June 28 Digest: This Week in Wildfire Recovery News

This is a digest of selected news and media that emerged over the last week related to wildfire emergencies, recovery efforts, and resilience building efforts in the American West. 

The Government Set a Colossal Wildfire. What Are Victims Owed?

From New York Times, by Simon Romero | June 20, 2022

Calf Canyon/Hermit’s Peak blaze, now ranks as the largest wildfire in New Mexico’s recorded history, and it was sparked from a Forest Service controlled burn. Now with all the loss and destruction, what does the federal government owe these fire victims who are mostly poor, underinsured and uninsured, and can our politically divided Congress approve this spending expeditiously?


Heavy rains brings relief to New Mexico wildfires

From KOB4, by Spencer Schacht | June 27, 2022

The Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire crossed a major milestone Monday and is now 92% contained after heavy rainfall helped bring relief. But these rains also brought new problems with erosion and flooding in the fire zone.


‘Mixed blessing’: Fire-plagued New Mexico faces excessive monsoon rain

From Washington Post, by Matthew Cappucci and Jason Samenow | June 21, 2022

Heavy rains in New Mexico should help the fire situation but could lead to dangerous flash flooding and landslides.


"It's a war": California turns to new, high-tech helicopters to battle wildfires

From CBS News 60 Minutes | by Bill Whitaker, June 25. 2022

The Chinook helicopter ramps up the firefighting power in California with the capacity to drop 3,000 gallons, about 10 times what most firefighting choppers drop. No bigger helicopter has ever fought fires at night. Computers control the tank's doors, opening at precise GPS points.

Marshall Fire Action Report analyzes response, improvements

CBS Denver 4, by Alan Gionet | June 22, 2022

Boulder Emergency Management prepared a 54-page After-Action Report, which looked closely at the first 12-36 hours of the Marshall Fire. The report analyzed the many agencies that responded and lists dozens of recommendations to improve response to future emergencies. Things like better communication between incident command and dispatch and improving how traffic is handled.


Louisville Residents Claiming Report on Marshall Fire Left Them Out

CBS Denver 4, by Alan Gionet | June 22, 2022

Residents of Louisville are asking for a public meeting to examine what went wrong with the emergency systems in their town, especially after the Boulder County After Action Report didn't make specific recommendations for their town's need for better systems and protocols.

‘We will be back here’: Marshall Fire victims share efforts to rebuild Boulder County home

From Times-Call, by GQLShare | June 26, 2022

This family lost everything in the Marshall Fire, and is beginning their rebuild, motivated to share with some of the need for day by day persistence to move forward and get through the difficulties encountered in recovery.

Head of California wildfire victim trust fund resigns

From Associated Press, by GQLShare | June 22, 2022

After two years in the position, John Trotter, the head of a trust established to pay billions of dollars to victims of wildfires caused by Pacific Gas & Electric equipment is resigning, even as payouts continue to slowly be administrated. He will be replaced by Cathy Yanni, who served as the fund’s claims administrator.

OPINION: Access road shouldn’t scuttle 3D housing

From Mail Tribune, Editorial | June 26, 2022

"Medford could be on the cutting edge of 3D-printed housing by next winter and provide truly affordable home ownership to Almeda fire survivors in the process — if the developer and city planners can work out their differences over an access road."

July 2 will be the first “National Wildland Firefighter Day”

From Wildfire Today, by Bill Gabbert | June 27, 2022

The newly established National Wildland Firefighter Day (July 2) recognizes the dedication of wildland firefighters, including federal, state, local, rural, contract, and support personnel. On Tuesday June 28 at 11 a.m. MDT there will be an event live-streamed on facebook announcing the designation of July 2 as National Wildland Firefighter Day.

US makes more wildfire recovery aid available for New Mexico

From Associated Press, by Susan Montoya Bryan | June 26, 2022

After heavy rains and flooding have moved through the wildfire areas of New Mexico last week, President Biden has announced that he will amend his original offer for wildfire recovery support to New Mexico by increasing the funds for debris removal.

California Towns Scramble to Prevent Next Wildfire Catastrophe

From KCET, by Larry Buhl, Capital & Main | June 24, 2022

With risk of wildfire danger high, California is investing in community preparation and mitigation efforts especially in the Wildland Urban Interface. But with so many risk factors and so many vulnerable (poor, elderly especially) how these programs are implemented will face difficult odds for success.