June 4, 2013

    Photo: USFWS/Southeast via Flickr

Nighttime Wildfire Fighting Force Introduced

Helicopters to fight fires at night

The U.S. Forest Service is stepping up its wildfire-fighting efforts with a major policy change that will allow nighttime air attacks. A specially trained crew and helicopter are now ready to carry out wildfire operations at night in Southern California. 

This is the first time nighttime firefighting will be employed since the 1970s, when it was banned for safety and cost reasons. The Forest Service reversed this policy in response to findings that they did not handle the devastating 2009 Station fire to their full capacity.

With an already active wildfire season and a massive blaze currently threatening over 1,000 homes near Angeles National Forest, the Forest Service hopes adding nighttime air operations will help contain fires more quickly and minimize overall damage costs.


    Photo: Trurl66

Runner Dies During San Francisco Ultra

Cause of death unknown

A 63-year-old ultramarathoner died on Sunday after disappearing during a 50K trail race on Mount Diablo, near San Francisco. According to SFGate, Rene Brunet was on pace to meet the race's nine-hour cutoff time when he passed the last checkpoint. When Brunet didn't cross the finish line, race officials sent out a party to find him. Searchers found him at the bottom of an embankment about three miles from the end of the race.

"I had seen him in the morning, a couple of times during the day, and he was in great spirits," said race director John Brooks. "At the last checkpoint, he told people he was doing great."

Brunet's cause of death is still unknown.


Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon     Photo: John Loo/Flickr

Study: Sunscreen Prevents Aging

Study finds benefit from daily application

Slathering up with sunscreen can help you look younger. In a study published Monday in the Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers in Australia found that people who regularly apply sunscreen are 24 percent less likely to show signs of increased aging. There's just one catch: You have to apply sunscreen every day to see the results.

"Protecting yourself from skin cancer by using sunscreen regularly has the added bonus of keeping you looking younger," Adele Green, one of the study’s authors and a senior scientist at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Brisbane, said in a statement. "And the study has shown that up to middle age, it’s not too late to make a difference."

Researchers tracked 903 Australians over four years and split them into two groups: one that used sunscreen every day and another that used the lotion more sporadically. At the end of the study, researchers created silicone molds of the participants' hands and had judges rate how aged each mold appeared.

In addition to looking at the effects of sunscreen, researchers found that supplementing with beta-carotene did not influence skin aging.