WFC News

Posted: Dec 14, 2018

Southbound I-5 closed near Alger for hours after tractor trailer burst into flames

Both lanes of southbound Interstate 5 near Alger were closed for nearly six hours and down to one lane for another three hours for cleanup after a tractor trailer burst into flames late Thursday. The freeway was fully reopened at approximately 6 a.m. Friday, Washington State Trooper Heather Axtman told The Bellingham Herald in an interview Friday.
- PUB DATE: 12/14/2018 9:36:35 AM - SOURCE: Bellingham Herald
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Posted: Dec 14, 2018

“Honda Autonomous Work Vehicle” Makes Off-Road Work Easier, Safer and More Efficient

TORRANCE, CA—Combining Honda’s all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and emerging advanced autonomous technology, the Autonomous Work Vehicle was designed by Honda R&D Americas to enhance efficiency and safety for public, commercial, and consumer enterprises. The company foresees the potential to support people in a variety of industries, such as search and rescue, firefighting, construction, agriculture, landscaping, and snow removal.

The Autonomous Work Vehicle is based on Honda’s ATV chassis, built on a 30-year history of accessing hard-to-reach locations with its four-wheel drive system. The prototype vehicle features GPS and sensor-based autonomy capable of guiding the unit in almost any environment, a rail accessory mount system for limitless accessories and attachments, and onboard power plug-ins. Its compact size and off-road capabilities make it highly maneuverable and suitable for a variety of locations, from dense forests to urban pedestrian zones. Further demonstrating its autonomy, the vehicle can be programmed in different modes—“Follow Me,” “Pattern,” and “A to B”—to accommodate a range of applications. 

Since introducing the Autonomous Work Vehicle as a concept under the name 3E-D18 at CES 2018, Honda has worked with a variety of partners to beta test and evaluate potential uses in a broad array of environments, including a large-scale solar operations company, wildland firefighting, and an agricultural research facility.

Real-World Testing with Partners
Honda evaluated use cases for the Autonomous Work Vehicle in three different environments: a large-scale solar operations company in North Carolina, a wildland firefighting division in Colorado, and an agricultural and environmental sciences college in California.



In Colorado, one of the biggest challenges for the division that manages wildland firefighters is the allocation of resources. Currently, firefighters carry approximately 60 pounds of equipment, including chainsaws and water packs, while navigating steep terrain. This arduous task often leaves firefighters fatigued before reaching the front lines of the fire. To relieve this physical strain, minimize injury and free up manpower, Honda installed a gear rack on the Autonomous Work Vehicle to transport supplies, equipment and water. By deploying the “Follow Me” mode, the vehicle autonomously followed the firefighters with their gear in tow.



As Honda R&D engineers continue development efforts on the Autonomous Work Vehicle, the company seeks to connect with partners to create accessories and attachments that will expand the machine’s potential uses, businesses that may have a need for the vehicle, and autonomy technology and sensor developers to further improve the platform’s off-road autonomy.

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Posted: Dec 14, 2018

South East Thurston Fire Authority discusses filling Assistant Fire Chief position

Southeast Thurston Fire Authority is considering action on hiring a new full-time assistant fire chief, filling a position that has been vacant for almost seven years. If the budget allows, fire chief Mark King said the board of commissioners hopes to screen candidates in early 2019 and have the position filled by October.
- PUB DATE: 12/14/2018 1:40:44 AM - SOURCE: Nisqually Valley News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2018

911 call logs reveal terrifying moments at onset of Camp Fire

At 6:33 a.m. on Nov. 8, a Butte County dispatcher answered what was among the first emergency calls in what would become the deadliest wildfire in California history: A “powerline transformer sparked and there is a fire,” the Magalia caller reported. By just after 8 a.m., residents of Concow and Magalia were phoning in a panic — some of them trapped and needing rescue and others frantically alerting authorities to parents and grandparents in harm’s way, according to Butte County dispatchers’ logs.
- PUB DATE: 12/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle
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Posted: Dec 14, 2018

City of Houston files legal brief claiming fire pay parity amendment unconstitutional

The city of Houston has alleged in a legal claim that the voter-approved charter amendment granting firefighters equal pay to police officers is unconstitutional and preempted by Texas’ local government code, echoing a similar contention from the Houston Police Officers’ Union. The claim, filed in state district court as part of the police union’s lawsuit against the Houston Professional Fire Firefighters Association and the city, comes 10 days after a judge issued a temporary restraining order blocking implementation of Proposition B, which passed with 59 percent of the vote last month.
- PUB DATE: 12/14/2018 12:00:00 AM - SOURCE: Houston Chronicle
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