Rep. Schiff Sends Letter of Concern to U.S. Forest Service over Contract Changes to Firefighting Helicopters


Rep. Schiff Sends Letter of Concern to U.S. Forest Service over Contract Changes to Firefighting Helicopters

 
30 June 2017

published byhttps://schiff.house.gov


USA – Letter Questions Implications for Angeles National Forest as California Enters Peak Fire Season

Washington, DC – Today, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), sent a letter to U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell expressing concern over the decision by the Forest Service to change six Type 1 firefighting helicopters from “exclusive use” contracts to “call when needed” contracts, including a helicopter based in Lancaster, CA.

“As we enter peak fire season in Southern California, I would like to know the implications of this decision on readiness and speed of response in the event of a fire, since as you are well aware, the speed of response can be the difference between a destructive wildfire and a controlled event,” Schiff wrote in the letter.

Schiff’s letter was sent as half a dozen fires currently burn in Southern California. The fires stretch from San Luis Obispo County in the north to Camp Pendleton in the south and Riverside County in the east.

Full text of the letter is below:

June 30, 2017

Chief Tom Tidwell

USDA Forest Service

1400 Independence Ave, SW

Washington, DC 20250-1111

Dear Chief Tidwell:

I am writing to express my concern over the decision by the Forest Service to change six Type 1 firefighting helicopters from “exclusive use” contracts to “call when needed” contracts, including a helicopter based in Lancaster, CA. As we enter peak fire season in Southern California, I would like to know the implications of this decision on readiness and speed of response in the event of a fire, since as you are well aware, the speed of response can be the difference between a destructive wildfire and a controlled event.

Ensuring that the Forest Service has access to all resources at its disposal, at all times, is of the utmost importance to me and my constituents. While I understand that the Type 1 helicopter based in Lancaster, CA will remain stationed in Lancaster, the change from an “exclusive use” contract to “call when needed” raises a number of questions:

Will the Type 1 helicopter be available at all times in the event of a fire event in the Angeles National Forest?
If the helicopter will not be available at all times, what is the longest time period it will take to call up the helicopter and complete the process to activate it for a mission in the Angeles National Forest?
Will the Type 1 helicopter based in Lancaster be used in other parts of the country, and if so, how would this hinder the Forest Service’s ability to fight fires in Los Angeles County?
Is there a potential for the helicopter to be located outside of Southern California and not be available for use in Los Angeles County?

I respectfully request you respond to these questions pertaining to the availability of Type 1 helicopters to responders, as well as address the general readiness of the Forest Service.

Thank you for your time and attention to this important matter. I appreciate your consideration of my questions, and I look forward to working with you to improve the Forest Service’s firefighting efforts.

It’s been a fairly wet spring and summer this year, but when it gets dry for weeks at a time, the New York State Forest Rangers keep a close watch on forest fire danger in the Adirondacks.

In the early 1900s, fires ravaged thousands of acres of forest land in the Adirondack Park, particularly along railroad corridors. It caused alarm in Albany. The old system, created when the Forest Preserve was formed in 1885, wasn’t working.

A new approach was needed, so the New York Legislature enacted new laws in 1909 to fight fires in the Adirondacks and Catskills. It was a game-changing moment, one that would lead to the establishment of the Forest Ranger Division in 1912 and the construction of more than 100 fire towers.

It’s been a fairly wet spring and summer this year, but when it gets dry for weeks at a time, the New York State Forest Rangers keep a close watch on forest fire danger in the Adirondacks. In the early 1900s, fires ravaged thousands of acres of forest land in the Adirondack Park, particularly along railroad corridors. It caused alarm in Albany. The old system, created when the Forest Preserve was formed in 1885, wasn’t working. A new approach was needed, so the New York Legislature enacted new laws in 1909 to fight fires in the Adirondacks and Catskills. It was a game-changing moment, one that would lead to the establishment of the Forest Ranger Division in 1912 and the construction of more than 100 fire towers.

It’s been a fairly wet spring and summer this year, but when it gets dry for weeks at a time, the New York State Forest Rangers keep a close watch on forest fire danger in the Adirondacks.

In the early 1900s, fires ravaged thousands of acres of forest land in the Adirondack Park, particularly along railroad corridors. It caused alarm in Albany. The old system, created when the Forest Preserve was formed in 1885, wasn’t working.

A new approach was needed, so the New York Legislature enacted new laws in 1909 to fight fires in the Adirondacks and Catskills. It was a game-changing moment, one that would lead to the establishment of the Forest Ranger Division in 1912 and the construction of more than 100 fire towers.

It’s been a fairly wet spring and summer this year, but when it gets dry for weeks at a time, the New York State Forest Rangers keep a close watch on forest fire danger in the Adirondacks. In the early 1900s, fires ravaged thousands of acres of forest land in the Adirondack Park, particularly along railroad corridors. It caused alarm in Albany. The old system, created when the Forest Preserve was formed in 1885, wasn’t working. A new approach was needed, so the New York Legislature enacted new laws in 1909 to fight fires in the Adirondacks and Catskills. It was a game-changing moment, one that would lead to the establishment of the Forest Ranger Division in 1912 and the construction of more than 100 fire towers.

The forest fire, which started on the night of June 24 and still smoldering in Spain’s southwestern region of Huelva, burned a total of 8,486 hectares, the Andalusian Regional Government said on Wednesday. Environmental spokesman for Andalusia, Jose Fiscal, confirmed the damage on his Twitter account. Over 2,000 people had had to be evacuated from hotels and campsites on the perimeter of the fire, he said. He added that the perimeter established around the fire was actually 10,900 hectares, but within that perimeter, 2,414 hectares of woodland were still intact. The fire damaged two protected areas: 6,761 hectares of Donana National Park, which has UNESCO protected status and is home to around 400 different species such as the threatened Iberian Lynx and Iberian Eagle, and 17 hectares of Laguna de Palos y Madres Nature Park. The Andalusian government believed that had it not been for the work of fire fighters, who at the height of the blaze numbered around 500, the damage would have been far worse for the 43,225 hectares of woods and scrubland. According to the regional government, temperatures were around 40 degrees Celsius when the fire began, with a wind-speed of between 30 and 40 km per hour (km/h) and gusts of up to 90 km/h at night, which helped propagate the flames and made it impossible to use aircraft or helicopters to fight the fire. A total of 50 firemen remain in the zone to continue the work of damping down and to ensure there are no flare ups, while investigations continue into the cause of the blaze. Authorities have not ruled out a human cause.
Read full text at:http://eng.belta.by/society/view/spanish-forest-fire-burns-over-8400-hectares-in-and-around-national-park-102857-2017/
If you use BelTA’s materials, you must credit us with a hyperlink to eng.belta.by.Tropical peat swamp forests, which once occupied large swaths of Southeast Asia and other areas, provided a significant “sink” that helped remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But such forests have been disappearing fast due to clear-cutting and drainage projects making way for plantations. Now, research shows peatlands face another threat, as climate change alters rainfall patterns, potentially destroying even forested peatlands that remain undrained.

Read more at:https://phys.org/news/2017-06-peatlands-dwindling-losses.html#jCpTropical peat swamp forests, which once occupied large swaths of Southeast Asia and other areas, provided a significant “sink” that helped remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. But such forests have been disappearing fast due to clear-cutting and drainage projects making way for plantations. Now, research shows peatlands face another threat, as climate change alters rainfall patterns, potentially destroying even forested peatlands that remain undrained.

Read more at:https://phys.org/news/2017-06-peatlands-dwindling-losses.html#jCp


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