The Duncan Banner

Local News

July 3, 2013

Western wildfires' size, intensity and impact are increasing, experts say

(Continued)

United States — Just days before the fatal fire in Yarnell, Ariz., a group of Western senators raised alarms after the Obama administration proposed sharp cuts to fire-prevention programs.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, noted that the Forest Service had repeatedly cut fire- prevention efforts such as clearing underbrush in national forests, only to spend massive amounts battling the destructive fires that result each year - money often intended for other uses.

"When the budgeted amount is insufficient, the agency continues to suppress fires by reallocating funds from other non-fire programs," the lawmakers wrote to Obama's budget director, among other Cabinet members. "This approach to paying for firefighting is nonsensical and further increases wildland fire costs.

Climate change expert Michael Crimmins of the University of Arizona said he and his colleagues are trying to analyze what happened in Yarnell and what might have been done to prevent such a disaster.

"The Yarnell Fire was a really rare combination of several different factors that you often don't see here in the Southwest that made it particularly tragic," Crimmins said, citing drought effects, record-high heat and the brimming thunderstorm season.

Thunderstorms usually bring relief in terms of wildfires, but in this case, they brought lightning - which sparked the fire - and chaotic, strong winds that changed the spread of the fire in unpredictable ways.

But in other ways, the Yarnell fire might be further evidence of a new normal. The National Interagency Coordination Center, comprised of representatives from various federal agencies, said that nearly two dozen other uncontained wildfires are burning throughout the country this week. Experts say fire seasons are starting earlier and ending later than in the past.

Michael Kodas, who is writing a book about the global increase in wildfires, said there's only so much humans can do to intervene. He said the century-old practice of trying to fight all wildfires has left large swaths of land more flammable than ever, crowded with trees and undergrowth ready to act as fuel.

Text Only
Local News
  • Duncan’s dead animals to be sold for science

    The City of Duncan has found what it believes is a positive way to handle the disposal of all the dogs and cats it euthanizes.
    It sells their carcasses to science.
    The practice, which has been going on for about five years now, not only furthers the cause of educational science, but provides some money for the cash-strapped Duncan’s general fund.

    July 27, 2014

  • 7-27 Academy.jpg Prisons expand their reach to train new officers

    Joshua Drake once was offered the chance to be a corrections officer but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his wife and aging parents for six weeks to train hundreds of miles away in El Reno.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cable ONE starts lineup changes

      Cable One, the cable TV service provider for Duncan and Marlow, will begin a series of changes in its channel lineup on Aug. 5, the company said.
        The cable service is changing to an all digital format that will enable customers with an HDTV to see high definition programs in true high defnition.

    July 27, 2014

  • Tax-free weekend begins Friday

    It’s been seven years since Oklahoma legislators passed the tax-free holiday to keep shoppers in Oklahoma.
    Beginning at midnight Friday, the tax-free weekend returns to Oklahoma and is set to conclude at midnight Aug. 3. The Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry hopes Duncan retailers will benefit from the three-day event.

    July 27, 2014

  • Murder trial postponed until January

      The impending trial of Miles Bench, who faces a possible death penalty in the slaying of a Velma teen-ager, has been postponed until January.
      District Judge Joe Enos granted the continuance at the request of Bench’s attorneys, District Attorney Jason Hicks said Saturday.

    July 27, 2014

  • Masses give unaccompanied children a taste of home

    The services have all the elements of a typical Sunday Mass — singing, scripture, a sermon, prayers, communion and worship.
    But the weekly Masses celebrated by Fathers Philip Seeton and Nerio Espinoza since the end of June are unique for their location, at Fort Sill, and their congregants, who are hundreds of Hispanic children hungry for the familiarity of their Catholic faith.

    July 27, 2014

  • 7-25 Marlow Gas.jpg Church ministry to host $1-per-gallon gas event on Saturday

    Hop & Sack Grocery should be hopping on Saturday morning.
       The annual gas buydown project, a ministry of Marlow’s First Baptist Church, will begin at 8 a.m. and last until noon on Saturday.
     The church will buy down the price of gas so customers will pay only $1 per gallon for up to 20 gallons.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • 7-25 Chance Anderson.jpg Homegrown Marlow singer returns for free concert

        Marlow native Chance Anderson brought his  band to  Marlow’s downtown stage Thursday evening for the second of three community concerts of the summer.
     Free hot dogs and drinks were served to about 150 people who gathered for the music.
        Jason McPherson, city administrator, said he was proud of the turnout, especially with the raging heat.

    July 25, 2014 4 Photos

  • Red Cross notes importance of local participation

    July 25, 2014

  • 7-25 National Day of the Cowboy 0013.jpg National Day of the Cowboy kicks off Saturday

    The annual National Day of the Cowboy will kick off at 10 a.m. Saturday at The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center.
    The theme is centered around Native American culture and will be showcased through a variety of different activites, specifically the ongoing Allan Houser Exhibition.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo