Last December, another major fire plagued California. For over a month, the Thomas Fire blazed through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The destruction surpassed 440 square miles of land scorched and 1,063 structures burned, claiming the title as the largest wildfire in California history. As of December 22nd, more than 8,500 firefighters fought to contain it. It took firefighters until January 12 to reach 100 percent containment, thanks in part to the subsiding Santa Ana winds that had originally exacerbated the fire in early December.
EXTENDED WILDIFRE SEASON PUTS A STRAIN ON RESOURCES
The drought conditions over the last few years has the firefighting community and forestry services convinced that the conventional fire season will now be extended at least four to five months, further straining the resources necessary in combating these fires as they increase in intensity and proliferation. The frequency of these fires and the swiftness of consumption of dry vegetation is a major concern. The five-year drought claimed over 102 million trees. According to Cal Fire Deputy Chief Scott McLean, it’s no large leap to imagine the strain these new conditions will have on personnel who have to respond to more fires that burn more intensely. This is a massive undertaking in deployment of resources and allocation as needs spread across the entire state.
IT’S MORE THAN JUST CALIFORNIA, IT’S THE ENTIRE WESTERN US
It’s also not difficult to extrapolate how magnified this can become when you consider the vastness of the entire American West. This year it’s California in the news and garnering all the attention. However, wildfires threaten forests from Idaho and Montana, south through Utah, Wyoming, and Colorado, and down to Arizona and New Mexico. This change isn’t simply constrained to California. Considering the resources required as well as the additional efforts to clear out torched areas in the aftermath of these fires, the burden on the state forest and fire agencies keeping up with this new reality begs some serious recalibration from all involved – communities, politicians, and agencies – as to what should be allocated in the future to adequately respond to what appears to be the inevitable.
MUDSLIDES FURTHER EXACERBATE STRAIN ON RESOURCES
The period of sustained rain necessary to mitigate current drought conditions seems out of reach. However, rain did arrive in early January, only to present another series of looming emergencies. Mudslides occurred in scorched areas due to scorched plant roots and weakened soil, causing the deaths of dozens of civilians with several others missing, putting even more stress on the exhausted and strained fire crews.
AN EXTENDED FIRE SEASON IS THE NEW NORMAL
This “new normal,” as California Governor Jerry Brown gloomily acknowledged just two months ago, only serves to reinforce the need for all concerned to make resources and response a top priority in future state budget negotiations. Given the onslaught of claims that the insurance companies will be handling in the coming months, it’s a decent bet their voices will be loud when the time comes for these budget meetings. Hopefully some sensible policies will be enacted to adequately deal with these longer, more intense fire seasons that have claimed record numbers of acres, structures, and human lives.
PROTECTING AMERICAN FIREFIGHTERS FOR OVER 25 YEARS
For over 25 years, Boise Mobile Equipment has served our nation’s fire fighters by engineering state-of-the-art fire engines. The safety of our nation’s firefighters is our number one priority, so BME fire apparatus are built to protect fire crews by shielding them from the lethal elements they encounter when battling fires. Our fire trucks are engineered for rugged off-road terrain, built with reinforced TIG-welded aluminum tubular bodies and are tilt-tested to withstand horizontal grades of more than 32 degrees. BME fire trucks are trusted by fire service organizations like CAL FIRE and the USDA Forest Service, as well as numerous municipal fire departments across the country. In fact, many of our apparatus were used to help battle the recent ‘mega fires’ in California, Montana, Oregon and Idaho. Our engineers and mechanics are highly trained, allowing them to manufacture custom vehicles built to any specs. We understand that one size does not fit all in the fire industry, as every department and organization needs different equipment to do its job. That’s why we are known for our ‘built-to-spec’ manufacturing process. Rather than the traditional ‘cookie cutter’ manufacturing process where each truck is built the same and additional specs are charged as add-ons, BME builds each of its vehicles custom to every department’s specific needs. BME’s recent contracts with Forest Service and CAL FIRE allow for tag-on’s that could make the purchase of your new apparatus faster, easier and far less costly. For more information regarding the purchase of a BME fire apparatus, please contact us by phone at (800) 445-8342. Sources: http://abc7news.com/calfire-wildfire-season-elongated-by-upwards-of-40-50-days/2743755/