Interview with a Veteran Wildland Firefighter

Zeke sat down with Jim Klump, who is a veteran wildland firefighter, old-school Redding Smokejumper and was the District Fire Management Officer on the Plumas National Forest for 25 years. They talked about the intersection of fire and forestry, land management, people, leadership, and history. The interview took place in May 2022.

They also talked about PTSD, firefighting tactics, landscape-scale backfiring operations, climate change, immigration, the culture of the Forest Service in the 1960-present, and prospects for the survival of our wildfire-threatened rural communities.

This multimedia video features Google Earth map animations, historic aerial photos, historic photos from UC Davis and CSU, Chico, and aerial video from the Wildland Fire Lessons Learned Center.

 

 

New Mexico Fires – May 14, 2022

Hermits Peak and Cerro Pelado Fires May 14, 2022 Maps and Captions: Ryan Cowper Stephens Satellite Images and interpretation: Zeke Lunder Detailed New Mexico fire updates may also be found at: https://nmfireinfo.com/ https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/ *Our Lookout fire maps are high resolution. Click the maps to open them in a separate window, there you can zoom and … Read more

NEW MEXICO FIRES – May 6th, 2022

New Mexico Fires A detailed fire update for May 7th is available here: https://nmfireinfo.com/2022/05/07/hermits-peak-and-calf-canyon-fires-4/ May 6th, 2022 – Ryan Stephens Weather Update Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire Cerro Pelado Fire Bear Trap Fire Cooks Peak Fire Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire Severity *Our Lookout fire maps are high resolution. Click the maps to open them in a … Read more

Echo Lake & the Caldor Fire

Zeke sat down with Junet Bedayn, from the Echo Lake Environment Fund to talk about the 2021 Caldor Fire, and it’s landscape-scale effects on the forests it burned across. Junet grew up spending summers at cabins on Echo Lake, located on the crest of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, just south of Lake Tahoe, and she … Read more

Dixie Fire Stories Interview

I did an interview a couple months ago with Joanne Burgueño, a photographer who helps run the Dixie Fire Stories page on Facebook. They have been running multi-part interviews, with photos, with people who went thru the Dixie Fire in one way or another. Here it is: My name is Zeke Lunder. I’m a geographer … Read more

Full Interview with Daniel Swain, PhD

  Daniel Swain, PhD is one of the world’s foremost experts in the interactions between climate, wildfire, and flooding. He joined Zeke at The Lookout to talk about the Dixie Fire specifically and how weather affects wildfire in general. He also had some interesting things to tell us about the Marshall Fire, flooding and climate … Read more

Structure Losses in the Camp Fire

A Conversation with Eric Knapp and Yana Valachovic Eric Knapp, of the US Forest Service Pacific Southwest Research Station, and Yana Valachovic, from UC Cooperative Extension, came by The Lookout in November to talk with me about their new paper on home losses in the Camp Fire. Our talk is live on Amanda Monthei’s Life … Read more

A Conversation with Sue Husari

Lassen Hotshots, 1977. Zeke: Okay. We have a visitor today, Sue Husari, legendary wildland firefighter, one of the first female Hotshots, and leader in American wildland fire with a fire career spanning 5 decades. Welcome to The Lookout, Sue! When did you know that you were going to have a career in fire? Sue Husari: … Read more

Alisal Fire – 10/12/2021

We are covering the Alisal Fire in Santa Barbara County. If this is your first visit to our site, please check out the About The Lookout page. This site provides wildfire intelligence and commentary. We are not affiliated with any organized fire department — this is unofficial information collated from public data sources. If you … Read more

Guest Photo Essay – Southern Sierra Forests

Here is a guest photo essay from Darin McQuoid. He saw a post we did last week on the fires in the Southern Sierra where we mentioned tree mortality, so he sent us these great photos. We welcome submissions like this. Thanks, Darin! December 12, 2015: Tree mortality from bark beetle. Castle Rock and Paradise … Read more

Southern Sierra Fires – 9/24/2021

KNP COMPLEX Commentary by Chuck Ervin  *****  Maps and Captions by Ryan Stephens   Overview Map – IR Flight – September 23 – 11:11pm: Overview of 24 hour fire growth looking east. MAP LAYERS: Giant Sequoia Groves are Shaded GREEN. The area between red and white lines around the perimeter of the fire show roughly … Read more

Fawn Fire – 9/24/2021 Morning Update

Good morning, Our latest intel from the Fawn Fire is infrared mapping flights from 9:40pm on September 23. The white line is where fire was at noon on September 23. Yellow line is 1pm, first red line is 6pm, and outermost line from 9:40pm. Here are still images of the same information from the video. … Read more

Southern Sierra Fires – 9/21/2021

9/21/2021 at 6am KNP COMPLEX Today’s Briefing Map IR Interpreter’s log Jeremy Hurd: Minor growth to perimeter, with the most significant in the SSW areas. Center of the perimeter continues to show some isolated heat sources as the scattered heat continues to withdraw toward the outer perimeters. Below are maps of the KNP Complex burning … Read more

Southern Sierra Fires – 9/20/2021

9/20/2021 at 6am Briefing Map KNP Complex – Maps by Ryan Stephens, with commentary by Chuck Ervin. Below are maps of the KNP Complex burning in Sequoia National Park made from infrared data captured at 2306PDT (11:06pm) on September 19. IR Interpreter Alex Pincus log: Significant growth in the NNW section. Perimeter slightly grew to … Read more

Dixie Fire in Lassen Park – Animation

Here is a great map made by our friend Peter Hansen showing the Dixie Fire‘s spread across Lassen Park. As we have discussed in length on previous posts, the 2012 Reading Fire was a managed wildfire that escaped control and burned out of the park. Nine years later, the Reading played a major role in … Read more

Lassen Park and Caribou Wilderness Fire Severity – 9/11/2021

Getting the Wildfire Story Wrong We have been hearing a lot of people express concern about the amount of acreage burned in Lassen Volcanic National Park during the Dixie Fire. Part of this is the fault of sloppy reporting and articles by nationally respected publications that are getting the story wrong. This is common. Our … Read more

Dixie Fire Effects – Two Videos

We got into the burned area of the West Zone of the Dixie Fire on September 10, right after about a half-inch of rain. We looked at some of the ways the fire has affected the forests. The two videos below show what we saw on our trip. This first video shows post-fire forest conditions … Read more

Dixie Fire – 9/9/2021

9/9/2021 at 3:30pm Here is IR mapping of the northwest corner of the fire, from 12:18pm on September 9. Some heat showing outside of yesterday’s spot fire near Butte Lake. EARLIER: 9/9/2021 at noon Here is the 10:30am 9/9/2021 perimeter for the northwest corner of Dixie, near Old Station showing spread since 8pm on September. … Read more

Caldor Fire – 9/9/2021

9/9/2021 at 7am Here is a video briefing focusing on Echo Lake and area between Strawberry and Kirkwood — the two remaining areas of the fire with the most heat.  Below is an assessment of the situation from our correspondent ‘Tumbleweed’ a retired wildland fire captain. IR from 22:33 (10:33pm) on September 8. Isolated … Read more

Dixie Fire – 9/5/2021 Evening Update

People have been sending me stuff. Here is what it looked like on the Dixie Fire when a spot fire took off in heavy fuels with a good wind. Also it captures the mood for the last day of this crew’s roll on the fire. 9/5/2021, 8pm The same areas we’ve been talking about for … Read more

9/4/2021 – Dixie Fire Update

Video briefing for 9/4/2021   EARLIER: 9/3/2021, 9pm. A few pieces of new information from today: According to a trusted local source, the 2012 Reading Fire is too green to burn. The team is thinking about using napalm from a flamethrower to get it to go. I am assuming this would be along the lower … Read more

Dixie Fire – 9/3/2021

Here is a video briefing for 9/3/2021. 5:00am, 9/3/2021 Still quite a lot of action on the Dixie Fire. This writeup is based on interpretation of 9:30pm mapping flights of the southeast and northeast corners of the fire. The big wind-driven run to the southeast has dropped off the escarpment toward Highway 395 right at … Read more

Dixie Fire – 9/2/2021

DixieFire Video Briefing from September 2, 2021 The Dixie continues to spread east toward Highway 395. We talk about recent fire spread, tactics being used to protect Quincy and other communities, and about limitations on our ability to fight these monster fires.

Dixie Fire – 9/1/2021

9/1/2021, 6pm Update: Here is some afternoon infrared from Dixie. The southeast side of the fire, west of Milford, has been very active for several days. Strong SW winds have blown the fire about 20 miles northeast, growing the Dixie by about 65,000 acres in three days. The fire was about six miles from Highway … Read more

Dixie Fire – Firing Operations

8/31/2021 – 5pm. What’s going on up north of Westwood on the Dixie Fire? Three DC-10 tankers are flying there today. Also, what’s going on at Lake Davis? This post is all about firing operations. We are going to talk about why we do them, how we do them, what it takes to pull one … Read more

Dixie Fire – 8/30/2021

8/30/2021 – 10:30pm A huge run on the southeast side of the Dixie Fire today, a smaller run north of Silver Lake, and some activity in Genesee Valley. This post is about events that didn’t go the way firefighters wanted them to over past couple days. The intention here isn’t to trash firefighters who are … Read more

Caldor Fire – 8/30/2021

8/30/2021 – 8:00 am Good morning. Sending our best wishes to everyone displaced by this fire and living in fear of losing their home right now. I spent the last month on edge waiting to see if the Dixie Fire would take my parents’ and brother’s homes. I feel your anxiety. I am hoping we … Read more

Dixie Fire – Ongoing Updates

UPDATE: 8/29/2021, 9:00pm Only got IR mapping at 3pm today, so here is where the fire was at that time. White line is last night’s perimeter. Blue is 2019 Walker Fire, Purple is 2020 North Complex. UPDATE: 8/29/2021, 8:00am Fire continues to spread toward Walker Mine, north of Greenhorn Ranch and south of Genesee Valley. … Read more