Plane over intense Yosemite fire encounters flying tree debris

The Washburn Fire burns in Mariposa Grove

Wildfire activity inside the Washburn Fire burning in Yosemite National Park is reportedly so intense it’s lifting tree debris hundreds of feet into the air, causing at least one near-miss for firefighting aircraft.

Radio traffic from a plane over the blaze Saturday documented the rare phenonemon: “Hey, just want to let you know, a branch went over the top of us,” a pilot radioed into dispatch. “A pretty good size, probably 50 feet above us coming down and fell right between tanker 103 and myself.”

“OK, copy. So like a repeat of yesterday,” the dispatcher reponded.

“That’s exactly what I’m getting that,” the pilot said. “So if we keep seeing that, we might have to knock it off. I don’t want to take a chance of busting a window on an airplane or hurting an aircraft for this.”

Rare; but, not unheard of. Just one more danger you have to watch out for fighting a forest fire.

Another damned wildfire!

Another damned wildfire starting up this morning…

Usual for me to search the horizon whilst walking. Starting off, this morning at 11:20AM MDT…there was nothing showing over on the Sangre de Cristo range. We’re west of Santa Fe. The Sangres are east of Santa Fe.

Coming back along our fenceline 10-15 minutes later, this is what I saw. At first, the column of smoke at the apparent starting point was columnar, 3-4 times higher than you see it here. Then, the North wind must have picked up over that side of the county and it blew out and south the way you see it.

No fun, taking iPhotos like this, believe me.

Helicopter refilling water for fire duty

water refill
Click to enlargeAP Photo/The Albuquerque Journal, Eddie Moore

A helicopter hovers over Monastery Lake as it takes on a load of water, Saturday, June 1, 2013 near Pecos, N.M. Fire crews in New Mexico on Saturday fought two growing wild blazes that have scorched thousands of acres, spurred evacuation calls for dozens of homes and poured smoke into the touristy state capital.

This is next to the Tres Lagunas fire about 20 miles east of where I live. The other major fire being worked at the same time is Thompson Ridge about 20 miles northwest of where I live. Often, the smoke collects in our valley overnight and I don’t even feel like going for a morning walk. The smoke is murder.

Eddie Moore’s photo is great. I see these choppers throughout the day as they come over to the Santa Fe Municipal Airport to refuel. Ain’t anyone complaining about the noise or frequency of their visits. They’re saving our buns. Each fire is up over 10,000 acres in size.

Palestinian firefighters OK to enter Israel to fight forest fire – but, not allowed to attend ceremony honoring their deed!

OK to pass through the checkpoint to fight a forest fire
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Israel’s refusal Tuesday to allow four Palestinian firefighters to cross the border from the West Bank to attend a ceremony for their role in putting out the country’s largest-ever fire has prompted a torrent of criticism.

Ahmed Tibi, an Arab member of Israel’s Knesset who helped organize the ceremony, said he was shocked when when he received a call from one of the firefighters, informing him that he and three others were being denied entry into Israel because of security concerns.

The ceremony was to salute 11 Palestinian firefighters who were among the many foreigners volunteering to help Israelis put out the worst fire in the nation’s history. The blaze killed 43 people this month.

The ceremony, which was being held in the northern town of Isifya, near where the fire began, was canceled in protest of Israel’s decision.

The Israeli government office that oversees the crossings with the Palestinian territories issued a statement expressing “regret” over the incident but asked that “a fuss” not be made.

For its part, the Palestinian Authority government was quick to lambaste Israel in a statement, asking why “the same Palestinian firemen who where permitted to enter Israel last week to put the fire out are not permitted to enter today to be honored?”

The egregious thugs in charge of the Israeli government are without peer since the days of South Africa’s apartheid dictatorship. They prattle about democracy and freedom. They open their arms to men willing to risk their lives battling the nation’s worst-ever forest fire.

The firefighters’ bravery is rewarded by being banned as security risk.

Cripes, I didn’t think it possible; but, the Israelis are more corrupt than Congress.

Israel’s leading rabbi says forest fire is divine retribution

Israel’s most politically influential rabbi has courted controversy by claiming that the deadliest forest fire in the country’s history was divine retribution for the failure of many Israelis to observe the Sabbath…

Ovadia Yosef, the spiritual leader of Shas, a powerful religious party in Israel’s coalition government, said there was little doubt that the fire was sent by God to punish his chosen people for their waywardness.

In his weekly sermon, the rabbi quoted a section from the Talmud, a central Jewish religious text, which proclaimed that “the fire only exists in a place where the Sabbath is desecrated”.

“Homes were ruined, entire neighbourhoods wiped out, and it’s not arbitrary,” he said. “It is all divine providence. We must repent and keep the Sabbath properly…”

For many ultra-orthodox Jews in Israel, Rabbi Yosef is the most important religious authority in the land and his comments drew little criticism from government officials wary of upsetting a powerful coalition partner.

Sound familiar? Religious nutballs with highly-placed buddies in government trying to order the whole population of a nation how to live and die according to their own narrow superstition?