and buildings in the Chico and Paradise areas, Broussard said.

Newport-Mesa firefighters already in Butte County were relieved Wednesday and were expected to return home sometime at night.

The Butte County Complex Fire has burned more than 17,000 acres and was 30% contained as of Wednesday afternoon, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Firefighters have had favorable weather for the last few days; but the layer of cool, moist air is expected to dissipate this weekend and leave hotter, drier weather that could fuel the fire, Broussard said.

Tuesday, July 1

Concert Car Pool

Things aren't always what they seem...the following Ameriquest commercials are a good reminder. Each runs :30. Enjoy!

Have you ever planned...and cooked a romantic meal? Remember....things aren't always as they appear! Another Ameriquest commercial.

The Plane Ride

You think you saw what? Don't you hate it when this happens?

Incident at the Hospital

Things aren't always what they appear to be....another reminder from Ameriquest! Enjoy!

The Brownie Incident

Things always aren't what they appear to be....