A publication of Bureau of Land Management in California

Issue 591 - 8/23/13   -  
Visit us on Facebook -- follow us on Twitter - Share us with friends and colleagues!

A firefighter clears forage near a wildfireA bird and her chickA marijuana plantA person dressed up like ocean garbage


- California Wildfires and Prevention
- Wildlife trivia question of the week
- Renewable energy
- Oil & Gas
- Headlines and highlights: Assorted topics from your public lands in California
- National and Department of the Interior items

If this message does not show up properly in your email, you can see it online at:


California on edge as wildfires spread (San Francisco Gate, 8/21/13)
What was expected to be a bad fire season is turning out to be just that. Nearly a dozen major fires, some touched off by an unusual string of lightning storms, are burning across California wildlands parched by back-to-back dry winters. Twice as much of the state has burned this year as had gone up in flames at this point in 2012.

A firefighter clears forage near a wildfire.Photos of the Folsom Lake Hand Crew on the Martin Fire on BLM California's flickr photostream


Ominous warnings about California wildfire season (USA Today, 8/21/13)
The wildfire raging near Yosemite National Park on Wednesday is just one of 11 major fires currently blazing in California, even before the bone-dry state enters the usual peak of the fire season in September and October.

Rare military cockpit video shows Rim Fire aerial battle (News 10, 8/21/13)
A California Air National Guard C-130 pilot who got special permission to shoot video in the cockpit has documented the aerial fight against the massive Rim Fire.

RELATED VIDEO: Aerial fight against the massive Rim Fire

New fire prevention campaign spreads message like wildfire (Bakersfield Californian, 8/16/13)
Did you know that a wildfire can be started by a chain dragging on the road? The spark that results when the two make contact is just one example of how many wildfires begin.
"If you think about it, where do you see the burn scars along the mountains?" asked Abby Bolt, branch director for Central California for the One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire campaign. "You usually see them on the side of the road."

Cal Fire Current Fire Information (State of California website)

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

InciWeb (Incident Information System)
Find updates on fires in California in this interagency incident information management system

Critics say California relies on outdated approach to fire prevention (Los Angeles Times, 8/20/13
Earlier this month, as the Silver fire raced past Cabazon in Riverside County, a group of state fire officials and fire scientists met in a Ventura County... to debate a sweeping proposal to govern how the state prevents fires on 38 million acres, more than a third of California's land area.

Fire Restrictions Start Aug. 20 on BLM-managed Public Lands (BLM News, 8/15/13)
Seasonal restrictions on the outdoor use of fire and firewood cutting begin Tuesday, Aug. 20, on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management in northeast California and far northwest Nevada.


A bird and her chick
What does the common murre use for nests?
(a.) Depressions in beach sand
(b.) Clumps of beach grasses
(c.) Floating "islands" of driftwood, which they supplement with loose branches and grasses they carry from shore
(d.) Rock
(e.) Frankincense and gold

See answer - and more wildlife stories - near the end of this News.bytes.

Renewable energy graphics represent solar, wind and geothermal power, plus transmission lines RENEWABLE ENERGY

New Solar Energy Zone in California Desert
(KCET, 8/15/13)
The U.S. Department of the Interior has made its decision: a broad swath of public lands along the east shore of the Salton Sea will be fast-tracked for solar and geothermal exploration and development. The 100-square-mile West Chocolate Mountains Renewable Energy Evaluation Area (REEA) will host up to 33 square miles of new solar development and 30 square miles for geothermal exploration.

Feds OK Expanded Geothermal Plant Near Mammoth Lakes (KCET, 8/14/13)
A 33-megawatt geothermal plant proposed for a spot along Route 395 near Mammoth Lakes cleared a hurdle this week, as two federal agencies signed off on the project. The project must still win approval from a regional air quality board. The 33-megawatt Casa Diablo IV Geothermal Development project got the thumbs-up Tuesday from the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service in the form of a positive Record of Decision from each agency.

Feds unveil new renewable energy zone along Salton Sea shore (The Desert Sun, 8/20/13)
The federal government has created a new renewable energy zone along the southeast shore of the Salton Sea that could eventually host thousands of megawatts of solar and geothermal energy on previously disturbed lands. The West Chocolate Mountains Renewable Energy Evaluation Area, recently announced by new Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, covers a 64,058-acre patchwork of public and private land between the sea and the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range, a military training area.

Is big desert solar killing birds in Southern California? (High Country News, 8/18/13)
The threat large-scale solar developments pose to tortoise in the desert Southwest has been well established, but what about the technology's effect on birds? The question has been asked before David Danelski of the Riverside Press Enterprise reported on it in February of 2012 but it emerged most dramatically last winter during the California Energy Commission hearings on a five square mile-sized concentrating solar facility that Oakland-based BrightSource, Inc. had proposed to build near Pahrump, Nev. Concentrating solar technology uses mirrors, or "heliostats," to focus the sun's energy on a "power tower" where fluid flashes to steam and spins a turbine. Those mirrors create a field of solar flux up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit; biologists from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, among others, worried that "elevated levels of solar flux generated by the focused energy from the heliostats may burn and damage exposed skin and feathers" of birds flying through those fields.


Oil Industry Barred From California Fracking Fight (Courthouse News Service, 8/16/13)
A federal judge refused to let the oil industry intervene in a challenge to the sale of federal oil and gas leases covering thousands of acres of California land. At issue are the federal gas leases that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sold on 17,832 acres of land in Monterey, San Benito and Fresno counties this past December.

Fracking the land of the kit fox, and its fellow desert natives (Bay Nature Magazine, 8/21/13)
In late 2012, the federal Bureau of Land Management auctioned a slew of leases for oil exploration in the Monterey Shale as far north as the inner Coast Range habitat that borders the southern flank of the Bay Area. It's a place that's home to a number of endangered species: the San Joaquin kit fox, the giant kangaroo rat and the blunt-nosed lizard, to name a few. ...To better understand what lives above the Monterey Formation, and what challenges these species face, I ended up one hot July evening on a kit fox survey. I met BLM biologist Mike Westphal at the agency's Hollister field office as he was loading a truck with spotlights and binoculars...


A person dressed up like ocean garbageBLM, Partners 'Talk Trash' at Humboldt County Fair (News.bytes Extra)
Staff members from BLM's Arcata Field Office are joining partners from other agencies and organizations to host "Talkin' Trash," a Humboldt County Fair exhibit that calls attention to littering and illegal dumping on public and private lands.

A marijuana plantSheriff's Office warns public not to approach pot gardeners (Calaveras Enterprise, 8/20/13)
A group of hunters quickly realized the men they encountered out in the wilderness were not fellow hunters, despite the guns in their hands. "Everybody just backed off and went on their way," said David Christy, spokesman for the Bureau of Land Management. "But it's still scary." The gun-toting criminals were in fact marijuana growers, who were protecting their crops deep in the woods of the Sierra Nevada, and the incident is a prime example of the increasing dangers associated with the illegal operations that are surfacing up and down California, including Calaveras County.

Eco-terror suspect will plead guilty (the Mail Tribune, 8/16/13)
A woman who surrendered after a decade as a fugitive in the nation's largest eco-terrorism case is to enter guilty pleas on Oct. 10, court records show. Rebecca Rubin, 39, was accused in a federal indictment of being a member of cells of the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front known as The Family. The cells are suspected in fires at a ski resort in Colorado, horse corrals in Oregon and California, and lumber mills and U.S. Forest Service offices in Oregon.

US judge clears way for Nev. tribe's mustang sale (San Jose Mercury News, 8/21/13)
A federal judge cleared the way Wednesday for a Nevada tribe to sell 149 mustangs over the objection of critics who claim the unbranded animals are federally protected wild horses that should not be auctioned off for possible slaughter. U.S. District Judge Miranda Du lifted an emergency restraining order she put in place last week temporarily blocking the sale of any adult horses without brands among the more than 400 recently gathered near the Nevada-Oregon line.

Appraisal complete for BLM land at hospital site (Needles Desert Star, 8/19/13)
A recently completed appraisal keeps the sale process for Colorado River Medical Center moving forward and means the real property closing is approaching. An appraisal on the 2.38 acres of land that the Bureau of Land Management still has reversionary rights to was needed in order for the city and hospital purchaser, Community Healthcare Partners Inc., to buy the land. Purchase of the land would mean the BLM would no longer have reversionary rights to the land.


This Week at Interior, August 16, 2013 (DOI video)
Here's what happened this week at Interior: Secretary Jewell talks renewable energy at the Clean Energy Summit 6.0 in Law Vegas, coastal resilience during a visit to New York City, and public-private partnership to fight climate change during a conference call with business leaders; retired Coast Guard Vice Admiral Brian Salerno is tapped to head the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement; Secretary Jewell visits with students at the National Park Service Academy; and the National Park Service turns 97 in style August 25, with free admission to National Parks from coast to coast.

WILDLIFE TRIVIA answer and related websites
What does the common murre use for nests?
(d.) Rock

SOURCE: Common Murre - Uria aalge (BLM California wildlife database)
They lay their eggs on bare rock, using no material for the nest except occasionally a few pebbles cemented together with excrement, which may keep the egg from rolling.

RELATED: Common Murres on Flatiron Rock
download full-sized photograph

Read about the Common Murre colony on Devil's Slide Rock
Part of a Seabird Protection Network monitoring for seabird species recovery.

Devil's Slide Rock

- If your e-mail program does not allow you to click on the above links to visit that Web page, copy and paste the URL into your browser's "Location" or "Address" bar.
- Some online news sites require free registration to view their content online. Some news sites remove news stories from the Web soon after publication. If you plan to keep a story, you should print a copy or save the Web page to your computer.
DISCLAIMER: By linking to Web sites, the BLM does not imply endorsement of those sites, or of products or advertisements on those sites.

News.bytes published by
Bureau of Land Management
California State Office
2800 Cottage Way, Suite W-1834
Sacramento, Ca 95825
(916) 978-4600

We appreciate feedback. Send comments to the News.bytes team at:

To subscribe to News.bytes, visit our News.bytes subscription page at: http://www.blm.gov/ca/caso/getnewsbytes.html.