Safety Matters

Photo taken by a GMIHC member on two-track road early on June 30, 2013 during test-fire operations.
Photo taken by a GMIHC member on two-track road early on June 30, 2013 during test-fire operations.

At the end of last year, I had the privilege of working with Wildland Fire Associates on a report. It was just one small report. All I did was spruce up their graphics and provided a map. I also helped out a bit with the editing.

Regardless of how little I contributed, the report content made me feel as if I was participating on something significant. I approached the project with humility and respect.

Based on that report’s findings, on December 4th, 2013, the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health (ADOSH) issued several citations to the Arizona State Forestry Division (ASFD) for events that led to the deaths of 19 firefighters on the Yarnell Hill Fire in June 2013.

On the Yarnell Hill Fire, a series of very unfortunate incidents and rapid-fire decisions put lives in danger – as they do in every wildland fire incident. However, how we approach each new challenge determines if that danger will be safely mitigated.

In an attempt to keep the national conversation on safety issues and in response to the Yarnell Hill Fire catastrophe, Wildland Fire Associates has created a Facebook page to focus on meaningful changes in firefighter safety.

Whether you agree with ADOSH’s decision to cite ASFD, and whether or not those citations will elicit changes in the fire fighting community, talking about what safety issues we need to address will guide us all towards a safer future. If you are a wildland firefighter, please join us at Safety Matters: A Wildland Firefighter Forum for Change.

Sonoma Land Trust

What better way to learn about the place you live than volunteering for a local non-profit?

Late last year, I did just that with the Sonoma Land Trust. While cleaning up an illegal Cannabis farm, I discovered yet another great location in Sonoma County – the Laugenburg Ranch near Calistoga. While there, I and my fellow volunteers also helped to clean up the remains of a previous tree planting effort. It was satisfying to help out and learn more about this great county I’ve adopted as my new home.

The farm is not open to the public, but they do occasional guided walks. You can join the Sonoma Land Trust’s email newsletter and find out when you might get a chance to view a special place in our community.

If you’d rather not get your hands dirty or take a walk in the woods, there’s a great benefit concert coming up on Feb 14th, 2014:

kitaroThe concert by Kitaro will help out three great organizations: Sonoma Land Trust, Santa Rosa Symphony and Everybody is a Star Foundation. You can buy tickets here.


Published Map

As a long time on/off member of the Bay Area Automated Mapping Association (BAAMA), I always thought it would be pretty cool to get a map of mine into their journal.

Of course, it would have helped if I entered anything.

At last, I did.

My map titled Federally Regulated Biological Resources in Alameda County is available in the journal’s new online website.

The map presented there was a re-designed poster-sized map of several maps designed to fit on an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper, like this one:

federally_regulated_14mapRENUMThough, I think the poster-sized one I submitted to the BAAMA Journal looks and reads better, but even that one I’d change and correct a lot of things that I didn’t notice until it was submitted. That’s always the way of it, huh?

Anyway, I’ll be sure to submit again next year. It was exciting and a challenge to participate.