Slash pile embers blow into wildfire in custer state park
17 February 2017
published by http://rapidcityjournal.com
USA — CUSTER STATE PARK | Embers from slash piles that were burned days
earlier grew into a 24-acre wildfire Friday.
“It just takes one coal,” said Jeni Lawver, of the state Wildland Fire Division and the information officer for the fire.
The fire was reported around midnight, about a half-mile north of Center Lake. The blaze was dubbed "the Playhouse Fire" because it burned along Playhouse Road in the vicinity of the Black Hills Playhouse. No structures were threatened by the flames, Lawver said, and the fire was 35 percent contained by Friday afternoon.
Slash piles are bunches of downed or cut tree limbs, needles and other natural forest debris that are burned to eliminate fuel for wildfires. Lawver said the piles in Custer State Park had been burned more than a week earlier by workers from the park and other agencies, and the piles had been checked regularly since then and were thought to be cold.
Lawver said the fire is a good reminder to authorities and everyone else about the continuing danger of smoldering piles.
“Even if you think piles are extinguished, we encourage people to go out and check and recheck,” she said.
The Playhouse Fire drew an overnight response from local and South Dakota wildland fire resources, with a privately owned bulldozer. Additional resources responded Friday morning, including the U.S. Forest Service, state Department of Corrections hand crews, and the state Black Hat and Bear Mountain hand crews.
The fire happened one day after an authorized backyard garbage fire in Box Elder escaped and burned 8.2 acres before firefighters brought it under control.
With high temperatures expected to be in the 60s this weekend, the fire danger outlook is moderate to high, according to the National Weather Service. Melting snow is revealing dry, dormant vegetation that could burn easily if sparked.
The weather service said outdoor burning, where permitted, should be restricted to early morning or evening hours, when wind speeds are typically lower and the relative humidity is higher.
In total, they are willing to pay US$643.5 million (RM2.8 billion) a year — large enough to make a “substantive impact on the problem” if used for land conservation and restoration, the researchers state in a paper published in February’s issue of the journal, Environmental Research Letters.
The paper’s authors, Yuan Lin, Lahiru Wijedasa and Dr Ryan Chisholm, wrote: “Our results indicate that Singaporeans experience sufficiently negative impacts of air pollution (in) their day-to-day life, or personal health during haze periods, that they are willing to trade off personal financial gain for improvements in air quality.”
Transboundary haze is a long-standing problem in the South-east Asian region, largely caused by the drainage of carbon-rich peatland as well as companies and farmers in Indonesia using fire to clear land.
Singapore experienced its worst haze episode in 2015 from September to November, with the Pollutant Standards Index hitting hazardous levels.
Since then, Indonesia has renewed efforts to prevent fires, although a state of emergency was declared last month in Riau province over forest and land fires.
The economic impact of haze pollution here has been estimated using cost-benefit analysis before, but the researchers said that the figures could be an under-estimate because they exclude impacts — such as non-hospitalisable health effects — that are difficult to infer from economic data.
The 2015 haze episode was estimated to have cost Singapore S$700 million (RM2.19 billion) in losses.
The NUS researchers surveyed 390 people in public areas from November 2015 to February 2016 on their willingness to pay, should the Singapore Government be able to guarantee good air quality year-round.
The participants, from various age and income groups, were given options ranging from 0.05 per cent to 5 per cent of their annual income, after they indicated if they were willing to support such a haze mitigation fund.
The average person’s willingness to pay was an estimated 0.97 per cent of his/her annual income.
However, about three in 10 respondents were unwilling to pay even the minimum option of 0.05 per cent of their annual income.
Wijedasa said that one of the solutions proposed for the haze problem is payments for ecosystem services.
“This could take the form of richer nations aiding better land management and restoration by making regular payments.
“Indonesia has estimated that it needs US$2.1 billion to help restore two million hectares of peatland in (the country). They have currently only received US$50 million from Norway and US$17 million from the United States.
"Could this shortfall be filled by Singapore (and other countries in the region)?”
Tan Yi Han, who is not involved in the study and is co-founder of non-governmental organisation People’s Movement to Stop Haze, said that the findings are helpful and “should motivate the Singapore Government to spend on measures to prevent haze, such as a subsidy on certified sustainable palm oil, as well as aid to support peat restoration and protection efforts in Indonesia”.
His organisation’s survey last year found that more than nine in 10 respondents were willing to pay more for certified sustainable products to help mitigate the haze, Tan said.
Most were willing to pay 5 to 10 per cent more.
Consumers game to chip in to avoid any haze include Steven Lim, who is in his 40s and self-employed. How much he is willing to contribute would depend on the amount needed to make an impact.
“Maybe S$10? Multiplied by many individuals, it would be a lot,” Lim said, preferring that the money goes to the Indonesian government.- See more at: http://www.themalaymailonline.com/money/article/singaporeans-willing-to-fork-out-1pc-of-income-to-ensure-no-more-haze#sthash.CRhWHQHj.dpuf