BLM California News.Bytes Issue 916

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news bytes - bureau of land management californiaField of wildflowers on a hillside with oak trees.

Cache Creek, Ukiah Field Office - Photo by Chris Lloyd, BLM
2020 Photo Contest Submission

ISSUE 916- August 21, 2020

Wildland Fire & Fuels Management

Smoke hovering over the Pacific Ocean

Lightning-sparked wildfires burn throughout California

Dozens of large fires have burned hundreds of thousands of acres this week from lightning-sparked fires across the state. On BLM-managed lands there are two large fires in NE California where fire crews are actively engaging in fire suppression. Follow us on social media for the latest fire updates on Facebook or Twitter!

Aircraft dropping fire retardant.

BLM-CA provides interagency support to the El Dorado National Forest

Two Single-Engine Air Tankers (SEAT’s) contracted by Bureau of Land Management California and based out of Rogers Field in Chester, were tasked to assist and provide interagency aviation support to the El Dorado National Forest (ENF) by dropping retardant on the Margaret Fire which was caused by lightning. This was the first time these SEAT’s had ever dropped retardant on the ENF. (BLM CA Facebook)

Fire consuming trees and a sign.

COVID-19 could threaten firefighters as wildfire season ramps up

The number of acres burned so far this year is below the 10-year average, but the fire outlook for August is above average in nine states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Twenty-two large fires ignited on Aug. 17 alone after lightning storms passed through the Northwest, and two days later, California declared a state of emergency due to uncontrolled wildfires. (TIME)

Graphic that says PL5 with fire in the background

National Preparedness level elevated

The National Preparedness level was raised to PL5 which is the highest level of wildland fire activity. Several geographic areas are experiencing large, complex wildland fire incidents, which have the potential to exhaust national wildland firefighting resources. At least 80 percent of the country’s IMTs and wildland firefighting personnel are currently committed to wildland fire incidents. At this level, all fire-qualified employees become available for wildfire response.(BLM CA Facebook)

Smokey air over a road

Keep your family safe from wildfire smoke

Current smoke conditions around the state continue to worsen as wildfires continue to burn during this heat wave. For some helpful tips to reduce health risks in areas with wildfire smoke, please check out these helpful tips.

For local air quality conditions, please visit AirNow.

Firefighters walking along a fire line.

For the latest info on current wildfires in CA, visit these helpful websites:

- Inciweb 
- Cal Fire
- National Fire Situational Awareness Tool 

Remember to also follow on social media your local fire units for updates specific to your area and heed all evacuation warning & orders.

Recreation and Public Access

Fire burning on a hillside.

Temporary emergency closures issued for two BLM Monuments due to wildfires

Due to current wildfire danger, the Bureau of Land Management has issued a temporary emergency closure for some of the BLM-managed public lands within and adjacent to the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument in Lake and Napa counties as well as the Ft. Ord National Monument in Monterey County.

For all closures & fire restrictions, please visit BLM-CA's website.

Many people camping at a campground.

National forests packed: Here are some outdoor tips for restless visitors

With many parks, forests and recreation sites currently seeing three-times the visitors, it is important to remember to #RecreateResponsibly when enjoying your public lands. Watch this short news clip to see what you can do to reduce waste and wildfire risk! (KCRA News)

Graphic that says Don't drive or park on dry grass.

Be fire safe - Do your part!

Your engine exhaust pipe or a spark from a trailer chain can cause a wildland fire, putting firefighters, other visitors, and communities at risk. Take the time to check your chain and don’t park on dry grass! For more vehicle safety tips, visit Ready for Wildfire.

An info-graphic about recreating outdoors during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Practice social distancing outdoors

Outdoor activities can provide many health benefits when practiced safely. We recommend visiting areas close to home while avoiding very popular or crowded locations where social distancing may be difficult and limiting group activities to members of your household. Do your part when visiting public lands. (BLM CA Website)

Headlines & Highlights

Person in dry suit holding a turtle in a river.

Not your average BLM job!

When people think of the tasks assigned to Bureau of Land Management resource management specialists, snorkeling probably does not come to mind. But it was all in a days work for our Redding Field Office wildlife technicians recently, as they worked on a project to survey and document fresh water mussels on the wild and scenic Trinity River in Trinity County, CA. 

Our folks were working with partners from the U.S. Forest Service and Trinity River Restoration Project to conduct the first-ever mussel survey on the river, documenting abundance and distribution of the special-status species.🐢 This work will provide important data for planning river restoration projects. (BLM CA Facebook)

Photo of the earth with weather patterns.

Wildfire smoke between a swirling low & a major hurricane

Check out this satellite imagery by GOES-West of the Earth that shows the current wildfire smoke and the other weather patterns affecting California wildfires.

Woman taking a photo standing in a field of wildflowers.

Calling all photographers who enjoy public lands!

Have you heard about the Federal recreation lands photo contest? Share your best photos from any BLM monument or recreation site, National Parks or Forests. The contest has some amazing prizes, including cash! Think you have what it takes to win? For full details visit the Share the Experience website.

Current Fire Restrictions

Graphic saying Current Fire Restrictions

BLM California has issued season fire restrictions due to increased wildland fire danger in the state. Here’s an interactive MAP showing all current fire restrictions. Be sure to bookmark it for future use!

Specific BLM Field Office Fire Restrictions:

BLM CA issues statewide Fire Prevention Order

Northern California District:
BLM Arcata Field Office
BLM Eagle Lake & Applegate Field Offices
BLM Redding Field Office

Central California District:
BLM Bakersfield Field Office
BLM Bishop Field Office
BLM Central Coast Field Office
BLM Mother Lode Field Office
BLM Ukiah Field Office

BLM California Desert District
BLM initiates Whitewater Canyon closure due to increased wildfire risk

Map showing the July fire outlook

Wildland fire outlook

Check out the latest #WildlandFireOutlook! Available here. (BLM Fire Facebook)

BLM & DOI Highlights

Man fishing in a lake.

Secretary Bernhardt announces historic expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities on public lands

Continuing the Trump Administration’s unprecedented efforts to increase recreational access on public lands, U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt announced today at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge the historic opening and expansion of over 850 hunting and fishing opportunities across more than 2.3 million acres at 147 national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries. This rule is the single largest expansion of hunting and fishing opportunities by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in history. (DOI News Release)

Snowcapped mountain with green fields in the foreground.

Trump administration finalizes plan to open up Alaska wildlife refuge to drilling 

The Trump administration announced Monday it would open up 1.5 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil and gas drilling. A document signed by Interior Secretary David Bernhardt would open up the entire 1.56 million-acre area of the refuge’s Coastal Plain. The whole refuge is 19.3 million acres. The administration argues the decision will lead to jobs, but green groups and opponents for years have warned of a devastating environmental effect from opening up the area to drilling. (The Hill)

Horses standing in a corral.

The BLM expands off-range holding capacity for excess wild horses and burros with four new corral contracts

In support of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) mission to sustainably manage wild horses and burros on public rangelands, the agency announced today that is has completed the necessary environmental analyses to award contracts for three new and one expanded off-range corral facilities in the states of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. (BLM News Release)

Secretary Bernhardt

Harnessing Arctic energy for a secure, prosperous future

In April of 1987, after six years of energy and environmental study, former Secretary of the Interior Donald Hodel recommended to Congress that the so called “coastal plain” of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) should be available for oil and gas exploration, development and transportation. Congress had created the 19.3 million-acre ANWR in 1980, setting aside 8% of the refuge, a 1.6 million-acre area along the Arctic Ocean Beaufort Sea coast, for study of its energy potential. Secretary Hodel’s recommendations were never implemented. (DOI News Release)

People standing and sitting behind a table after signing a pledge.

Secretary Bernhardt highlights outdoor recreation and RV manufacturers signing the Pledge to America's Workers

U.S. Secretary of the Interior David L. Bernhardt was joined by U.S. Senator Todd Young and U.S. Congresswoman Jackie Walorski (IN-02) as they highlighted the importance of outdoor recreation and the resurgence of the American economy during a visit to East to West RV. (DOI News Release)

Question of the Week - Wildlife

Two turtles sitting on a log

Besides raising their body temperature, why do Western Pond Turtles like to bask in the sun?

1. To work on their tan

2. To get in a good nap

3. To ponder the meaning of life

4. To rid themselves of parasites

Keep scrolling to find the answer.

Upcoming Events

Mining claim

Public land mining claim fees and waivers are due to BLM by September 1st

Public land mining claim fees and waivers are due by September 1st. Claimants who wish to retain their existing mining claims on federal public lands through the 2021 assessment year must pay a maintenance fee or file a Maintenance Fee Waiver Certification (Small Miner’s Waiver) on or before the deadline to prevent the mining claim from being declared forfeit and void. For full details please read the news release.

Question of the Week Answer

The answer is 4! Hanging out in the sun helps these turtles produce vitamin D, an essential nutrient for healthy living. Certain artificial lighting can help the body synthesize vitamin D. however, basking can also help relieve an animal of ectoparasites, the scientific term for harmful organism’s on the outside of an animal. Leeches are a blood-sucking ectoparasite that can cause anemia in reptiles. Drying out in the sun causes the leeches to shrivel up and die. Algae on basking aquatic turtles can also dry out and fall off, allowing the shells to retain their aerodynamic nature.

Sources: Nature Mapping The Super Fins