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January 27, 2015 Previous day Next day

As my blogger friend Bill Gabbert relates in his Wildfire Today blog, back when PBS advertised this special in September, "there was much confusion about when it would air, with most of  the erroneous information coming from the PBS website." All indications today, however, are that the special based on Timothy Egan's bestseller, "The Big Burn," will air as planned at 9 pm EST next Tuesday, February 3.

As I noted in my September 9 blog, Egan's book really helped me understand the roots of American wildland fire suppression policy and forest management in a new way. The special will document the 1910 fire complex that burned more than three million acres and killed 78 firefighters. More than a mere tale of nature's wrath, the story of this particular fire shows the ramifications and results set into national policy that would influence a century of thought and action on fire suppression and land management.

Check local listings here to watch and experience this truly American experience of wildfire. You can also tell your own story of disaster survival through the American Experience website.

MaineFlagI am in South Portland, Maine, waiting to set up the NFPA booth at a conference being hosted by the Northeastern Forest Fire Protection Commission, a group of fire managers, program managers and wildland firefighters from the New England States, New York, Quebec, The Maritime Provinces, Newfoundland, Labrador and the New England National Forests. This is their “Winter Awareness Meeting”.  It is being held at the Best Western Merry Manor Inn.

Despite blizzard conditions with wind gusts of 40 mph and 14.8 inches of snow so far, they are in the ready to share information and the latest research to help ensure a safer fire season.  Snow-nados twirl outside but inside the focus will be on fire prevention.  Their determination to work through these conditions speaks highly of their concern for their fellow wildland firefighters, their local communities and the region's natural resources.

SnowwhirlHigh winds are also an influencing factor in the intensity and spread of wildland fires.  Now while winter winds and precipitation are in the headlines, let us work together to develop plans and projects to be as prepared for the wildfire season as we are for winter blizzards.


Photos of Maine state flag and a view of the meeting hotel in South Portland, Maine, January 27, 2015 - Faith Berry

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