A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 445 - 8/26/10

A fireman in red helmet is outlined by flames behind him A small mouse held by the scruff of the neck A man on a horse talks with a woman Flames leap in the darkness Close up photo of a man


- Wildfires and prevention
- Not for educators only:
      - Wildlife trivia question of the week
      - Our readers write: Rattled
- Wild horses and burros
- Renewable energy
- Energy
- Off-highway vehicle race tragedy followup
- Headlines and highlights
- Employee profile
- Selected upcoming events
This issue of News.bytes is online at:


A fireman in red helmet is outlined by flames behind himA fireman attacks flames in a field of dry grass"Fires prompt state of emergency declaration" (Bakersfield Californian, 8/25/10)
"Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Wednesday in Kern County as one of three fires that began in the region Tuesday continued burning. The proclamation unlocks state resources to help local governments fight the flames...."

Burned-our cars sit smolderingFlames leap in the darkness"High heat, wind may hinder Lebec fire fight" (KABC-TV Los Angeles, 8/25/10)
"As crews in Kern County make progress on the wildfire in Lebec, extreme heat and strong winds may hinder the fire fight. As of Wednesday afternoon, officials said the fire was about 30 percent contained with 1,308 acres burned." Includes video and link to 17 photos.

"Evacuations lifted in SoCal as fire's spread slows" (Associated Press in San Francisco Chronicle, 8/24/10)
"Fire roared through 1,100 acres of mountain wilderness northwest of Los Angeles on Tuesday, forcing evacuations as flames threatened dozens of rural homes .... Fifty to 60 homes were threatened, said Michelle Puckett, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. .... About 150 firefighters from Kern County, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service were battling the blaze and many more were en route, authorities said."

An airplane drops orange fire retardant on burning treesSmoke billows over a mountainside"Wildfire updates: Mop up continues, community meeting may be called" (Frazier Park Mountain Enterprise, 8/26/10)
Local photos, videos and text updates on wildfires. An update from today: "The photo slideshow has been updated to include more contributions from  our community reporters and photographers since the fire broke out on Tuesday, Aug. 24."

A fireman is almost surrounded by flamesA fireman pours water on flames near his truckBLM, Kern County firefighters battle flames in 110-degree heat" (Taft Midway Driller, 8/26/10)
"Even a small fire means several hours of hard work in sizzling 110-degree heat made worse from the heat from flames and thick smoke .... It was a small fire -- less than five acres -- but it took 30 minutes to halt the spread of it, about an hour to put it out and more than three hours of mop-up before firefighters could leave the scene."

"Learn how you can create defensible space" (California Fire Alliance)
How to create defensible space around your property, to reduce the risk of losing your home - even in severe wildfire.

"National fire news" (National Interagency Fire Center, 7/29/10)
Reports from across the country, including California. Updated Monday through Friday during the fire season.


A small mouse held by the scruff of the neck
cactus mouse
How do cactus mice deal with extreme heat or food scarcity?
(a.) They burrow into a fleshy cactus and slowly eat it from the inside out.
(b.) They burrow underground and hibernate for one month at a time.
(c.) They become inactive and lower their metabolic rate.
(d.) They move into empty doghouses.
(e.) They hang out at the mall for the air conditioning and occasional free samples of food-like products.

------> See answer near the end of this issue of News.bytes.


Last week's News.bytes linked to an old photo of rattlesnakes in a culvert, from a 2002 issue of News.bytes.

A pile of rattlesnakes in a culvert pipeThat brought a quick email from Sean Barry of UC Davis: "Snakes and especially heavy-bodied snakes such as western diamondback rattlers, would never pile up like that under natural conditions and the species is wrong for anywhere in California except the extreme southeastern part of the state, very far from Jelly's Ferry."

News.bytes contacted G
ary Diridoni, wildlife and fisheries biologist for the BLM Redding Field Office. He concurred: "Sean Barry is correct, it is a fake photo, likely associated with a rattlesnake roundup." More details in our News.bytes Extra:

"A long and sidewinding road" (News.bytes Extra)


"Horses, burros available for adoption in Grass Valley" (Grass Valley Union, 8/16/10)
This weekend: "Nevada County residents will have the opportunity to add a horse or burro to their families when the United States Bureau of Land Management brings its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program to the Nevada County Horsemen's Association. The event is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28." (repeated from last week's issue)

"Twin Peaks wild horse roundup shifts to northern part of management area" (BLM news release, 8/23/10)
Wild horse and burro round up operations being conducted by the Bureau of Land Management in northeast California have shifted to the northern part of the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area along the California-Nevada border. There could be brief travel delays in some areas where capture sites are along dirt and gravel roads.

silhouette of a horse and a burro"BLM Litchfield Corrals open to the public weekdays" (BLM news release, 8/23/10)
Members of the public interested in seeing wild horses recently gathered from the Bureau of Land Management’s Twin Peaks Herd Management Area can visit the BLM Litchfield Wild Horse and Burro Corrals. The corrals, on U. S. Highway 395 about 20 miles northeast of Susanville, Calif. are open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Follow the Twin Peaks Gather on Facebook (including a recent video tour of the Litchfield Corrals)...

... and on Twitter:

Photos from the Twin Peaks Roundup have been posted on Flickr:

"Burros face brighter future" (San Bernardino County Sun, 8/25/10)
"Call them the lucky 13. They are all that's left of a herd of 69 burros that became trapped in the BLM-administered Piute Mountains Wilderness Area about 20 miles west of Needles amid 110-degree temperatures. It's a tragic story that first became known a week ago about the non-native animals that have almost, but not quite, adapted to their habitat. The result? In this case, 56 burros dead from dehydration."

RELATED: "BLM conducts rescue mission for stranded burros" (BLM news release, 8/24/10)
The 13 burros are the last of a herd of 69 wild burros found stranded without water and outside their normal herd management area. BLM was notified by a local rancher that he had come across a number of burros that apparently had died of dehydration, but there were also others that were still alive.

RELATED: "Dozens of burros die at dried-up spring" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/24/10)
"Nearly 60 burros were discovered dead in and near a horizontal mine shaft in a remote Mojave Desert wilderness area late last week ... The animals probably were seeking water from a spring inside the tunnel that apparently had dried up." Rescue efforts started with a helicopter delivering 750 gallons of water.

A man on a horse talks with a woman"Volunteers show what wild horses can do at Flickerwood Arena adoption event" (Southeast Missourian, 8/22/10)
"A wild horse may take more work to train, but those who own them say the effort is worth it. Volunteers from around the region who have adopted wild horses, or mustangs, showed off their animals' abilities Saturday during an adoption event .... The Bureau of Land Management sponsors about 50 adoption events each year for wild horses collected from herds on federal lands in 10 Western states."

"California wild horse and burro adoption schedule" (BLM California)
This schedule is subject to change. Please call the contact numbers listed, to check that planned events are taking place as planned.

Renewable energy graphic represents solar, geothermal and wind power, plus transmission linesRENEWABLE ENERGY

"BLM releases final environmental study for proposed Blythe Solar Energy Project in Riverside County" (BLM news release, 8/20/10)
Chevron Energy Solutions/Solar Millennium has requested a right-of-way authorization to construct and operate the BSPP on 7,025 acres of BLM-administered land in eastern Riverside County. The proposed project would consist of four parabolic trough solar-thermal power plants with a total expected capacity of 968 megawatts. The Final Environmental Impact Statement is available online.

"BLM announces public meetings for Walker Ridge Wind Project, extends comment period" (BLM news release, 8/24/10)
The Bureau of Land Management will hold public meetings in September to gather input on issues that should be addressed in environmental documents for the proposed Walker Ridge Wind Project in Lake and Colusa counties. Public scoping meetings for the Environmental Impact Statement will be held Sept. 9 in Lakeport and Sept. 10 in Colusa.

"Big California solar energy push moves forward" (San Francisco Chronicle with Bloomberg, 8/26/10)
"California's long-awaited boom in solar power plant construction took a major step forward Wednesday when state regulators approved the first in a string of projects that will soon blanket thousands of acres of desert with mirrors harnessing the energy of the sun .... Most of the projects sit on federal land, forcing their developers to win permits from both the state and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. So federal and state officials tried to synchronize and speed up their approval processes."

"Final decisions near on mega-solar power plants in California deserts" (Sunpluggers Solar Home and Business Journal, 8/23/10)
"A California Energy Commission committee has recommended approval of another desert solar power project ... Some of the proposed solar power plants would be located on public land managed by the federal Bureau of Land Management, which has been issuing final Environmental Impact Statements at a rapid pace. The bureau and the state are cooperating to 'fast-track' nine large solar power plant projects that could be eligible for federal Recovery Act funding."

"Renewable energy fast track projects" (BLM California)
Fast-track projects within the State of California are those renewable energy projects that have made significant progress in the permitting process and have either formally begun or will soon begin the environmental review and public participation process. 

Electric transmission towers rise above a flat area"Court rejects Sunrise appeal" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/19/10)
"An appeals court has rejected a consumer group’s legal challenge to construction of San Diego Gas & Electric’s controversial Sunrise Powerlink, which means the California Supreme Court can now take up a related case." SDG&E says the line would "increase access to renewable power" but opponents "say the line is unnecessary, too expensive and the damage it will cause is not worth it. SDG&E succeeded in getting three major approvals for the line" including one from BLM.


"Ranchers blast $20 million deal with environmental groups" (Idaho State Journal, 8/24/10)
A natural gas company views a deal with two environmental groups "as a necessary compromise that was necessary for a mega pipeline project," but "a coalition of local governments" from Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and Oregon disagree and "have requested a review of the BLM’s record of decision and rights-of-way approval." The the 680-mile Ruby Pipeline would cross approximately 54 miles of public lands managed by BLM-California's Surprise Field Office, and supply natural gas mainly to California.

RELATED: "West Coast remains prized market for Wyoming's natural gas" (Casper, Wyo., Star-Tribune, 8/25/10)
"Assuming construction of the Ruby natural gas pipeline does not get delayed in the current storm of legal proceedings, completion of the line in March should provide enough additional access to the Western market to ensure Rockies gas flows westward for decades .... The conventional wisdom behind Ruby was to connect Rockies gas to the northern California market where industry experts had forecast a significant decline in natural gas flowing from Canada. However, that scenario has been somewhat altered."


A motorcyclist races through dustSign indicates speed limit of 15 miles per hour approaching the pits"Off-road racing resumes in the desert" (KABC-TV Los Angeles, 8/22/10)
"Motorcycles roared through the desert in an off road race Saturday in the same area where eight spectators died on the course a week ago. The Bureau of Land Management gave the green light for the race, but only after what it called, 'a very detailed review' of the permit. Race organizers said they went above and beyond what the BLM asked for, including having extra rescue crews and ambulances on hand. The rule most strictly enforced: no spectators allowed within 50 feet of the course." Includes video.

"Off-road enthusiasts focus on safety changes, not criticism" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/22/10)
"A sport where everyone once knew how to take care of themselves is consistently attracting more casual fans who don't take it seriously. And that is putting pressure on the sport to enhance its safety or risk losing access to public lands, especially following the Aug. 14 crash east of Victorville that killed eight spectators."

"BLM to conduct new review of permits issued for OHV races held on public lands"
(BLM news release, 8/20/10)
Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey announced that the agency will carefully review on a case-by-case basis each approved and pending request to hold Off-Highway Vehicle races on public lands for which it issues permits. The measures come after the injuries and deaths of spectators during an OHV race in Southern California.

"BLM confirms one ranger at off-road crash site" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/25/10)
"A lone Bureau of Land Management ranger was present at the Johnson Valley Off-Road Vehicle Area the night a truck participating in a desert race plowed into a crowd and killed eight people, officials confirmed Wednesday. The ranger, on a routine patrol within the 188,000-acre area, was flagged down by someone at the race and told a truck in the California 200 had flipped into the crowd, according to a BLM statement."

"BLM suspends racing company's permit" (San Bernardino County Sun, 8/19/10)
"The federal Bureau of Land Management ... has suspended the license of a company that hosted an off-road racing event near Lucerne Valley on Saturday night that culminated in the deaths of eight people. The suspension of Mojave Desert Racing's permit is pending the outcome of a joint investigation by the BLM and the California Highway Patrol."


A man pulls out marijuana plants from a shady area"North Coast pot gardens grow deadly" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 8/21/10)
"For decades, drug agents and illicit marijuana growers have engaged in a delicate game of cat and mouse in the rugged, remote forests of the North Coast. Authorities would swoop in to destroy a crop, only to find that the growers had faded into the wilderness. But that predictable pattern has been shattered this summer in violent confrontations that have left five suspected marijuana growers dead in four Northern California counties in the past seven weeks. It is an unparalleled level of violence in the 20-year history of coordinated marijuana eradication efforts."

RELATED: "Hunters threatened by armed men in Cow Mountain rec area" (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 8/19/10)
"Federal officials have issued a public alert after deer hunters in the South Cow Mountain Recreational Area outside Ukiah were confronted by armed men in an area near a campground where evidence suggests marijuana was being grown. The Bureau of Land Management frequently finds cannabis gardens in the area, but with Sunday's encounter warned the public to beware."

RELATED: "Pot gardens: State, federal authorities focus on public land grow sites" (The Union, Grass Valley, 8/26/10)
"Federal and state authorities are 'swamped' with cases after targeting pot growers on public lands, said a spokeswoman from the U.S. Attorney's Office. 'It's harvest season .... We have raids going on almost every day'." Recent large raids have included BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands across northern California, "but federal authorities have been focusing on large-scale marijuana gardens farmed by Mexican nationals, in particular in Fresno County, and have arrested dozens of suspects in the last few months."

"California overdue for major quake, study says"(MSNBC, 8/21/10)
"Earthquakes strike along California's San Andreas Fault more often than scientists previously thought, a new study suggests. Researchers at the University of California, Irvine and Arizona State charted temblors that occurred there stretching back 700 years. They found that large ruptures have occurred on the Carrizo Plain portion of the San Andreas Fault -- about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles -- as often as every 45 to 144 years. But the last big quake was in 1857, more than 150 years ago."

RELATED: "New earthquake study underscores need to prepare" (Bakersfield Californian, 8/20/10)
"Emergency planners are already operating on the assumption the Big One could strike at any time." Georgianna Armstrong, who manages the Kern County Office of Emergency Services, asks: "Have you stockpiled water at home? ... flashlights? Non-perishable food? Heavy boots and gloves? Propane for cooking when utilities are down? Have you anchored bookcases and mirrors overhanging your bed?"

RELATED: "Geologic Features, Carrizo Plain National Monument" (BLM Bakersfield Field Office)
There has been extensive geologic research conducted in the Carrizo Plain over the last 100 years, and during the last 20 years the pace of research has increased. The first geologic investigations nearly 100 years ago were driven to provide understanding of the San Andreas fault which had caused the devastating 1906 San Francisco Earthquake.

"Never too early to book Labor Day Weekend trip" (Merced Sun-Star, 8/21/10)
Columnist: " Labor Day weekend will be here in just two weeks. For many people, it's a last chance to enjoy a long summer weekend away from home. If you haven't made any plans yet, it's time to get started .... The main attraction of Reserve America is that it coordinates reservations for campsites in national parks, forests and recreation areas along with campsites in state parks and areas managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Bureau of Reclamation and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers."

"Mining claim maintenance fees due Sept. 1, 2010" (BLM news release, 7/15/10)
The deadline for filing annual mining claim fees with the Bureau of Land Management is Wednesday, September 1, 2010. All mining claimants who wish to hold on to mining claims on federal public lands through 2011 must pay a $140 maintenance fee or file a maintenance fee waiver certificate on or before September 1.

"Experimental Stewardship Committee meets September 1 in Cedarville" (BLM news release, 8/23/10)
Various natural resource conservation topics will be discussed when the Modoc-Washoe Experimental Stewardship Program steering committee meets Wednesday, Sept. 1, at the Bureau of Land Management Surprise Field Office in Cedarville.

"BLM advisory council plans meeting in Coalinga" (BLM news release, 8/24/10)
Land management issues for Central California will be on the agenda when the Bureau of Land Management’s Central California Resource Advisory Council meets in Coalinga on Sept. 17-18. The meeting and tour are open to the public, but individuals who wish to attend the tour must provide their own vehicles, food and water. High-clearance vehicles are recommended for the tour.

"BLM announces expansion of Jawbone Station Visitor Center"(BLM news release, 8/19/10)
The BLM Ridgecrest Field Office, along with the Friends of Jawbone, will hold a groundbreaking ceremony for the expansion of the Jawbone Station Visitor Center on Thursday, September 2 at the facility, approximately 20 miles north of the town of Mojave.

"Current job openings - BLM California"
(USAJOBS website)
Listings for current and potential openings include archeology technician, maintenance helper/worker, range aid/technician, biological aid/technician and more.

Close up photo of a manEMPLOYEE PROFILE: Jeff Horn...
... is the lead outdoor recreation planner for BLM's Mother Lode Field Office. He is the agency liaison for all recreation-related issues in the east-central portion of California -- everything from Yuba and Nevada counties, south to Mariposa and Merced counties. Read more:

Unless otherwise noted, find more details -- and more events -- online at:

Sept. 2 - Groundbreaking ceremony
Jawbone Station Visitor Center

Sept. 10-12 - King Range Days
The Bureau of Land Management and its partners invite you to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the King Range National Conservation Area.  Please join us for any or all of the activities.

Sept. 17 - Central California Advisory Council Meeting (followed by tour on Sept. 18)

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
(c.) They will become inactive and lower their metabolic rate.

SOURCE: "Cactus Mouse - Peromyscus eremicus" (BLM California wildlife database)
During the hottest part of the day or during seasons when food is not abundant, cactus mice become inactive and lower their metabolic rates as a survival technique. They also may become torpid during the hot summer months.


"BLM gears up to help prevent spread of white-nose syndrome in bats" (BLM national news release, 8/24/10)
The Bureau of Land Management announced an interim strategy to help the agency respond to the anticipated occurrence of white-nose syndrome on BLM-administered lands nationwide. It is anticipated this strategy will be in place until more detailed guidance is developed, including applicable components of the Interagency National Response Plan effort being led by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in which BLM is an active participant.

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News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
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(916) 978-4600

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