A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 484 - 6/8/11

a man rides an all-terrrain vehicle as flames loom high in the distance kayakers on the ocean near an island a furry western gray squirrel a man and a woman climb out of a mud pit up a dirt hill close-up of smiling man


- Wildfires and prevention
- America's Great Outdoors
- Get outdoors tip of the week
- Not for educators only: Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Wild horses and burros
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- Meet your advisory council members
- Selected upcoming events
- National BLM and Department of the Interior items
- Wildlife stories from your public land

See this issue of News.bytes online at:

Firefighters from across the U.S., including California, are battling wildfires in Arizona and Texas -- including the "second largest wildfire in Arizona history."

"Arizona fires: Wallow Fire continues to grow" (The Arizona Republic, 6/8/11)
"The fire, growing by the hour, leapt farther north Tuesday and has now consumed about 389,000 acres, with at least 11 structures burned and 588 more threatened by the flames ... The Wallow Fire is now the second-largest in Arizona history, and at zero percent containment, it has become the No. 1 firefighting priority in the nation." With related links.

a man rides an all-terrrain vehicle as flames loom high in the distancea firefighter walks across a smokey landscape colored by flames"Raging Ariz. fire now larger than size of Phoenix" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 6/8/11)
"A raging forest fire in eastern Arizona that has forced thousands from their homes headed Wednesday for a pair of transmission lines that supply electricity to hundreds of thousands of people as far east as Texas. The 607-square-mile blaze is expected to reach the power lines as early as Friday. If the lines are damaged, parts of New Mexico and Texas could face rolling blackouts." With several dozen photos of the wildfires, and of the smoke as it spreads into other states as far away as Iowa.

"Mesa first stop for out-of-state crews arriving to battle Wallow Fire" (East Valley Tribune - Tempe, Ariz., 6/7/11)
"As the massive Wallow fire burns in eastern Arizona, hundreds of firefighters from around the country are making their way here to help ... Crews that arrive from the center are given their supplies, fed and shipped by bus to the various sites...." Some crews will also help in plans to control flooding in the aftermath of the fires, as the burned ground is now subject to erosion when rainy season arrives.

a firefighter walks near a piece of construction equipment used to make fire lines"Thunderstorms help in the battle against Southeast Texas' blazes" (Beaumont, Texas Enterprise, 6/7/11)
Monday morning, firefighters in Liberty County -- including Jerry Martinez, fire management officer for BLM-California's Mother Lode Field Office -- "worried that afternoon thunderstorms would only bring a light rain while hampering their efforts ... But for at least one lightning-sparked wildfire - a 400-acre blaze in Liberty County - the downpour worked in concert with the Texas Forest Service to help put a damper on the flames."

California wildfires have kept BLM and other firefighters busy in several areas:

"Firefighters gain ground on multiple blazes"
(Bakersfield Californian, 6//6/11)
"Four wildfires have kept local firefighters" including BLM firefighters "hopping from one trouble spot to the next. The Key fire, by far the largest of the blazes at 151 acres, was 75 percent contained as of Monday evening ... Crews battled it in steep terrain that's only accessible by foot or air."

"Calif. fire spurs evacuations as another nears end" (Associated Press in San Jose Mercury News, 6/5/11)
"A wildfire driven by shifting winds surged to 350 acres Sunday near Central California's Lake Isabella, and authorities asked campers and the residents of a small mountain community to evacuate. The fire started near Keyesville some 45 miles northeast of Bakersfield and burned 350 acres of grass and brush on Bureau of Land Management property, much of it atop abandoned gold mines, Kern County Fire Department spokesman Leland Davis said."

"Fire near Lake Isabella 75 percent contained" (Ridgecrest Daily Independent, 6/6/11)
"Law-enforcement officers from the Bureau of Land Management and Forest Service are requesting help from the public in identifying a small white pick-up truck carrying an orange KTM and blue Yamaha dirt bikes. The vehicle was seen leaving the area at around the time the fire was reported. Anyone with information should contact
1-877-FIRETIP. Information can be left anonymously."

"Range shooting sparks grass fire" (Bakersfield Californian, 6/4/11)
"Approximately 30 firefighters from Kern County Fire Department and the Bureau of Land Management responded" to a grass fire near a shooting range. "The quick actions of fire crews contained the fire to approximately 7.5 acres in about 20 minutes with full mop-up of the fire completed in about an hour. The fire was determined to be caused by a hot round that was fired from a nearby rifle range."

a poster of Smokey Bear and animal friends"Woodland Hills fourth-grader triumphs in national competition - 2011 Smokey Bear & Woodsy Owl poster contest" (The San Fernando Valley Sun, 6/2/11)
"Students were asked to demonstrate through original 11-by-17 inch artwork their understanding of fire prevention and basic environmental conservation principles. Students were also asked to use in their drawings Smokey's motto -- 'Only YOU Can Prevent Wildfires' -- or Woodsy's motto' -- Lend a Hand - Care for the Land'."

"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center, NIFC)
Current wildfire information, updated Monday - Friday during wildfire season.

"InciWeb" (Incident Information System)
An "interagency all-risk incident information management system."

"Take responsibility..." (California Fire Alliance)
Protect your home. Create 100 feet of defensible space. In California, the number of homes and businesses is growing in the Wildland Urban Interface -- and fire is an increasing threat. Reduce your home's fire danger by taking responsibility today.

America's Great Outdoors logo sports snow-capped peaksAMERICA'S GREAT OUTDOORS

a low vehicle with a sail on the desert floor"Land yachts sail across Ivanpah lake bed near Las Vegas" (Las Vegas Review-Journal, 6/7/11)
"Looking across the Ivanpah Dry Lake Bed in the early summer, it doesn't look so dry. The shimmering heat creates a classic mirage, and the illusion is amplified by the sight of sails sliding along in the distance. On closer examination, what first appear to be sailboats of a fever dream are, in fact, land yachts, wheeled boats that sail the sandy seas of the desert."

a sleek land sail vehicleRELATED: "Ivanpah Dry Lake" (BLM Needles Field Office)
Ivanpah Dry Lake's expansive open spaces attract international championship land sailing competitions, archery, kite buggying, and world championship disc throwing, among other activities. Located along I-15 at the California/Nevada border near Primm, Nevada, Ivanpah Dry Lake is open for non-motorized activities only. Free permits are required to access the site for casual users. Commercial, competitive, or organized group activities require a special recreation permit.

kayakers on the ocean near an islandblack and white birds on seashore rocksGET OUTDOORS TIP OF THE WEEK ...
... watch waves explode onto offshore rocks, spraying whitewater into the air at the California Coastal National Monument. Sea lions bark as they "haul out" of the surf onto the rocks, and a whirlwind of birds fly above. The amazing rocks and small islands all along the California coastline are a spectacular interplay of land and sea.


a furry western gray squirrel
western gray squirrel
Which of the following western gray squirrel stereotypes is false?
(a.) They seem to be everywhere because their population just keeps growing.
(b.) They hide acorns underground to dig up later for food.
(c.) They sleep and nest in holes in trees.
(d.) They prefer to jump from tree to tree rather than travel on the ground.
(e.) They were the subject of the second-most-read story ever on the World Weekly News' website: "Gray squirrels really space aliens in disguise; May control your neighbors' thoughts with radio wave 'acorns.'"

------> See answer -- and more wildlife stories from your public lands -- near the end of this News.bytes.

silhouettes of wild horse and of a burroWILD HORSES AND BURROS

"Wild horses and burros available for adoption in Redlands" (BLM news, 6/7/11)
These living legends are available for adoption at Sundance Ranch in Redlands, Calif. on Saturday, June 11 -- and preview Friday, June 10. The mustangs and burros were gathered from public lands in California and Nevada, have been wormed and vaccinated, and are in excellent health. (None of the animals have been exposed to the EHV-1 virus.)

"BLM postpones wild horse and burro adoption event in Napa" (BLM news, 6/3/11)
The adoption had been planned for June 17-19 as a key feature of Napa Mustang Days. The adoption and Mustang Days events will be rescheduled when concerns over the possible spread of the EHV-1 virus have passed. "We appreciate all the efforts that Mustang Days organizers Mike and Nancy Kerson have put into organizing the events, but we have to take all precautions to protect wild horses and burros from chances of being exposed to this virus,” said Amy Dumas, manager of the Wild Horse and Burro Program for the BLM in California.

"Are wild horses native to US? BLM view challenged" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 6/5/11)
A court case "maintains wild horses roamed the West about 1.5 million years ago and didn't disappear until as recently as 7,600 years ago" and that "today's horses are genetically linked to those ancient ancestors." The court case "could carry significant ramifications across hundreds millions of acres in the West where the U.S. Bureau of Land Management divides up livestock grazing allotments based partly on the belief the horses are no more native to those lands than are the cattle brought to North America centuries ago." The case "could go a long way toward determining future management of the animals...."


a man and a woman climb out of a mud pit up a dirt hilla woman covered in mud climbs up a dirt mound"El Centro BLM gets muddy for Law Enforcement Week"(News.bytes Extra)
Law enforcement and park rangers from the BLM’s El Centro Field Office participated in a mud run benefiting local law enforcement and families in celebration of National Police Week. These Rangers, along with 100 others, ran, climbed, crawled, and sludged their way over, under, and through the obstacle course -- more than two miles of mud-covered terrain.

"State Office of Mine Reclamation, BLM seal old Tuolumne County mines" (State of California Department of Conservation news)
"Mining is a big part of California history, but every now and then people stumble across old mine shafts or tunnels and are injured or killed," said Derek Chernow, Acting Director of the California Department of Conservation. "There are thousands of potentially hazardous sites around the state, and we’re trying to correct as many as we can as quickly as we can."

"Public Eye: Lawmakers take $10 million from off-road parks" (Sacramento Bee, 6/3/11)
"Chronic budget problems have state parks facing closures and service cutbacks. But California State Parks' Off-Highway Vehicle Division has remained relatively well off. The eight OHV parks... provide a place for dirt bike, all-terrain vehicle and dune buggy enthusiasts to enjoy relatively unfettered thrills ... It also grants money to local and federal agencies that manage off-roading, including the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management." The legislature moved $10 million of its funds to the general fund.

"BLM announces Desert District final supplementary rules" (BLM news, 6/8/11)
The Federal Register Notice lists new Final Supplementary Rules for BLM-managed lands in the California Desert District.  The District-wide rules seek to clarify and simplify rules for visitors anywhere on the public lands within the BLM California Desert District. 

"Monterey supports MST project for bus facility on Fort Ord" (Monterey County Herald, 6/8/11)
"The Monterey City Council voted to support -- barely -- Monterey-Salinas Transit's 24-acre bus facility and headquarters at Fort Ord ... The transit facility would be part of a 58-acre business park on a former Army landfill. But the site contains more than 4,000 oak trees, and the project threatens to block the Sgt. Allan MacDonald Cavalry Trail, which was officially designated in March by the city of Marina."

RELATED: "Fort Ord Public Lands Area of Critical Environmental Concern" (BLM Hollister Field Office)

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)

close-up of smiling manMEET YOUR ADVISORY COUNCIL MEMBERS: Jon McQuiston...
is the elected official representative on the BLM's Central California Advisory Council. He has served as the First District Kern County supervisor since 1997.

Find events and details online at:


"BLM announces two new leadership appointments" (BLM news, 6/6/11)
Bureau of Land Management Director Robert Abbey announced selections for two key positions on the agency’s Executive Leadership Team. Dr. John Lyon will become State Director of the BLM’s Eastern States Office and Salvatore "Sal" Lauro will assume responsibilities as Director of Law Enforcement and Security.

"Fracking and cell phones: Evaluating the real risks" (Time, 6/7/11)
"This isn't to say that fracking is definitely safe or that cell phones are definitely dangerous. In both cases the data is sketchy, in part because both the wireless and the gas industries have been less than forthcoming with information. Those gaps allow advocates on both sides a lot of room to run. We want science to give us definite answers" but "what we make of it is as much the result of our own cultural values and biases as it is of the data itself."

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(a.) They seem to be everywhere, because their population just keeps growing.
Note: While answer (e.) may also be false, it is not a common stereotype.

SOURCE: "Western Gray Squirrel - Sciurus griseus" (BLM California wildlife database)
Gray squirrels typically occur in oak-conifer woodlands from California up to Washington. The range was expanded as people started planting more oak and walnut trees, but recently their range has been decreasing. The populations are becoming smaller and fragmented as urban sprawl and other developments destroy their habitat. In addition, introduced species are taking over prime habitat.

More wildlife news from your public lands in California:

close-up of a desert tortoise peeking its head out of its shell"Desert tortoise to remain on list of threatened species" (Barstow Desert Dispatch, 6/2/11)
"Fish and Wildlife is required to review each endangered or threatened species at least every five years" and "continues to list the desert tortoise as threatened ... Because the desert tortoise is a threatened species, all energy projects in the Mojave Desert have to make sure that the reptile is disturbed as little as possible and projects which find larger numbers of the tortoises than expected -- such as the Ivanpah solar project near the California-Nevada border -- can be shut down or delayed." Also: state renewable energy bill, plus opposition to renewable energy loans.

close-up of a large gray feral pig"Wild pigs target of federal government plan for eradication" (ABC News, 6/7/11)
"With no natural predators and voracious breeding habits, hunters in California cannot keep up with the expanding population of these wild pigs that weigh between 250 and 350 pounds ... 'They tear up property, tear up landscape and tear up habitats,' said Andrew Hughan, the public information officer at the California Department of Fish and Game. Now the federal government is considering stepping in."


wild hogs"Texas takes to skies to take on wild hogs" (ABC News, 5/4/11)
Wild hogs "are a huge problem in the Lone Star State" where they are "invading neighborhoods, leaving behind millions of dollars in damage ... an estimated $400 million in damage in this state every year." Video.
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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

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