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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Alabama tornadoes: Close-up satellite imagery shows before-and-after devastation in Tuscaloosa and Pleasant Grove (interactive)

I am not going to try and post any info about the terrible tornadoes as there is an abundance if info being covered by all the various media mediums. I do want to share some amazing photographic comparisions, before and after, from some of the hardest hit areas. Check out the link below.

How the Public Can Help
The Red Cross depends on financial donations to help in times of disaster. Those who want to help people affected by disasters like wildfires, floods and tornadoes, as well as countless crises at home and around the world, can make a donation to support American Red Cross Disaster Relief. This gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for and provide shelter, food, emotional support and other assistance in response to disasters. Visit or call 1-800-RED-CROSS, and people can also text the word “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Contributions may also be sent to local American Red Cross chapters or to the American Red Cross, P.O. Box 37243, Washington, DC 20013.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Mother Nature Gets Mad AGAIN !

VIRGINIA Hit with yet another round of tornadoes. The Virginia Department of Forestry is responding with chainsaw crews and dozers to help open up critical access routes.

Gov. Bob McDonnell declared a state of emergency today in the aftermath of tornadoes and violent storms that killed at least eight people.

Seven people were killed in the Glade Spring area of Washington County in Southwest Virginia and one died in Halifax County, officials said.

"Severe storms that spawned possible tornadoes struck several areas including the counties of Goochland, Halifax, Shenandoah and Washington among others," the governor's office said in a news release.

Pictures provided by DOF Steve Counts who is helping coordinate DOF resource response to Washington County.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

These are not normal days

"These are not normal days, this is not a spring that comes around often, we haven't seen conditions like these since 1917," Mary-Kay Hicks, Texas Forest Service, said.

ODESSA, Texas — At least two homes have burned and a West Texas community near Odessa has been evacuated after new wildfires erupted in parts of the windswept, tinder-dry region.
Two fires prompted the evacuation of the 800-resident community of Pleasant Farms, about 12 miles south of Odessa. Reporters on the scene say two homes in the subdivision already have burned. No injuries have been reported.

Having a Plan:
One of the problems fire officials had in North Texas is that people in the fire's path refused to their homes.
Authorities say Central Texans need to be on alert for the threat of wildfire and need to have a plan just in case.
"We're in a good position because we have time to plan out, and figure out where you want to meet, where will you go, what will you take with you," Hicks said.

Local Public Safety officials may deem evacuation is necessary due to wildfires in your area. If asked to evacuate, please do so in a speedy and responsible manner.  Authorities do not ask you to leave if it is NOT in your best interest. They know how difficult a decision this is and how emotional it can be. PLEASE cooperate and NOW is the TIME TO PREPARE. The more you are READY, when the call comes to GO you are SET and you can get out of harms way.

I offer you these tips for those who evacuate.

Planning for Evacuation
·                       Ask your local Emergency Management Office about community evacuation plans.
·                       Learn proposed evacuation routes and locations of public shelters.
·                       If you do not have personal transportation, make arrangements with friends or your local government.
·                       Make a plan with family members for a destination if you have to leave your community.  In your planning, consider different scales of evacuation – neighborhood, town, county, etc.
·                       Assemble a Disaster Supply Kit.
·                       Keep your car fueled if evacuation seems likely.  Gas stations may be closed during an emergency, or unable to pump gas during power outages.
·                       Know how to shut off your home’s electricity, gas and water supplies at main switches and valves.

What to do if asked/told to evacuate
·                       Gather all persons in the house together.
·                       Household members outside the area may be advised not to return during an evacuation.  They may be directed to a reception center or mass care shelter where you can join them.
·                       Do not call your local fire or police departments for information.  Emergency workers will need their lines for emergency use. 
·                       Stay tuned to your Emergency Alert System radio station or local AM radio station. I say AM because they usually have a more continuous news reporting of an emergency.
·                       Turn off lights and unnecessary appliances.
·                       Close and lock windows and doors.
·                       Check with neighbors to see if they need assistance.  Offer to share transportation.
·                       Let others know where you are going.
·                       If you need a ride, try to get one with neighbors or contact your local Emergency Management Office.
·                       If you have livestock, shelter them.  Leave them at least a three-day supply of stored feed and water that has been protected from possible contamination.

How to travel
·                       Keep the car radio tuned to an Emergency Alert System station.
·                       Be aware of designated evacuation routes.
·                       Avoid routes that are anywhere near the fire, you DON’T need to get a closer look.

What to take with you
Essential items.  You may be away from home for a few hours to a few days.
·                       Clothing for several days.
·                       Toilet articles (Soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, etc.)
·                       Prescription medicines, medical equipment and important medical records.
·                       Special dietary foods.
·                       Baby supplies.
·                       Blankets, pillows, and towels (if you plan on staying at a Public Mass Care Shelter).
·                       Identification and important papers.
·                       Checkbook, credit card and cash.
·                       Your cell phone AND charger. Now might be a good time to get that compact charging battery, many are no bigger than a pack of cigarettes and cost less than $20 and can charge your cell a couple of times..

About your pets
·                       Only seeing-eye dogs and other service animals will be allowed inside most reception centers and mass care shelters.
·                       In many communities, shelters have plans to accommodate pets, check out the restrictions BEFORE you need to know..
·                       Make plans ahead of time to take your pet to stay at relatives, friends or a kennel outside the affected area.
·                       Know pet-friendly hotels and motels.
·                       Prepare an emergency kit for your pets; include collars & leashes, a three-day supply of food, bowls, litter boxes, photographs, and a week’s supply of medications that your pet may be taking.
·                       Make sure your pets wear collars with current license and rabies tags, and identification tags that include information on where you will be staying during the emergency.
·                       Use a pet carrier for each of your pets to make transportation easier.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Swiss Chocolates, Swiss Cheese ... Swiss Wildfires

Thought you might be tired of TX wildfire news. And I saw this story.

A couple of interesting pictures out of Switzerland.
With unusually dry and warm weather wildfires are occurring in unusual places like Switzerland.

Forest burns in Switzerland after fire starts in car repair shop
Smoke rises from a forest wildfire in Visp, southern Switzerland, 26 April 2011. The fire broke out in a car body company leaping over to the nearby forest. Fire brigades from different adjoining villages fight the fire, which is not yet under control, with the help of helicopters.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Wildfires continue, Easter is comming lets hope some rain is as well

Just a quick post...chores to do and the Easter Bunny is comming you know.
Cooler temps and higher humidity has helped Tx but extream fire conditions are being called for Monday. Lets hope that the firefighters and all Texans can catch a break today and tomorrow.
texas is NOT the only "show in town" FL,CO,NM and others are having fires as well just not to the extend Texas is. Below are 4 of the TX fires.

Possum Kingdom Fire

 Rock House Fire

Wildcat Fire

Swenson Fire

Can't end the blog with out a friendly reminder from Smokey ...
Firefighters STAY SAFE
Homeowners Take time NOW to make your home as firewise as possible, PLAN to evacuate if your in an area that is having wildfires. GET your "stuff" together, plan where your going DON'T forget your pets and other animals.
COMMUNITY LEADERS Do all you can to prepare and support citizens and emergency responders.

WILDFIRE PREVENTION works even in these extreame conditions. No were not going to stop or prevent all wildfires but if we prevent even one helps.
Remember what Smokey has always said...Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.

THANKS as always for reading the blog and passing it on to others and Smokey and I hope you have a wonderful Easter.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Smokey Bear Coloring Sheets

Yes wildfires are continuing in several states, folks are still cleaning up after devastating storms and there is still unrest in many places. BUT today’s blog will just focus on something fun. Coloring sheets are enjoyed by folks of all ages, it does not matter if you’re an artist or you can barely stay in the lines.
Here are 2 for you to enjoy, one for Earth Day and one for Easter, both from Smokey Bear.
Please enjoy and I'd love to see your finished product. email to

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wildfires Rage On in TX, a 2nd firefigher dies,water from above.

According to the Texas Forest Service, March and April werethe state's driest  on record, leaving it in extreme drought and fueling recent wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and burned more than one million acres over the past two weeks. Paul Hanneman one of the ncident Commanders quoted "These conditions are  unprecedented in our history, there is nothing on record that we can compare this to” This is saying a lot since Texas has seen some of the worst wildfires Nationally in recent years. Governor Rick Perry has asked President Barack Obama for federal disaster funding, with the cost of fighting the fires estimated to be $2 million per day, supporting nearly 2,000 personnel across the state.

A major portion of these expenses are in an effort to bring water from the skies, NO not trying to make it rain but by dropping it, by some accounts millions of gallons, by dozens of aircraft. Fixed wings and helicopters, if it flys and can drop water its probably being utilized.

In one day recently one of these tankers made 16 drops, that almost 200,000 gallons of retardant laden “rain”.

And then there are the helicopters. They may not carry as much water (only measured in hundreds of gallons not thousands, BUT they are very effective. They can respond quicker, get into places the big boys cant and use pinpoint accuracy to deliver their critical loads.

What’s left after a wildfire burned over a fire truck and killed a firefighter as he tried to escape.

Many states have already sent resources to Texas and Virginia is now making preparations to do the same. Virginia’s first obligation is to protect the citizens and natural resources in the Commonwealth but now that we are coming out of our traditional Spring Fire Season we are in a position to send some help. The last time Virginia sent resources to help in a similar situation the assistance lasted several weeks, firefighters were rotated every 2 weeks, the equipment (dozers and engines) stayed and new operators were rotated.

TEXAS needs all our help if all you can do is pray for those firefighters and communities involved, support relief agencies helping or help by GETTING YOUR SMOKEY ON…. DO IT! Thats no bull! OK the picture above is a bull, you know what I ment.Many of the pictures were taken from a report out of "The Atlantic"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Texas is burning from East to West and North to South

"We're actually seeing Texas burn from border to border. We've got it in West Texas, in East Texas, in North Texas, in South Texas - it's all over the state," Texas Forest Service spokeswoman April Saginor told CNN Radio. "We've got one in the Dallas area that's four fires that have actually merged together."

Why is TX burning?

Its dryand that a big part of why! 
West Texas averages nearly 15 inches of rain a year, according to Hennig. In the past six months, only 13 hundredths of an inch of rain has been recorded in that part of the state. While October through March is typically the dry season, that amount of rainfall is way below what it should be, Hennig said.
"Even if we get two inches of rain the ground's going to eat it up," said David Hennig, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Midland, Texas. "We need a pattern shift."

 One of the many fires burning ....
The Texas Forest Service says the wildfire around Possum Kingdom Lake has swallowed 150 homes and a church as it's churned through 150,000 acres. Another 400 people were evacuated last night, from the town of Palo Pinto.
The Possum Kingdom Lake fire is only one of several massive blazes across the state that have charred more than one million acres in the past week.

Its not all about trees, shrubs and rangeland, as the wildfire bust continues hundreds of homes are destroyed many more are damaged, people are being evacuated from their homes and communities AND there is the human toll that is mounting up.


Funeral Today for Man Killed Fighting Wildfires

OLDEN, Texas - Family and friends will gather Wednesday to honor a Texas volunteer firefighter who died while fleeing a fire truck that had been trapped in a wildfire-consumed pasture.

Texas Firefighter Burned While Saving Comrade

A Texas volunteer firefighter was burned while rescuing a down comrade from a raging wildfire on April 15, He responded to the brush fire near his home in Gorman with his chief and they suddenly found themselves surrounded.
As they tried to outrun the fire, their fire truck was overrun by the flames.
Clark sustained first-degree burns to his face and third-degree burns to his hands.
"It was very scary," he told the news station. "I’m not going to lie to you; I honestly did not think I would make it home."
At that point, one of his fellow firefighter collapsed.
He said that the burns weren't bothering him and that his main thought was that "I've got to get out of here, and I got to take whoever I can with me."
Clark's recovery is currently a struggle. He was expected to go home yesterday, but the wounds are deeper than first thought and he has been kept at the hospital because they are infected.

SMOKEY is counting on you
That one spark you dont cause to occur, that one cigarette you put in the ash tray and not toss out the window just maybe the one wildfire prevented that might have destroyed a town or killed someone.

THANKS for all you do!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Scores of wildfires and tornadoes lead to largest, deadliest severe weather outbreak of year

From wildfires in TX and OK to tornadoes throughout the south it was/is a reminder of just how powerful Mother Nature can be. I came accross this interesting map showing the number of tornadoes by county in VA from 1950-2000. Seems like we have had several decades worth in just a few days recently.

Scores of tornadoes lead to largest, deadliest severe weather outbreak of year
Natural Disaster Examiner
Tony Hake 

A massive, three-day storm system tore across the United States from the Deep South to the Mid-Atlantic leading to more than 200 tornado reports and killing at least 45 people.  The severe weather event marks the nation's deadliest weather event of the year and the death toll is expected to climb.

A Lowe's Home improvement store suffered a direct hit from a tornado in Sanford, NC.  Quick action by employees is credited with saving customers as half of the store was torn apart.
As they continued to the northeast Virginia suffered casualties and severe damage from the storms.  At least four people were killed in the state, three in Gloucester County.  A child in the Shenandoah Valley was swept away by a flash flood and another possible victim has yet to be found. 
Over the three-day outbreak, 230 tornadoes were reported and scores of reports were received for significant hail and damaging wind.  The event is by far the most significant and widespread weather disaster in the United States this year.  

Three die in Gloucester tornado

More than 60 people injured

West Texas ranchers lose cattle, livelihood to fires

PLEASE Remember

We can not do anything about Tornadoes except prepare for them and take action when notified to do so by the National Weatehr Service BUT we can do something about most of the Wildfires! What you say? MOST WILDFIRES CAN BE PREVENTED, MOST ARE HUMAN CAUSED AND A RESULT OF CARELESNESS.


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Many wildfires can be prevented, many can not. The one that is prevented could have beenthe one that saved someones life.

Fires, Drought Trouble Mexico, Texas and Other US Plains States

Nothern Mexico 4.12

U.S. Agrees to Help Fight Mexico Wildfires

Mexico appealed to the U.S. for additional help yesterday after saying it is in the middle of the worst fire season in history.

Smoke from a grass fire covers Interstate 44 near Elgin. The southbound lanes of the turnpike were closed this afternoon because of the fire. Photo provided by James Doyle


Wildfires burn more than 2,000 acres in southwest Oklahoma

Between 1,500 and 2,000 acres burned in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuges on Tuesday and Wednesday, and another wildfire in Comanche County caused the evacuation of 30 homes and closed southbound Interstate 44 for about an hour, officials said.



If you are reading this post its more likely than not that I don’t have to convince you to Help Smokey Bear with his “ONLY YOU CAN PREVENT WILDFIRES” message. But what I need you to do is “Get Your Smokey On” and talk to others about the importance of preventing even one wildfire. Its not hard all folks need to do is obey all burning laws, restrictions and bans, and if allowed to burn or have an out door fire DON’T BE CARELESS! Also don’t just sit back and watch others act irresponsibly. We have no problem telling young children to NOT PLAY WITH MATCHES AND LIGHTERS but seem to shy away from telling adults the same. Or when we see someone maybe using a welding or cutting torch in dry grass, or see someone’s chain dragging on a trailer, or discarding a cigarette. Come on LETS ALL GET OUR SMOKEY ON. Step up and do our part … DON’T LET A WILDFIRE START.