Dealing with 'super fires' in US forests
Forest service chief calls for restoration
- Duration 5:19
- Date Jun 15, 2012
Forest service chief calls for restoration
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Some 200 family is told to get out immediately.
The Hyde Park fire as it's called is are -- jumping the river racing through acres of bone dry timber.
That act like rocket fuel for those flames a third largest fire in Colorado history.
-- now scorching more than seven -- square miles hundreds of buildings destroyed 12100 firefighters are battling these flames.
As planes drop water and fire retardant in the sky.
The president just signed an order adding new tanker planes to the -- We're looking for hot spots anything that's gonna jump across the retardant line all this is coordinated through.
All kinds of communications in the aircraft and working with the guys on the ground learning to fly this mission is very difficult most all of it is on the job training just getting out there and doing it.
It's a very very dynamic.
Environmental and it.
I'll take a look at southern New Mexico this is the little bear fire it has destroyed more than 200 homes -- outside a resort community near -- the Lincoln national forest.
As about 40% contains smoking and campfires are banned throughout national parks and that states.
The northern Colorado fires blamed for -- -- -- 62 year old woman was found insider burned out home near Fort Collins.
They just -- region they tried calling her try to get around.
To no avail there are at least twelve fires burning in six states right now.
And the head of the Forest Service says unless we change how we care for our forests.
We will see more of these super fires all summer long we're joined now by -- involved.
And the US Forest Service sees it she said that agency in town we're gonna drop on -- 33 years.
I've service when we talk a little bit about these fires we haven't heard that term super fire before.
Why is it being used.
That's just another term we've been calling these mega fires in the past that is to really bring attention.
To the level of fire behavior we're seeing.
In our forests across this country today.
-- to really stress how different it is today from what we were dealing with just a decade ago.
And tell us a little bit about that why is it different.
Well there's several things that have contributed to these conditions one has been.
Very effective fire suppression has allowed more feels to build up in our forests.
In addition to that.
We've had that you with the changing climate where we have warm winners we have extended droughts of very low snowpack.
That we're seeing that our fire seasons often -- and -- buried at fifty days longer than when you've had in the past so when these fires get started.
They have the right conditions to be able to do burned at a much higher rate that much more severe it's because of these fields are extremely dry and plus the additional buildup -- fuels it's occurred over the last few decades.
Time and I'm gonna fire like the one receiving Colorado as we understand and now there's.
And there's speculation that was it it was caused by lightning and so we can't control the weather we can't control lightning so what can we truly do -- to.
Try to make these fires if and when they break out not as bad as what we're seeing right now.
So when we get the fire started like the one -- in Colorado.
That the first thing is that we're gonna respond with all the resources that are necessary to be able for our firefighters the brave men and women are out there on the line so that they have the tools.
To be able to do their job that includes have a -- The air resources they need the large air tankers and helicopters the engines.
And the firefighters themselves.
The second thing we're gonna continue our work.
To be able to restore the national forests by doing what more -- more timber harvest using more prescribed -- so that when we do get a fire started.
It's going to burn fat -- lower at a level of intensity.
And so it easier for our firefighters to be able to suppress these fires.
Let me ask you -- little I have five small final question here on the air resource is there's been some criticism of your agency recently about the air tanker fleet we had his deadly crashes.
And if you fires that we've covered over the last couple weeks -- the Denver Post came out this week and said listen the average age of the planes is over fifty years old.
And they were saying that your agency has done almost nothing to improve its tanker fleet that's their claim we just.
Told our viewers that the president signed an order adding new tanker planes to the fleet.
Is that going to solve the problem that's being suggested about this.
Aides to anchor tanker fleet if you well as trying to fight these fires.
Yes it's a first step and modernizing our our.
Large air tanker fleet.
I'm an even this year we have brought on additional air tankers so we have a seventeen large air tankers that are operating.
Today we'll also reach and two are an ongoing partnership with the military to bring on aid of their aircraft.
Plus will now be moving forward to contract for a new more modern.
Fleet of air tankers that we'll start to bring on this year and -- next year.
-- good to hear that timing and and you brought.
A big point out we really thank our men and women that are fighting the fires right now we know it's big job but we -- its big job for your agency thank you so much for your time today.