By Fred Mullen
WILDLAND FIRE STUFF
Last year, Melissa and I presented via webinar a paper to the Southern Climate Impacts Planning Program about combining forecast and observations from various state and national organizations with our local observations to help develop a wildland fire mitigation program for Franklin County. The material was very well received and we have since improved it some more. We are proud to say that we have been invited to present a portion of the materials to the Fifth Annual National Weather Service Integrated Warning Team Workshop in Conway on January 15.
The program is designed to provide local responders and dispatchers with a comprehensive look at day to day wildfire conditions during times of escalating fire danger and high fire danger days. We put the materials out on our web-page, text message and email responders, and, make announcements on the Fire Radio Channels. We also use it as a basis for news releases to local media.
Weather, fuel conditions, fire locations, department staffing and equipment availability all go into the mix. We use the material to make decisions about when to call for mutual aid, how to attack the fire the best way to protect values (homes, barns, farm equipment, width and nature of control lines, etc) We are deeply grateful to all who have contributed to the project including our local Firefighters, Dispatchers, and, Forestry professionals.
The search and rescue team meets on the 3rd Thursday evening of each month. Part of our regular meeting is to recap the previous months missions. Between the October and November meeting, we answered seven calls for service.
They ranged from just about 20 minutes where Team Leader Dave Sutter assisted a family by phone. The family was looking for an overdue hunter. Dave was able to describe to them road system were the person went missing. Dave was assisted by OEM Senior Deputy Coordinator Melissa Francis who provided the parties with electronic maps of the area. The family was quickly able to locate their loved one. Another overdue hunter was located by an investigative search led by the Sheriff’s Department Deputy Travis Ball who was assisted by the SAR team. This search took about 2 hours to complete.
The longest search we have had in Franklin County since we started our team in 2002 was in August of 2012. A lady from Missouri traveled through Kansas and Oklahoma ending up in the Ozark National Forest near White Rock Mountain. The search lasted 39 hours. She was found alive.
A special thank you to team members Dave, Max, Todd, Leon, Frank who spent a cold and wet Sunday afternoon in the field updating our pre-plan for Devil’s Canyon.
*Thursday December 6 at 1800 hrs AFA Communications--call Frank at 573-821-5570 for more information.
*Monday January 7 at 1730 hrs AFC FireWise Meeting–call Frank at 573-821-5570 for more information.
*Saturday January 26 at 0800 hrs NWCG S-190 Intro to Wildland Fire Behavior–call Fred at 479-209-0818 for more information.