Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

January 12, 2012

Potentially “catastrophic wildfire season”

Filed under: Budgets and Spending,Catastrophes — by Philip J. Palin on January 12, 2012

FROM TODAY’S WALL STREET JOURNAL:

California is gearing up for what officials say could be a catastrophic wildfire season following what so far has been one of the driest winters on record.

Hundreds of wildfires have broken out in what is typically a season with few fires, forcing fire officials to add staff. An unexpectedly busy wildfire season starting in the spring could worsen California’s budget woes, with its deficit for the next fiscal year projected at $9.2 billion.  MORE

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4 Comments »

Comment by Alan Wolfe

January 12, 2012 @ 7:38 pm

More tough decisions – should DHS focus on natural disasters or on terrorist WMD incidents? So hard to decide.

Comment by Bruce Martin

January 12, 2012 @ 10:42 pm

These predictive products are in some ways a federal wild land fire service fusion center product (for an intro see http://bit.ly/wpliR8). Not perfect, but helpful enough to make resource use decisions.

Why should this be a DHS problem? Is flooding response, pandemics, earthquakes a DHS problem absent Fema’s role? We have some institutions already designed, funded and staffed for prevention and responses to these categories of disasters. Fema’s role emerges as the scale increases. ESFs already call out lead agencies. DHS should focus its efforts on prevention, info/intel fusion, pertinent training, education and R & D not funded elsewhere. Perhaps areas of potential disaster potential or black swan scenarios not already addressed, and yes terrorism/WMDs … Unless the FBI or State Dept want to help.

Power diffused in the hands of the many does have its drawbacks.

Comment by William R. Cumming

January 12, 2012 @ 11:57 pm

FEMA and DHS have almost nothing to do with wildland/urban fire interface issues including prevention, mitigation, response and recovery. Documented by GAO in several excellent reports over three decades.

By the way did you know that DoD has over 50,000 civilian firefighters all eligible for 20 and out retirements?

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