2015 New Releases & Stories
August 24, 2015
NWSA contributes to story on KATU 2 In Portland/
You can view the interview here.
August 20, 2015
NWSA does live interview with Channel 5 News in Oakland CA.
You can view the interview here.
Article about Patrick Environmental & the Local Emergency Responder's on wildfires in the West.
To watch click here.
Wildfire Private Responders in Demand in the Pacific Northwest
Lyons, ORE., 12 AUG. 2015—The National Wildfire Suppression Association (NWSA) reports that more than 6,500 of its members are fighting fires between California and Oregon. These local emergency responders are working alongside agency responders to combat this summer’s wildfire activity.
Debbie Miley, NWSA Executive Director says, “Many of our members are extremely busy right now, working night and day, 7 days a week. We have a majority of NWSA hand crews out and a significant amount of our equipment providers are working. Fire danger remains high, and with the right triggers for ignition, all of our folks could be needed. We still have resources available for dispatch in the event our agency partners need them.”
Rick Dice, NWSA member and owner of PatRick Corporation, a fire and emergency services company with offices in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and North Carolina, says, “The fire activity is not a lot different from other years. While it’s cram-packed now, we expected that due to the dry winter. Between Oregon and Washington, we’ve had 2,600 fires, about 156,000 acres burned this year.”
“A lot of our firefighters are at work on the lines in California and other western states, which is what our members are trained to do. We still have a few crews left and engines around should activity pick up,” says Dice.
NWSA member Jess Wills of Firestorm Wildland Fire headquartered in Chico, Calif. is working at the Route Complex Fire on Six Rivers National Forest in Northern California. “It’s definitely dry. The moisture is extremely low and drought conditions are bad. That’s all contributing to large fire growth in a short amount of time,” says Wills.
“I’m working with our gel plant, we provide a product to the forest service to extend the life of water, it allows it to not evaporate as quickly. We provide the dip site; filling 10,000-gallon tanks. Helicopters dip out of those tanks. Every day is different, but yesterday, every 16 minutes we had a helicopter coming in. Right now, our day starts at 5 a.m. and ends about 9 p.m.”
Dice and Wills represent two of NWSA’s 250 member companies. NWSA members are cost-effective partners who contract with local, state and national agencies to ensure wildland fire protection for both private and public lands. For more information or to learn more about National Wildfire Suppression Association, visit www.nwsa.us.
National Wildfire Suppression Association
The National Wildfire Suppression Association (NWSA) is a 501 (c)(6) non-profit association that represents approximately 250 members in 25 states throughout the U.S. This association includes more than 10,000-trained firefighters, and more than 6,100 pieces of specialized equipment that are utilized for wildfire suppression efforts. NWSA has an approved certification program for instructors as well as a recognized training program, and is professionally managed by an elected Board of Directors, and supported by a staff with many years of fire and management experience.
Drones & Wildfires - No Great Video is Worth Risking a Life
By Debbie Miley, Executive Director, National Wildfire Suppression Association (NWSA)
Word Count: 452
There has been much discussion about how drones might be used to help in the fight against wildfire, but no one saw the potential for extreme danger that recreational drones might pose to firefighters.
As the use of recreational drones expands, how to regulate their usage in situation like this will need to be dealt with. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently stated that people that operate drones illegally could be fined but there has been a lot of controversy by those that want to use drones in commerce. The FAA has put a temporary flight restriction around wildfires. If the owner of the drone is contacted by the FAA and continues to operate it in an unsafe manner, they could face fines anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000.
As we heard during the North Fire last week in Los Angeles, the agencies were unable to dispatch water drops over the cars on fire on the Freeway that day for at least 20 minutes due to recreational drones flying over the scene trying to obtain that “one great video.”
As an organization that represents 10,000 boots on the ground firefighters during the height of wildfire season, the National Wildfire Suppression Association is concerned about the issue of recreational drones because our number one priority is keeping people safe.
Not only is the danger to the folks flying those air tankers and helicopters, but also the responders on the grounds who are working to extinguish the flames. Aviation resources provide valuable support to the emergency personnel on the ground in a wildfire, and it is a strategically coordinated effort. Therefore, if these drones put a cog in the wheel, they are also putting the lives of the folks on the ground at risk, as those responders are depending on water or retardant drops.
“If a [drone] is detected flying over or near a wildfire, we will stop airtankers from dropping fire retardant, helicopters from dropping water and other aerial firefighting aircraft from performing wildfire suppression missions until we can confirm that the drone has left the area and we are confident it won’t return,” said Steve Gage, a Forest Service Representative from the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, ID.
The same scenario is true for wildland firefighters battling any fire: if an incident occurred where there was an entrapment on the ground and aviation water/retardant drops could save those firefighters from death, let us hope that a recreational drone is not getting that one great shot at the sake of the lives of our firefighters.
Is that one great video worth risking lives?
Do you know how many of the firefighters on the line are from the Private sector?
Download a PDF Version here.
What are the Costs of boots on the ground to fight wildfires?
Download a PDF Version here.