Winning the wildfire jackpot

 

THE WEST
Many of us harbor a sneaking suspicion that Westerners aren't quite real to D.C. Beltway officials, particularly to the Easterners in their employ. The habitat of these politically engaged men and women so close to power is usually a crowded room where they toil from morning to night, and so the poor wretches rarely get to visit the rural places they help make policy for. This geographical disconnect -- perhaps a mite overstated -- might just explain the news that some Senate staffers, mostly working under Republicans, spent delicious hours while on the job playing "a morbid version of a jellybean-counting contest," as Grist.org put it, that asked them "to guess the number of acres that will burn each year." The contest -- now halted -- began back in 2003, and was open to those who covered energy and natural resource issues, as well as to appropriations staff, because "you never want to leave them out -- you might need a rider from hell someday." In one especially morbid twist, players also guessed how many firefighting planes would crash, including fixed-wing and heavy-slurry aircraft, as well as how many planes would become unusable or grounded and, for how many weeks. The 2011 winner of the contest was Chuck Kleeschulte, a staffer on the Senate energy committee, who once worked for Republican Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a longtime critic of the Forest Service's firefighting policy. Kleeschulte's prize: his choice of a Wizard hat, the When Pigs Fly hat, or the mechanical Holly-Jolly Christmas hat. The contest's joking tone hardly matched some official speeches about Western wildfires, Grist notes. At a hearing last year, Sen. Murkowski, who also employs contest organizer Frank Gladics, said, "You worry about what is happening within any given fire season, but to those who have lost property, those who have been threatened, we are very concerned."

MONTANA
Could satisfying "bucket list" desires become ridiculous? A 55-year-old man from Butte enticed a patrol car to follow him and then gunned his SUV over 100 miles per hour on an interstate toward the town of Rocker, Mont., reports the Billings Gazette. John C. Hughes, who had apparently not been drinking, told police he "just always wanted" to experience a police chase. That apparently includes the consequences: Hughes was charged with reckless driving while eluding police.

High Country News Classifieds
  • GRAND CANYON DIRECTOR
    The Grand Canyon director, with the Grand Canyon manager, conservation director, and other staff, envisions, prioritizes, and implements strategies for the Grand Canyon Trust's work...
  • ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
    Great Old Broads for Wilderness seeks a part-time Administrative Assistant to support the organization's general operations. This includes phone and email communications, office correspondence and...
  • HISTORIC LODGE AND RESTAURANT - FULLY EQUIPPED
    Built in 1901, The Crazy Mountain Inn has 11 guest rooms in a town-center building on 7 city lots (.58 acres). The inn and restaurant...
  • ONE WILL: THREE WIVES
    by Edith Tarbescu. "One Will: Three Wives" is packed with a large array of interesting suspects, all of whom could be a murderer ... a...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR, SALAZAR CENTER FOR NORTH AMERICAN CONSERVATION
    The Program Director will oversee the programmatic initiatives of The Salazar Center, working closely with the Center's Director and staff to engage the world's leading...
  • WILDEARTH GUARDIANS - WILD PLACES PROGRAM DIRECTOR
    Salary Range: $70,000-$80,000. Location: Denver, CO, Portland, OR, Seattle, WA, Missoula, MT or potentially elsewhere for the right person. Application Review: on a rolling basis....
  • RIVER EDUCATOR/GUIDE + TRIP LEADER
    Position Description: Full-time seasonal positions (mid-March through October) Organizational Background: Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a 10 year old nonprofit organization fostering community stewardship of...
  • BOOKKEEPER/ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT
    Position Description: Part-time, year-round bookkeeping and administration position (12 - 16 hours/week) $16 - $18/hour DOE Organizational Background: Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) is a 10...
  • LAND STEWARD
    San Isabel Land Protection Trust seeks a full-time Land Steward to manage and oversee its conservation easement monitoring and stewardship program for 42,437 acres in...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Ventana Wilderness Alliance is seeking an experienced forward-facing public land conservation leader to serve as its Executive Director. The mission of the Ventana Wilderness Alliance...
  • COMMUNICATIONS AND DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    The Quivira Coalition (www.quiviracoaltion.org) is a Santa Fe-based nonprofit that builds resilience on arid working lands. We foster ecological, economic, and social health through education,...
  • GRANT WRITER
    "We all love this place we call Montana. We believe that land and water and air are not ours to despoil, but ours to steward...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    The Development Director is responsible for organizing and launching a coherent set of development activities to build support for the Natural History Institute's programs and...
  • WILDLIFE PROJECT COORDINATOR
    Founded in 1936, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF or Federation) is America's largest and most trusted grassroots conservation organization with 53 state/territorial affiliates and more...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    The Cinnabar Foundation helps protect and conserve water, wildlife and wild lands in Montana and the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem by supporting organizations and people who...
  • TRUSTEE AND PHILANTHROPY RELATIONS MANGER,
    Come experience Work You Can Believe In! The Nature Conservancy in Alaska is seeking a Trustee and Philanthropy Relations Manager. This position is critical to...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR AT FRIENDS OF CEDAR MESA
    -The Land, History, and People of the Bears Ears Region- The Bears Ears and Cedar Mesa region is one of the most beautiful, complex, diverse,...
  • CONSERVATION SPECIALIST
    Position will remain open until January 31, 2021 Join Our Team! The New Mexico Land Conservancy (NMLC) is a non-profit land trust organization dedicated to...
  • OLIVERBRANCH CONSULTING
    Non-Profit Management Professional specializing in Transitional Leadership, Strategic Collaborations, Communications and Grant Management/Writing.
  • GREAT VIEWS, SMALL FOOTPRINT
    Close to town but with a secluded feel, this eco-friendly home includes solar panels, a graywater reuse system, tankless hot water, solar tubes, and rainwater...