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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Jul 2009 contains 9 News Articles.

Bobcats prey on smaller cousins in subdivision in Southlake and Colleyville
Northeast Tarrant - 30 Jul 2009
It happened every morning without fail: Jim Dawson put on his coffee, and his three cats, Bruno, Dot and Missy, came running in to receive a treat. So when Bruno didn’t come through the pet door one day last week, Dawson said he knew something had happened.

DOE and USDA Award $6.3M for Genomics-Enabled Biofuels Research
Green Car Congress - 23 Jul 2009
The US Departments of Energy and Agriculture jointly selected seven projects for awards of up to $6.3 million towards fundamental genomics-enabled research leading to the improved use of plant feedstocks for biofuel production. These grants will be awarded under a joint DOE-USDA program begun in 2006 that is committed to fundamental research in biomass genomics, providing the scientific foundation to facilitate use of lignocellulosic materials for bioenergy and biofuels. (Earlier post.) DOE will provide $4 million in funding for four projects, while USDA will award $2.3 million to fund three projects. Initial funding will support research projects for up to three years.

Senate Agriculture Panel Begins to Stake Its Claim in Climate Bill
The New York Times - 20 Jul 2009
Members of the Senate Agriculture Committee will vet options this week for the sweeping energy and climate bill, which they are expected to play a significant role in shaping. The panel will have a hearing Wednesday to explore the role for agriculture and forestry in climate change legislation. They are scheduled to hear from two major farm groups on opposing sides of the debate and question senior Obama administration officials: Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson and White House Office of Science and Technology Director John Holdren. The hearing comes as senators consider their options for a massive cap-and-trade measure expected after the August recess. Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer, who is heading up the effort, says the measure the House passed last month, H.R. 2454, will serve as her basis for a bill.

Bioenergy crops likely to be more invasive
European Commission, Environment DG - 11 Jul 2009
Whilst there is interest in bioenergy as a renewable alternative to fossil fuels, there is also concern about its environmental impact. A recent study demonstrates that potential bioenergy crops in Hawaii are 2 to 4 times more likely to be invasive than other plants. The EU climate action and renewable energy package has set a target of increasing the share of renewables in energy use to 20 per cent by 2020 which includes a minimum 10 per cent share for renewable energy in transport by 20201. The package sets out sustainability criteria for biofuels to ensure they deliver real environmental benefits. It is therefore important to establish methods to assess the environmental profile of a bioenergy crop before it is introduced to an area or planted extensively. Invasive species raise concerns for biodiversity at both a European and global level and is a major policy issue2. To date, no study has quantified the invasiveness of bioenergy crops. This study adapted an established tool called the Weed Risk Assessment (WRA) for use in Hawaii and the Pacific regions. The WRA mitigates the impacts of intentional plant introductions. The research compared the risks of invasion of a list of 40 bioenergy crops that have been proposed for Hawaii to a random sample of 40 non-bioenergy plants that have already been introduced. The research is valid for all areas with tropical and subtropical ecosystems.

Forest Service Awards Money to Get More Kids in the Woods
NAZ Today - 9 Jul 2009
As part of its effort to get more kids out of the house and in the woods, the U.S. Forest Service is awarding $50,000 to be split among seven northern Arizona programs which have partnered with the Coconino and Kaibab National forests, and Rocky Mountain Research Station-Flagstaff Lab. The funds are being awarded to partners of More Kids in the Northern Arizona Woods, one of 17 proposals selected nationwide for funding. The Forest Service received 197 proposals and awarded a total of $500,000.

First Detailed Look At Progress Of A Wildland-urban Fire
Science Daily - 4 Jul 2009
A wildfire rages across southern California wildlands towards residential communities, endangering residents and firefighters and sending property up in smoke. This is an increasingly common story, occurring several times a summer. To better understand these Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) fires and how best to prevent or fight them, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have issued an in-depth study on fire behavior and defensive actions taken in a community during a such a fire. WUI fires are becoming more prevalent as housing developments push into former wilderness areas. Drought is believed to also be a major contributor to larger wildfires. In addition to southern California, WUI fires also burn across the southern United States and in countries such as Australia, Greece, Italy and Spain. Little research has been conducted on understanding WUI fire behavior and on the effectiveness of current risk mitigation strategies.

Smuggler trees take flight before the pine beetles do
The Aspen Times - 2 Jul 2009
Aspenites were shut out of their Smuggler Mountain stomping grounds Thursday, but treated to the spectacle of huge trees dangling from a cable, pulled aloft by a helicopter as part of an experimental effort to slow the spread of the mountain pine beetle. Pitkin County and city of Aspen trail rangers closed off access to the mountain from Smuggler Mountain Road and various trails until late afternoon, while the felled trees swung over the forest canopy. The pilot deftly retrieved a tree about every two minutes from various spots at mid-mountain, where 202 lodgepole pines infested with beetle larvae were felled by loggers earlier in the week and painted with blaze orange to help the pilot spot them from above. Originally, rangers hoped to keep the lower mile of Smuggler Mountain Road open for hikers and mountain bikers, but the fuel truck for the helicopter couldn't make it up the road, said Gary Tennenbaum, land steward for the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails program.

Lessen The Impact of Climate Change - Go Native
Foster Folly News - 1 Jul 2009
Florida's sometimes fragile ecosystems are poised on a balance beam as a growing population and changing climate challenge wildlife managers. Florida's environment complicates the issues, because it is a welcoming host to invasive plant species. It also covers two climate zones - subtropical and temperate, allowing some invasive species to invade other regions with impunity. According to a 2006 report from the U.S. Geological Survey on invasive species and climate change,

U.S. Forest Service disagrees with study on thinning
Great Falls Tribune - 1 Jul 2009
National Fire Director Tom Harbour said Friday that by its count 43 percent of the 10.8 million acres treated by federal agencies in recent years was in and around communities threatened by wildfire. That compares to 11 percent of 7.4 million acres in a study based on a federal database published earlier this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Congress called for 50 percent as part of the Healthy Forest Restoration Act of 2002. Harbor said he could not explain the differences in numbers, but added that thinning directly around rural communities is not enough to effectively combat wildfire, when forests throughout the nation face high risks of burning from a buildup of fuels from a century of trying to put out all wildfires.