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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Virginia Wildfire Resources head South and West

Sixteen firefighters and 5 brush trucks (engines) from the Virginia Department of Forestry are currently deployed to wildfires in Arizona, Texas, Georgia and Florida to help fight the wildfires in those states.
Over 600,000 acres are burning in those states alone and local resources are stretched to the limit and beyond. There is a process to share resources nationally which is coordinated through NIFC (The National Interagency Fire Center) in Boise, ID. Virginia is also part of the Southern Area Forest Fire Compact which provides assistance between states from Virginia to Florida over to Texas. Both NIFC and the Southern Compact have agreements in place that helps facilitate the movement of wildfire resources, so when the “call” comes there is little delay in providing assistance.

The following is information from the Southern Area Command Center (SACC) this is the most current and up to date info on the numerous wildfires raging accross the south. Following the write-up there will be pictures from the various wildfires Virginia personnel and resources are currently deployed on.

By looking at the drought map here it is very easy to see just why the "south" is burning.

Southern State Fire Situation Update
Monday June 13, 2011
Red Flag Warning are in effect today for the Texas Panhandle and Western Oklahoma for relative humidity of 5-10 percent with 20-30 mph winds and gusts to 40 mph and temperatures 95-110.  Red Flag Warning are also posted for the Florida Panhandle for relative humidity below 35 percent. 

The only rain expected across the region this week is afternoon showers and thunderstorms which should become more numerous Wednesday from Kentucky down into north Alabama and Georgia.  North Carolina and Virginia should have a better chance of showers on Thursday.  Due to the extremely dry conditions lightning associated with these thunderstorms is increasing ignitions especially in Florida, South Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.  The drought map below shows the primary areas of concern.

State Fire Activity: 
In the past seven days Texas responded to 118 new fires for 49,385 acres.  Texas currently has nine large uncontained fires that have burned about 42,079 acres.  Information on Texas’ fires is available at:  

Florida reported 47 new fires yesterday for 7,446 acres with 14 significant fires burning about 93,600 acres. 

Alabama reported 134 new fires for 3,109 acres in the last seven days.  Alabama’s Governor declared a Drought Emergency for the whole state which makes it illegal to do any outdoor burning.
South Carolina reported 44 fires for 132 acres over the weekend. 

Louisiana has been averaging about 20 fires per day for about 200 acres.

In Georgia the Honey Prairie Fire on the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge is about 169,951 acres with 80 percent containment.  The fire is being managed under a unified command of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, the Georgia Forestry Commission, and the Florida Division of Forestry.  The Racepond Fire in Georgia is reported as contained at 7, 893 acres.  At last report on Friday Georgia was showing 25+ fires for at least 1,100 acres, many fires with unknown acreage. 

The Pains Bay Fire is on the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge and Air Force bombing range in North Carolina.  This fire is about 45,225 acres, 75 percent contained.  Water is being used on parts of the fire where it is burning underground.  The North Carolina Division of Forest Resources has jurisdiction for fire suppression on the bombing range through an agreement with the Air Force.  The North Carolina Division of Forest Resources is in unified command with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Florida has their Red IMT assigned to the Espanola Fire in Flagler County.  The fire is about 3,000 acres and 45 percent contained.  Florida has ordered two strike teams of type 6 engines through the compacts for a total of 10 engines with two engine operators each and two strike team leaders.  One of the strike team orders was filled by Virginia and Mississippi is working on the other strike team order.

Georgia has ordered a strike team of 5 engines with two operators each and a strike team leader through the compacts to support the Satilla District in Southeast Georgia.  This order has been filled by South Carolina.

A Texas IMT (IC Hannemann) is located in Merkel coordinating fire response for most of the state.  Aviation and other resources are strategically placed around the state.  A National Incident Management Organization (NIMO) IMT is also providing assistance in west Texas.  Engine and water tender assistance are being provided by the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System.  SEATS, helicopters, heavy airtankers and hand crews are also being used. 

The Honey Prairie Fire is being managed by a Southern type 1 IMT (Red Team, IC Wilder) under unified command with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Georgia Forestry Commission, and the Florida Division of Forestry.

 A North Carolina IMT (IC Hendricks) is managing the Pains Bay Fire in North Carolina .  The fire is being managed in unified command with the U.S Fish & Wildlife Service.

Horseshoe Fire Complex in AZ

Honey Prairie GA

West Texas

Espanola Wildfire FL

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