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DOD Battles Western Wildfires Amid State of Emergency

A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter assigned to the 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment, California Army National Guard conducts annual helicopter bucket training at Irvine Lake, Calif., April 5, 2014, to prepare for wildfire season

A U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter assigned to the 1st Battalion, 140th Aviation Regiment, California Army National Guard conducts annual helicopter bucket training at Irvine Lake, Calif., April 5, 2014, to prepare for wildfire season

On August 4th, from Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, U.S. Northern command released a news report on its support for battling wildfires. Today, NORTHCOM officials issued an update on their wildfire efforts, noting that:

Since July 20, DoD aircraft have conducted 76 airdrops and discharged more than 137,000 gallons of fire retardant.

Over the last 24 hours, officials said, DoD aircraft conducted two airdrops and discharged about 5,700 gallons of retardant on the Bald Sisters fire in Oregon. Over the same period, seven airdrops discharged about 11,600 gallons of retardant on the East Mountain fire in Idaho.

The supporting unit flying the MAFFS mission is the Wyoming Air National Guard’s 153rd Airlift Wing, based in Cheyenne.

(more…)

Australia’s Firefighting Force Must Double by 2030

Bushfire_AustraliaThis is a cross-post from ReliefAnalysis.com

By Mehmet Burk

Climate Change could catalyze the need for Australia to double its fire fighting force by 2030. But climate change’s global impacts could also unravel international mutual aid agreements used in the continent’s current response operations. (more…)

Weather, Satellite Data, and National Security

800px-2013_colorado_floods_natl_guardIf you have not already read Nancy Colleton’s new piece in the Washington Post’s Capitol Weather Gang, “Weather Data: a national security priority,” it’s worth a look. In the piece Colleton, who is President of the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, lays out the need for better forecasting and weather data collection capabilities and why this is a matter of national security, especially in the face of a changing climate where extreme weather events are likely to be more frequent and intense. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. (more…)

Thoughts On Independence Day

Today, Americans celebrate their 236th year of independence from Great Britain, and over two centuries of national resilience. Hamburgers will be eaten, cold beers shall be drunk, and fireworks will fly. But not everyone will be able to enjoy the festivities. In Colorado, for example, a punishing drought followed by wildfires have driven people from their homes, and caused enormous devastation (this has led to sensible laws restricting open burning, and private firework use). In Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC, Ohio and Illinois, a heat wave combined with a severe storm have left millions sweltering in their homes without power, and as of yesterday, had led to at least 26 deaths.

In this context, our first thoughts are with all those who do not have the luxury to enjoy the day’s celebrations to their fullest, and who have experienced loss of life and security.

Our second thoughts dwell on the country’s future. In the face of an uncertain climate, we wish the United States continued years of resilience and prosperity, innovation and adaptation in the face of rapid change, and leadership on the global stage. In the past, the United States has been able to adapt to changing circumstances with energy and optimism, and to assist the world in doing the same. There is no good reason why that cannot be the case for at least another 236 years.

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