WUI in the News

Here you can find current news articles about wildland-urban interface issues in the U.S. and abroad. Please note that while Interface South maintains news archives for reference, the links may no longer be active. You may need to contact the source or host website for more information.

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Jun 2007 contains 11 News Articles.

Drought causing 4th of July to be dark for some
Wave 3 Lexington, Kentucky - 27 Jun 2007
It could be a quiet Fourth of July holiday for those celebrating in Daniel Boone National Forest. Forest officials have banned fireworks for 120 days because of the danger they would bring to the drought-plagued region. Anyone caught possessing or lighting fireworks will be hit with a $75 fine. It's the first time the park has banned fireworks since 1999. The forest service already bans the possession and use of fireworks in recreation areas. Professional holiday celebrations with permits will not be affected.

Why cities are uprooting trees
Time magazine - 26 Jun 2007
The broad-shouldered maple you pass without notice on your way to the office each day is part of a sprawling urban canopy that helps absorb carbon dioxide, pull particulate matter from the air, prevent floods and keep temperatures at livable levels. These days things aren't nearly that green. Tree cover from city to city has been measured by any number of studies, so direct comparisons of figures are hard, but across the country, things are trending downward. In the past few decades, Washington has lost half its tree cover; San Diego's is off about a quarter; the cover in cities in Michigan, North Carolina and Florida has fallen to about 27% of what it once was; Chicago and Philadelphia are just 16%. "Urban deforestation," says Ed Macie, an urban specialist with the U.S. Forest Service in Atlanta, "compares with what's going on in the world's rain forests."

Many unaware of fire risks when building out west
The Houston Chronicle - 26 Jun 2007
A new generation of Americans are moving to places perched on the edge of vast, undeveloped government lands in the West, are living out a dangerous experiment, many ignorant of the risk. Their migration - more than 8.6 million new homes in the West within 30 miles of a national forest since 1982, according to research at the University of Wisconsin — has coincided with profound environmental changes that have worsened the fire hazard, including years of drought, record-setting heat and forest management policies that have allowed brush and dead trees to build up.

Senators, environmentalists, forestry experts from across the nation share groundbreaking input on catastrophic storms and urban forests
eNews Channels - 20 Jun 2007
The National Urban & Community Forestry Advisory Council (NUCFAC) hosted a groundbreaking public forum in Biloxi, Mississippi on June 6, 2007 at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum and Convention Center. 'We gathered more than 40 experts and ordinary citizens from around the country to share ideas, best practices and first-person accounts about flooding in New Jersey, Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf region, ice storms in the Midwest, high winds in Washington State, devastating wildfires in Georgia and California, and other storm events,' said Joe Wilson, NUCFAC Council Chair. Representing several million consumers, registered voters and national association members, the Forum 40+ featured experts included The U.S. Forest Service, The Hawaii Urban Forest Council, Mississippi Power, The National Association of Counties, State of Alabama Emergency Management Agency, The EPA Gulf of Mexico, Seattle Department of Transportation and several congressional staffers representing Senator Trent Lott, Senator Thad Cochran and Congressman Gene Taylor.

'Water Cops' enforcing drought bans across parched southeast
NBC 13 Birmingham, AL - 18 Jun 2007
CALERA, Ala. (AP) - Calera Police Sgt. Angela Velarde is looking for wet grass and wash buckets, clues of the latest crime wave sweeping her bone-dry town. With much of the Southeast in the grip of a drought unlike any seen for generations, police are enforcing mandatory watering bans in many areas where water supplies have fallen to critical levels. Calera isn't the only city where police are spending less time looking for speeders and more time looking for waterers. Similar patrols are under way in metro Atlanta, Florida and Texas, among other dried-out locales. For Velarde, the job means driving through neighborhoods with brown grass and wilted flowers. Velarde keeps an eye out for telltale signs of watering scofflaws: grass that's damp on sunny days when watering is banned; clean cars sitting in wet driveways under cloudless skies. Officers on the "water detail" work day and night because some people in Calera -- population 11,000 -- are going to the extreme of night watering. Police write about a dozen tickets a week and have even caught homeowners sneaking outdoors to water their brown, crunchy lawns at 1 a.m. Officials said the ban has helped the city keep water in its storage tanks, which hold 7 million gallons. Nelvin Wade said she has quit watering everything but a few potted flowers at her house and her neighbors seem to have given up, too. "Everything looks brown to me," said Wade, working at a small produce stand near downtown Calera. All of Alabama and most of the Southeast is experiencing a severe drought, with rainfall deficits of as much as 20 inches for the year recorded in areas. Forecasters said a drought of such intensity occurs once every 50 to 100 years.

Nashville's railroads grow as fuel prices rise
The Tennessean - 15 Jun 2007
Rising diesel fuel prices - which make goods more expensive to ship by truck - combined with local strength in the manufacturing sector, are leading three Nashville-area short-line railroad companies to plan for growth in the second half of 2007. "With every rail car, you have eliminated three or four tractor-trailers and congestion on the highways," said Chavez, LP's director of corporate logistics. The additional business won't translate into a windfall for railroads, however, since, like trucking companies, they have to pay higher prices for diesel fuel, Drunsic said. And even as new customers have begun to ship by rail, some old customers have moved away. Nashville and Eastern, for example, lost Russell Stover as a customer when the company closed its candy factory in Cookeville last year. But Louisiana-Pacific's Chavez said the short line railroads can succeed while serving customers on branch lines that the big railroads sold off years ago.

Volunteers show they care by clearing forest of 168 tons of garbage
Orlando Sentinel - 12 Jun 2007
Toiling in oppressive heat during the weekend, volunteers who participated in the largest-ever forest cleanup hauled more than 168 tons of garbage from the woods. Workers counted 3,100 tires, 63 junked motor vehicles, and 24 abandoned boats in the 320 "major" trash piles they cleaned up with help from A.S.A.P. Tractor in Ocklawaha and Scott Wisecup Construction in Ocala. "In one sense, it was disturbing to see all the stuff [discarded in the forest], but truly amazing in another way to see all the help," Ranger Rick Lint said Monday. "At the end, I thought, 'People really do care.'

Senate committee approves tree-cutting measure
Raleigh News Observer - 12 Jun 2007
A [North Carolina] Senate committee approved a measure today that would allow billboard owners to cut more trees around their signs, over the objections of two state agencies and environmental groups. Billboard owners would be allowed to remove trees and shrubs 375 feet 250 feet in front of billboards, up from 250 feet. Removing more trees would give drivers more time to see the ads. The industry has agreed, as part of the proposal, to an increase in their annual permit fees and to increased penalties for illegal cutting. The state departments of transportation and environment and natural resources opposed the bill. The proposal comes on the heels of the state Department of Transportation discovering about 50 instances of illegal tree cutting around billboards since October, amounting to about $750,000 in lost greenery. DOT has asked the State Bureau of Investigation to look in to the illegal cutting. Discovering tree-cutting culprits is difficult because, usually, there are no eyewitnesses. Christa Wagner, lobbyist for the state's Sierra Club chapter said giving billboard owners permission to cut more trees is "a reward for bad behavior." The bill now goes to the Senate Finance committee.

First leg of Horn Lake's greenway taking shape
Memphis Commerical Appeal - 12 Jun 2007
Construction on the first leg of Horn Lake's ambitious greenway walking trail began Monday as city workers graded and shaped the first third of a mile of the trail in Latimer Lakes Park Complex. Horn Lake is located just south of Memphis, Tennessee. "We're going to start laying asphalt as soon as the bed is prepared," said Spencer "Penny" Shields, public works director. The ultimate goal of the city is a greenway with walking trails extending from the city''s 326 acres just south of Horn Lake Creek south to Church Road. Arianne Jenkins, community development director and grants writer for the city, said the construction is being paid for through a $100,000 grant from the [Mississippi] Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks.

Bald eagle soaring 'success,' but at what cost?
CNN.com - 8 Jun 2007
By Peggy Mihelich CNN The bald eagle is officially about to become a "conservation success story" for the U.S. government, which has worked for more than three decades to help the national symbol recover from habitat destruction, illegal shooting and contamination of its food source. But Kieran Suckling of the Center for Biological Diversity conservation group said this victory comes at a price -- loss of eagle habitat protection. "There is big money to be made in cutting down and developing bald eagle habitat," he said. Paul Schmidt, the Fish and Wildlife Service's assistant director for migratory birds, told CNN.com the government is confident the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act will "afford adequate protections" and the agency won't see a decline in populations after delisting.

Puerto Rico could be 'isolated for days' after a storm
South Florida Sun-Sentinel - 5 Jun 2007
Jeannette Rivera-Lyles Sentinel Staff Writer Posted June 4 2007 SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico -- Poor urban planning, overdevelopment and increased construction along the coast, coupled with an antiquated sewer system, make Puerto Rico vulnerable in an emergency.