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 2009 contains 13 News Articles.

Video: Smokey Bear Celebrates his 65th Birthday and Returns to Remind Americans... 'Only You Can Prevent Wildfires'
PRNewswire - 30 Jun 2009
WASHINGTON, June 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Advertising Council joined today with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters to launch a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) designed to celebrate Smokey Bear's 65th birthday and provide critical information to Americans about wildfire prevention. The television, radio, print and online PSAs are being distributed prior to the July 4th holiday, a time when many people go camping, have outdoor BBQs and light fireworks.

Beetles add new dynamic to forest fire control efforts
The New York Times - 27 Jun 2009
Summer fire seasons in the great forests of the West have always hinged on elements of chance: a heat wave in August, a random lightning strike, a passing storm front that whips a small fire into an inferno or dampens it with cooling rain. But tiny bark beetles, munching and killing pine trees by the millions from Colorado to Canada, are now increasingly adding their own new dynamic. As the height of summer fire season approaches, more than seven million acres of forest in the United States have been declared all but dead, throwing a swath of land bigger than Massachusetts into a kind of fire-cycle purgatory that forestry officials admit they do not yet have a good handle on for fire prediction or assessment. Dead trees, depending on how recently they died, may be much more flammable than living trees, or slightly more flammable, or even for a certain period less flammable. The only certainties are that dead forests are growing in size and scale — 22 million more acres are expected to die over the next 15 years — and that foresters, like the fire-tower lookouts of old, are keeping their eyes peeled and their fingers crossed.

Cast out of Weston, black bear makes his way back east
The Palm Beach Post - 24 Jun 2009
WELLINGTON -- He made a long trip on foot for a belly full of palmetto berries. After being sent from Weston last month to a forest in Collier County, a black bear made the long trip back, finding himself 40 miles to the north in Palm Beach County and winding up with tranquilizer darts in his legs and one shoulder. Almost 24 hours after setting a trap to catch a bear that Wellington residents had reported seeing since Sunday, wildlife officials Wednesday sedated and captured him in bushes near a canal along Southern Boulevard, next to Palms West Hospital. The 300-pound bear had gotten himself into trouble barely a month ago, when he wandered into Weston. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials captured and tagged him on May 31, when they found him at Royal Palm and Bonaventure boulevards, and moved him to the Picayune Strand State Forest in Collier County. But that didn't turn out to be much of a deterrent. So this time he will be taken to the Osceola National Forest -- near the rural Georgia border. ''Unfortunately, the bear kept getting himself in kind of awkward places,'' said Mike Orlando, the wildlife commission's assistant bear program coordinator. Black bears, a threatened species that numbers 2,500 to 3,000 in Florida, tend to retreat from urban settings after stumbling into them. They are instinctively wary of humans, and despite their intimidating size and speed, not particularly aggressive.

Putting A Financial Spin On Global Warming
National Public Radio - 24 Jun 2009
Climate change is a potential environmental disaster - but it's also potentially an economic opportunity. President Obama spoke of it in economic terms Tuesday when he urged the House of Representatives to pass legislation that would address global warming.

Obama calls on Democrats to back
Business Green - 24 Jun 2009
Capitol Hill officials are cautiously optimistic the Waxman-Markey climate change bill will be passed by the House of Representatives this Friday, after President Obama used a press conference to call on wavering Democrats to back the controversial legislation. Praising the

Trade and Climate Change
Council on Foreign Relations - 22 Jun 2009
The American Clean Energy and Security Act would be an important step forward in confronting climate change. But as it works its way through Congress there is still much that can be improved. The bill's approach to helping vulnerable U.S. industries through the transition to a low-carbon economy is particularly problematic: In pursuit of a sensible goal, Congress is taking steps other nations could see as protectionist. The flaws aren't reason to reject the legislation. But Congress should be careful, in addressing climate change, to avoid undermining the global trade regime. Concerns about the possible competitive impact of climate regulations have been grossly exaggerated. The macroeconomic impact of smart climate policy will likely be small, meaning that robust U.S. economic growth will still be able to power a vibrant and internationally competitive economy. Most companies will see at most limited changes in how they function day to day. Nonetheless, industries that use lots of energy and whose goods are traded globally have some reason to be nervous about a cap-and-trade system. High carbon prices could tilt the competitive playing field in areas like steel, aluminum, cement, and chemicals toward unregulated (or less regulated) competitors abroad. The climate bill, known as Waxman-Markey, addresses that by providing rebates to firms in those sectors to blunt the cost. That approach is, in principle, reasonable. It would cushion the blow for trade-exposed heavy industry while maintaining the integrity of a U.S. emissions cap. But the devil is in the details--and the current bill gets the details wrong.

Cutting CO2 emissions from existing coal plants
Massachusetts Institute of Technology - 22 Jun 2009
Professor Ernest Moniz, director of the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and former undersecretary of the US Department of Energy, has unveiled a report on reducing carbon dioxide emissions from existing coal plants. The report is based on the findings of a major MIT symposium on retrofitting coal-fired power plants, and identifies a range of possible next steps for the consideration of policy makers, industry and others engaged in CO2 emissions mitigation. 'There is no credible pathway toward prudent greenhouse gas stabilization targets without CO2 emissions reduction from existing coal power plants. We urgently need technology options for these plants and policies that incentivize implementation,' Moniz said. 'We may not see a strong CO2 price signal for many years. In the interim, we need a large, focused, federal program to develop and demonstrate commercial-scale technologies.' The focus of the March 2009 symposium was the retrofitting of existing pulverized coal plants with the capture of CO2 from flue gases after coal is combusted, or post-combustion capture technology. Participants also identified a range of additional technology options for cutting CO2 emissions, including efficiency retrofits, co-firing of coal plants with low-carbon fuels, rebuilding existing subcritical units to ultra-supercritical units with capture, more extensive rebuilds such as oxy-combustion or Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle with capture, poly-generation, and the repowering of existing boilers with alternative fuels such as biomass or natural gas. Moniz was joined at the announcement by Wayne Leonard, chairman and CEO of Entergy Corporation, who co-chaired the MIT symposium. Leonard spoke about the core issue for existing plants, noting that they will continue to operate for decades, even as industry turns to carbon-free electric power-generating technologies. 'Once built, coal plants are, in most cases, the cheapest source of base load power generation and will not be phased out absent very high CO2 prices,' Leonard said. 'It's basic economics.'

Fire danger growing, caution urged
Montgomery County News - 19 Jun 2009
Fire Marshal Jimmy Williams says higher temperatures earlier than normal are causing drought conditions in Montgomery County that are typical of July and August. In a press conference on Thursday, Williams warned of fire related injuries and wildfires and said by the time fireworks go on sale for Independence Day, some aerial kinds will likely be banned because of the drought. In addition to above average heat and below average precipitation, heavier than average rains in the spring created more foliage, which is now become dry and creating more fuel. Williams said the drought level is predicted to be “extreme” by July 4. “It appears there’ll be no break for a few weeks,” he said. “It’ll only get worse before it gets better, so prepare now.” Williams said during the past week, three serious injuries have occurred as a result of outdoor burning. Those injured ranged in age from eight to 56 years. He and Texas Forest Service Fire Prevention Specialist Mahlon Hammetter, along with TFS District Forester John Warner cautioned county residents of the increased fire dangers in urban wildlife interface areas.

Dine & dash: Bear enters Granby-area home through dog door
Sky-Hi Daily News - 16 Jun 2009
A Granby-area family endured an unwanted dinner guest for about 10 minutes Sunday night when a bear entered their mud room through a dog door.

Study: Western fire-prevention efforts leave homes at risk
The Arizona Republic - 9 Jun 2009
Federal land managers focus too many of their wildfire-prevention efforts in remote forests and rangelands miles from homes and businesses at a time when more people are moving to the areas most at risk, according to a new report released Monday. Just 3 percent of more than 44,000 fire-prevention projects undertaken from 2004 through 2008 occurred in and around towns along the edges of wildlands, according to researchers at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Even with a wider buffer of about 1.5 miles around the towns, the work performed - mostly fuel-reduction efforts such as tree thinning, brush removal and controlled burns - still accounted for only 11 percent of the total projects across the West. That leaves communities exposed to wildfires that, between 2002 and 2006, burned more than 10,000 homes and other structures, according to the study, which was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Bioenergy in the balance in the climate bill debate
National Resources Defense Capital, NRDC - 9 Jun 2009
As often as deforestation is decried as a driver of global climate change, it's hard to believe that anyone would propose more deforestation as part of a climate bill. But that's what is about to happen in the House of Representatives as the Agriculture Committee takes a whack at the Waxman-Markey climate bill. Part of what's at stake is what type of bioenergy--including transportation biofuels and electricity-producing biomass--the government supports. The Waxman-Markey bill, in its current version, does something very important. It includes a set of biomass safeguards to ensure the federal government does not incentivize deforestation, destruction of protected federal forest lands, and increased global warming from biomass. Furthermore, it doesn't mess with the carefully constructed GHG standards established as part of the renewable fuel stnadard. (For more the safeguards and standards, see this factsheet.)

Obama budget boosts U.S. Forest Service
The Bemidji Pioneer - 5 Jun 2009
President Barack Obama's 2010 budget would boost U.S. Forest Service funding by 8.9 percent. While setting national priorities that acts to save and create new jobs, and lay a new foundation for growth, it also anticipates a slight decrease in timber harvested from national forests. Obama's budget proposal boosts USFS funding to $5.23 billion, and eliminates $71.3 million in congressional earmarks from the request. It also projects timber harvest at 1,984,000 million board feet, down from 2,049,000 mmbf actually harvested in 2008 but up from 1.9 million mmbf enacted for 2009.

Ethanol Test For Obama On Climate Change
The Chief Engineer - 3 Jun 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's commitment to take on climate change and put science over politics is about to be tested as his administration faces a politically sensitive question about the widespread use of ethanol: Does it help or hurt the fight against global warming? The Environmental Protection Agency is close to proposing ethanol standards. But two years ago, when Congress ordered a huge increase in ethanol use, lawmakers also told the agency to show that ethanol would produce less pollution linked to global warming than would gasoline. So how will the EPA define greenhouse gas emissions from ethanol production and use? Given the political clout of farm interests, will the science conflict with the politics?