The Morning Report

Friday, July 03, 2015

Recent Editions  

INCIDENTS



Grand Canyon National Park (AZ)
Visitors Rescued From Stuck Raft

On June 22nd, two visitors on a non-commercial river trip pinned their raft on rocks near the top of the Colorado River’s Hance Rapids. Unable to free themselves from this dangerous situation, the trip leader called for assistance. 

River Rangers Bryan Stone and Dave Loeffler were flown to the scene with an inflatable Zodiac rescue boat and attempted unsuccessfully to reach the stuck visitors. Stone was subsequently inserted onto the stuck raft via helicopter short-haul and facilitated the extrication of the visitors via short-haul. 

With reduced weight on the raft and a rising water level, the raft floated downstream the following morning after several interesting variations in the way it was pinned. 

As the flight crew was flying to Hance Rapids to assist with the raft recovery and removal of the Zodiac, they diverted to a report of a capsized dory in Crystal Rapids with two visitors sitting atop the vessel. Upon arrival at Crystal Rapids, they found that the situation had self-resolved, as the two visitors had been swept into the river and rescued by their companions.  Rangers James Thompson and Erika Andersson served as the incident commanders.  

[Submitted by Brandon Torres, Branch Chief of Emergency Services]


Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (PA)
Driver Killed By Falling Tree

Manual L. Loureiro, 31, of Bushkill, Pennsylvania, was fatally injured in a one car motor vehicle accident on Route 209 just south of the Bushkill Meeting Center around 6 a.m. yesterday.  Loureiro was traveling southbound on Route 209 when his vehicle was struck by a falling tree. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Monroe County coroner.  

Bushkill Fire Department responded to the scene within minutes, with Bushkill Ambulance, Pennsylvania State Police, and National Park Service rangers also responding.  Route 209 was closed for several hours, but has since reopened.

[Submitted by Kathleen Sandt, Public Affairs Officer]


FIRE MANAGEMENT



NIFC/NPS Fire and Aviation Management
National Fire/Incident Situation Highlights

National Fire Activity

NIFC is at PL 3. Fire activity was moderate on Wednesday, with eleven new large fires reported. Twenty-eight uncontained large fires are burning nationwide.

Current resource commitments are as follows, with the change from yesterday in parentheses:

  • 14 incident management teams (same)
  • 262 crews (down 13)
  • 9,395 firefighters and overhead (down 594)
  • 403 engines (down 51)
  • 96 helicopters (down 11)

Fire Weather Forecast

A ridge of high pressure remains over the Great Basin and will strengthen as it builds northwestward into northern California and the Pacific Northwest. Very hot temperatures will result over the western U.S. with dry and locally breezy conditions in the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies. Showers and thunderstorms will form along the western periphery of the high pressure ridge in California, the Great Basin and the central Rockies. Although some storms may produce precipitation and locally heavy rainfall, widespread wetting rain is not expected. East of the Rockies, scattered showers and thunderstorms will form along a stationary frontal boundary stretching from the southern High Plains through the Tennessee Valley. Showers and thunderstorms are expected today in Alaska, with a continuation of cool and mild weather.

A NOAA map of today’s critical fire weather areas can be found at: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/fire_wx/fwdy1.html

A NIFC webpage showing the current national significant wildland fire outlook is available at: http://www.predictiveservices.nifc.gov/outlooks/outlooks.htm

NPS Fire Summaries

Dinosaur NM – The 527-acre Ecklund Fire is now 50% contained. Full containment is expected by next Friday.

Olympic NP – The 1,060-acre Paradise Fire has grown by 35 acres and is 21% contained. It continues to creep slowly up the slope of 5,301-foot (1616m) Pelton Peak. The fire began at around the 700 foot elevation level and has now reached the 3,000-foot level. The fire is now burning on both sides of Paradise Creek through heavy fuels on the forest floor. Both the eastern and western edges of the fire are reported to be quiet, and the crews are successfully keeping it north of the Queets River. Fire and Park staff briefed U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer and several local elected officials yesterday afternoon. Information on this fire can be obtained on InciWeb athttp://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/4305/, and by calling Paradise Fire Information at 360-565-2986. For real time information, visit the Paradise Fire Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Paradise-Fire/831205013596015.

Additional Information

For additional information on all fires, check the following web sites:


NEWS AND NOTES



Fire and Aviation Management
New Research Guides Structural Firefighting Program

Change is something that most of us dread and organizations can move at a glacial speed to implement or adopt. As difficult as it may be, change is about to cast a large net over the structural firefighting profession and likely alter decade old suppression tactics used by many fire departments. Historically, the development of fire suppression strategies and tactics has primarily occurred from blood, sweat, tears, near misses, trial and error, and unfortunately the well-documented loss of life. This approach has provided the profession with many valuable tools, but has never given us the means to fully measure and understand how these approaches have actually impacted fire.

This has all changed. Over the last 10 years, scientific studies conducted by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have caused the fire service to take a thoughtful look at how we have been fighting fires and have uncovered some serious flaws and misconceptions in our strategies and tactics. Significant changes in building construction, materials, configurations, and fuel loads, which have a much higher concentration of plastics and other synthetics, all cause fires today to burn hotter and in a more volatile manner in a shorter amount of time.

Researchers have made some significant discoveries - venting is not always a life saver, water cannot push fire into other parts of the structure, and flowing water into the structure from the outside actually slows fire growth, reduces temperatures, and improves conditions throughout the structure for occupant survivability and firefighters' safety.

The International Society of Fire Service Instructors (ISFSI) has recommended that departments review and adjust their tactics and training programs to incorporate current research into their emergency response operations by cooling the fire as quickly as possible, flowing water into the structure from the outside and managing air flow paths with greater emphasis on ventilation control. In addition, the ISFSI encourages the adoption of the SLICERS acronym for a sequential action plan for the initial engine company arriving on the fire scene. SLICERS stands for sizing up the incident, locating the seat of the fire, identifying and controlling the air flow path, cooling the fire from the safest location, and extinguishing the fire. Rescue and salvage now become actions of opportunity.

Following these recommendations, the NPS is actively reviewing our existing curriculum and has incorporated many of the recommendations into our structural firefighter refresher program so that our firefighters and partners can continue to improve safety and efficiency on the fireground.   

“It is our plan to present a standardized curriculum emphasizing the lessons that come from validated research into our firefighter live fire refresher course. For the next two years, we will be implementing some lessons and field testing others to ensure that all of our firefighters are exposed to the latest tactics and knowledge to safely suppress structure fires,” reports Harold Spencer, Branch Chief for NPS Structural Fire.

Refreshers include new lectures targeting evidence-based practices for strategic and tactical firefighting, SLICERS, modern-day fire behavior, and crew staffing performance. Lectures can work well, but implementation and hands-on training is essential. New skills and tactics have been incorporated into live fire drills, enabling participants to practice and see the effects they have on fire development and suppression.

“The National Park Service, along with fire departments across the country, should always avail themselves to the latest research and analyze and adapt their tactics accordingly to make sure all firefighters go home after every shift,” reports Spencer.

Departments that have implemented these new principles have seen some incredible results. For example, the Los Angeles County Fire Department has reported a 45% decrease in firefighter injuries and a 7% decrease in property damage.

“We are a small organization compared to many fire departments, but this may be a chance for the National Park Service to be seen as a leader in the profession,” states Spencer. 

For more information on research and training, visit www.modernfirebehavior.com.

[Submitted by Mark Gorman, mark_gorman@nps.gov, (208) 387-5244]


Biological Resources Division
Publication Issued On Student Research Scholarships

The National Park Service, in partnership with the  American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), has released Opening Doors: A Best Practices Guide to National Parks Scholarship Programs.

The comprehensive guide—an outgrowth of A Call to Action Number 20, “Scholarly Pursuits”—will help create the next generation of conservation scientists and scholars by providing strategies, advice, and best practices for building scholarship programs across NPS parks and programs.

By increasing student scholarships for conducting research in NPS units, a younger generation of researchers will have the opportunity to develop the skills and expertise necessary to help overcome the challenges facing the National Park System. The national parks’ extraordinary scientific assets—ecosystems, wildlife, biodiversity, coastal geology, archeological resources—are invaluable for furthering the knowledge that will help NPS confront climate change, increase relevancy, and understand our cultural history. “Opening Doors” will cultivate the best and brightest young scientists and scholars to apply their curiosity and ingenuity to park-related challenges.

NPS employees, AAAS members, park friends groups, other scientific societies, and interested citizens should use the NPS Centennial as an opportunity to create new and expanded scholarship programs.  “Opening Doors” provides an important, timely, and practical guide to this worthy endeavor on the 100th anniversary of one of our nation’s “best ideas”—national parks. 

The guide can be found at http://nature.nps.gov/assets/docs/AAAS_guide_web.pdf.

[Submitted by Kass Hardy]


Department of the Interior
Report Details NPS Assets At Risk From Sea Level Rise

In advance of the two-year anniversary of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Secretary Jewell has released a report revealing that national park infrastructure and historic and cultural resources totaling more than $40 billion are at high risk of damage from sea-level rise caused by climate change.

Scientists from the National Park Service and Western Carolina University wrote the report after an examination of 40 parks – about one-third of those considered threatened by sea-level rise – and the survey is on-going.

“Climate change is visible at national parks across the country, but this report underscores the economic importance of cutting carbon pollution and making public lands more resilient to its dangerous impacts,” said Secretary Jewell. “Through sound science and collaboration, we will use this research to help protect some of America’s most iconic places – from the Statue of Liberty to Golden Gate and from the Redwoods to Cape Hatteras – that are at risk from climate change.”

Specific projections of sea level rise vary by site and time, but scientists expect a one meter rise in sea level to occur over the next 100 to 150 years. In some select areas of Alaska, relative sea level is decreasing because as land-based glaciers and ice sheets melt, land mass is actually rising faster than sea levels. Both phenomena make changes in sea-level a useful standard to assess vulnerability across the diversity of coastal area national parks.

“Many coastal parks already deal with threats from sea level rise and from storms that damage roads, bridges, docks, water systems and parking lots,” said Director Jarvis. “This infrastructure is essential to day-to-day park operations, but the historical and cultural resources such as lighthouses, fortifications and archaeological sites that visitors come to see are also at risk of damage or loss.”

Authors of Adapting to Climate Change in Coastal Parks: Estimating the Exposure of Park Assets to 1 m of Sea-Level Rise, examined 40 of the 118 national parks considered vulnerable to sea-level rise by NPS using data from many sources, including the USGS Coastal Vulnerability Index. The areas studied by NPS so far have included urban areas such as Gateway National Recreation Area in New York City and Golden Gate National Recreation Area in San Francisco, two of the most visited parks in the system. Results from analysis of an additional 30 coastal parks will be released later this summer.

Called “assets,” the infrastructure and historic sites, museum collections, and other cultural resources of the 40 parks were categorized as high- or limited- exposure based on exposure to risk of damage from one meter of sea level rise.

More than 39 percent of assets in this subset of parks, valued at more than $40 billion, are in the high exposure category. Low-lying barrier island parks in the NPS Southeast Region constitute the majority of the high exposure category. At Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina, the current replacement value of rebuilding lighthouses, visitor center exhibits, historic structures and other areas – all of which are rated as high-exposure assets–would be almost $1.2 billion. That value does not include billions for loss of lands and tourist income.


More than one-third of assets in the Northeast Region are in the high-exposure category. From the Statue of Liberty in New York to the landmark structures at Boston National Historic Park and Fort McHenry in Baltimore, many of these areas have great historical and cultural significance.

As the summer vacation season begins, the 10 NPS national seashores listed as at-risk on this list are popular natural beach retreats for Americans—Assateague (Md./Va.), Cape Cod (Mass.), Fire Island (N.Y.), Cape Hatteras (N.C.), Cape Lookout (N.C.), Canaveral (Fla.), Cumberland Island (Ga.), Gulf Islands (Fla./Miss.), Point Reyes (Calif.), and Padre Island (Tex.).

Although one meter of sea level rise may not seem like a lot, Jarvis explained that it would be part of a cascade of effects. “Coupled with sea level rise, big storms have that extra volume of water that can damage or destroy roads, bridges and buildings, and we saw what that looks like – again – with Hurricane Sandy in 2012,” the NPS director noted.

Many national park areas in the Northeast were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. The storm shuttered the Statue of Liberty for eight months and forced National Park Service staff to remove much of the Ellis Island museum collection when the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system was flooded with sea water. Those exhibits have yet to be returned while repairs continue.

The National Park Service lead scientist on coastal geology, Rebecca Beavers, said, “When we look back at Hurricane Sandy, a quick reassessment of the methodology in this report suggests that we were conservative in labelling an asset as ‘high exposure.’ Although reality may deal even more harsh circumstances as Sandy illustrated, information from this report provides a useful way to help determine priorities for planning within coastal parks.”

The study is available at http://go.nps.gov/coastalassets.

[Submitted by Jessica Kershaw and Jeffrey Olson]


CAREER OPPORTUNITIES



Pacific West Region
GL-0025-9 Protection Ranger (Lateral)

Dates: 06/30/2015 - 07/20/2015

Lassen Volcanic National Park is seeking applicants interested in a non-competitive lateral reassignment to a permanent protection ranger position at the GL-9 level. Incumbent will serve as a Level 1 law enforcement commissioned ranger responsible for performing law enforcement and emergency service duties including:

  • Detection, investigation, apprehension, detention, and prosecution under provisions of applicable laws, rules, and regulations enacted to insure the protection and safe use of park resources;
  • Provides emergency medical services at a minimum EMT-B level. Performs search and rescue;
  • Provides frequent overnight backcountry patrols to monitor park resources, enforce park backcountry regulations, and provide preventative search and rescue (PSAR) education to visitors and employees.
  • Recruits, trains and manages a group of up to 25 park volunteers on the Lassen Volcanic National Park Ski Patrol. Ensures patrollers are effectively accomplishing management priorities and are operating safely in a wilderness winter environment.
  • Knowledgeable on wilderness management issues; serves as a member of the park’s wilderness management steering committee providing park management with input on wilderness use and enforcement issues.  

The person in this position will serve as one of three permanent field law enforcement rangers working in the park. Work will be performed independently in a 106,372 acre federal park of exclusive and proprietary jurisdiction that receives approximately 400,000 visitors per year. Ranger staff responds to more than 400 incidents per year. 

This is a full-time permanent position. Park headquarters is in Mineral, California, located approximately 50 miles east of Red Bluff and Redding, California, and approximately 30 miles west of Chester, California. 

This position is designated as a required occupant and you must maintain residence in government owned quarters located in Mineral, California.

Relocation expenses will be paid if the selectee is from outside the local commuting area.

Candidates must currently possess a Type I NPS law enforcement commission in order to be eligible.  Applicants must also be currently certified at the EMT-Basic level, at a minimum. 

Interested individuals should email the following documents to the Human Resources Office by July 20th:

  • A resume detailing work history, supervisory experience, educational background, and any special qualifications or training they might possess. 
  • A copy of the most recent SF-50, Notification of Personnel Action showing current federal career status (Non-Award SF-50)
  • Verification of a valid NPS Law Enforcement Commission (picture omitted)
  • Copy of your current National Registry EMT-B (or higher) certification (card)
  • A copy of most recent performance appraisal
  • A list of professional and personal references, including contact info

Application packages from qualified candidates must be electronically received in the Human Resources Office by COB on July 20th. Please send application packages via email to Christine_Domingo@nps.gov.   Please list in the subject line of the email:  LAVO GL 9 LE Ranger Lateral.

For additional information about the detail and the position, please contact Ranger Operations Supervisor Ronald Martin at 530-595-6155 or Ronald_P_Martin@nps.gov

[Submitted by Ronald Martin, ronald_p_martin@nps.gov, 530-595-6155]


Glacier National Park
GS-0340-13 Administrative Officer

Glacier National Park is seeking applicants for a position as the park’s administrative officer. It closes on July 14th.

Contact Jeff Mow with questions at (406) 888-7901.
 More Information...
Intermountain Region
GS-0401-12/13 Supervisory Resources Management Specialist

Dates: 06/30/2015 - 07/14/2015

Dinosaur National Monument is seeking qualified applicants to fill a supervisory resources management specialist position. The selectee will be duty-stationed in the headquarters building in Dinosaur, Colorado. The announcement closes on July 14th.

For more information on description of duties, area information, qualifications required and how to apply, click on the link below.

If you have questions, email Tracey_Stills@NPS.GOV

TIP: Don’t forget your SF50 when applying. 

[Submitted by Tracey Stills, tracey_stills@nps.gov, 303.969-2774]

 More Information...