MH370 relatives: Please don’t give up search

first_imgRelatives of passengers presumed dead on Malaysia Airlines flight 370, which disappeared off the WA coast in 2014, have pleaded with Australia not to abandon the search for the aircraft.Family members of MH370 victims met Australian investigators leading the A$180 million search for the Boeing 777 in Perth on Wednesday.They told The West Australian newspaper of their anguish and frustration that their loved ones remain lost 2 1/2 years after the plane disappeared.Jennifer Chong, whose husband Chong Ling Tan was on the doomed flight, appealed to the Australian, Chinese and Malaysian governments to continue the search.“Please don’t give up on searching for MH370, for our loved ones, for us and for the flying public,” the Victorian mother said.MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, after communications were cut during what was to be a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.The search is due to be suspended in December when Dutch search company Fugro completes the current 120,000sqkm search zone.The Australian, Malaysian and Chinese governments agreed on the suspension in July in the absence of “credible new evidence” pointing to the plane’s location.Ms Chong was among a group of Australian, Chinese, Malaysian and Indonesian relatives of MH370 victims who were in Perth to meet the crew of theFugro Equator ship, which was in Fremantle for a crew change yesterday for its search in the remote southern Indian Ocean.Malaysian Grace Nathan, whose mother Anne Daisy was on MH370, appealed for help to find evidence before the search ended in December.“It is our understanding that if they dismantle the whole search, it will take a very long time to remobilise it because they will have to have the assets come back to the location and that will take time,” she said. “It’s everyone’s best interests that something comes up sooner rather than later.”Ms Nathan, a lawyer, said she would raise the issue when the group meets Australian Transport Safety Bureau officials in Canberra on Monday.The group praised the Australian Government, which has contributed A$60 million to the search. But they were disappointed with the Malaysian Government’s handling of the tragedy.Ms Nathan said the Malaysian officials leading the investigation into the plane’s disappearance had refused to meet victims’ relatives despite repeated requests. “We don’t understand why they never want to see us, speak to us. We struggle to come to terms with this,” she said.The relatives met US lawyer and investigator Blaine Gibson, who has found 10 pieces of debris, some confirmed to be from MH370. They praised his efforts and believe it is credible evidence to continue the search.last_img read more

Late season rains thwart disaster for many Ohio crop farms in 2016

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Thank God for the rains in August — farmers in Ohio who have not done this yet, should consider doing so promptly. Those incredibly valuable rains in mid- to late-August were the thin thread saving many fields from a total yield disaster.By early August nearly all of Ohio was suffering from varying degrees of hot and dry conditions. On the week ending Aug. 7, the growing degree day accumulation was well ahead of normal for nearly every location in Ohio monitored by the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service, with locations in eastern Ohio leading the charge. New Philadelphia was plus 574 GDDs and Cambridge had a whopping 653 GDDs more than normal. As temperatures soared, rainfall really dropped off. The Aug. 7 NASS report reflected this trend clearly with nearly every Ohio location in a rainfall deficit compared to normal. Sydney was over nine inches of rain behind and Ashtabula was at 9.99 inches below normal, according to NASS.The situation was nearly the complete opposite of the previous year for Mike Heffelfinger in Van Wert County. In the 2015 growing season, by mid-August Heffelfinger’s farm had gotten close to 40 inches of rain. In 2016, he had gotten 2.3 inches inches of rain from the third week of May through mid-August. The conditions on either extreme in the last two years produced dismally similar tough yield situations for the farm.This year, early corn harvest reflected the tough conditions of 2016 for Heffelfinger, though it was not a total disaster.“We are seeing 140-bushel corn. I wouldn’t have guessed that a month or two ago. We are just really getting a good start with corn but in the fields we have harvested, 140 has hit it pretty close,” Heffelfinger said. “That 2.3 inches this summer gave us something. It is not anything to brag about but it is better than anticipated.”The saving grace was the soybean yield on the farm thanks in large part to the 11.5 inches of rain that fell in the area from Aug. 12 through late October.“We got two inches on Oct. 21 and we were back out in the fields four days later. It usually takes longer to get back out on the fields after a rain like that at that time of year. Because of that I think we are still shy on subsoil moisture,” Heffelfinger said. “We could run into some very poor yielding corn yet but we have had some pleasant surprises so far. The soybeans were excellent and corn could be better, but we are not going to complain after the heat and dry weather this summer. I saw a range on the yield monitor from 211 to 67 bushels in one corn field. It is amazing to watch.”It was not even in the areas of the worst stress in the state where dramatic differences in corn yields were evident. By any measure, many parts of Fairfield County were comparatively low stress in 2016 for corn production in Ohio.“We were only probably stressed for two weeks, and some of our varieties handled that little bit of stress better than others,” said Jon Miller, who farms in eastern Fairfield County. “It was not in adjoining fields, but they were close on the same farm, where we had some of our best corn averaging 239 bushels and some of our worst corn averaging in the 180s. The one field had some drainage issues, but it was still a big difference. You are talking about a 40- or 50-bushel difference on the same farm.”A couple of hybrids really stood out for the Millers.“If we would have had the right hybrid on all of our acres we would have probably had at least another 15-bushel average increase over everything. We had another hybrid that didn’t do as well for us last year and we didn’t go gangbusters planting it this year,” Miller said. “The guys that had good luck with it last year planted quite a bit this year and it did really well for them again. There are always subtle differences between hybrids but there were a couple that were pretty major on yield difference.”Even the short stretch of very hot, dry conditions for the Miller farm were enough to take the top end off of what would have otherwise been a bumper crop year for corn in 2016.“A second variety that did really well for us is more of a workhorse variety that you put in your tougher conditions. It handled the stress and tougher conditions this year and out-yielded what is considered a racehorse hybrid, even on the good ground,” Miller said. “You could pay a lot of bills if you had the right varieties planted this year.”Similar yield gaps were not uncommon in corn fields around the state, said Peter Thomison, Ohio State University corn specialist.“These are the types of years that really magnify differences among hybrids. The boring years are the ones you like because we don’t see this as much, but when you have these stressed conditions you really can magnify the variability that exists between hybrids and fields. How much of that difference is due to genetics, maturity or plant architecture? Slight differences in maturity and planting dates can make a big difference,” Thomison said. “It is possible under different growing conditions next year you could see no yield difference between those same hybrids or even a flip-flop because the way the hybrids respond to the conditions.“It was kind of the worst-case scenario this year. It was cold and wet early and then we had a frost in mid-May and had some replanting because of that. Then corn was vulnerable when the heat and dry conditions came along abruptly. I think we had 44 counties that were in moderate drought stress on the Drought Monitor for a week or two this summer. In northern Ohio there were some places looking pretty bad and in the southeast and southwest things were looking pretty good in many areas.”The details of the duration of the hot and dry conditions varied significantly but much-needed relief came statewide with August rains. The timing of these rains allowed them to have variable impacts on Ohio crops, depending on their maturity at the time.“It was remarkable that the crops did as well as they did. When the rainfall came in August, some of the later planted corn actually benefitted from those rains,” Thomison said. “In some cases you could see that it affected ear development. Sometimes it appeared that the lower half of the ear was at the dough stage and the upper half was at the milk stage. You could see different patterns of colors and starch development because that rain in August really saved the upper part of those ears. We could have otherwise had big tip dieback on a lot of these ears. Yields could have been a lot worse.”In some cases, there is speculation that the use of fungicides this year (even with little to no disease pressure in the fields) helped plant health just enough to allow the corn plants to better capitalize on the valuable August rains.“I have heard from some growers and field agronomists about the plant health benefits of fungicides this year. They didn’t have the disease pressure and they are seeing higher yields, but they are also seeing much higher moisture corn,” Thomison said. “Plant health and fungicides are a touchy issue. I have done work with this, along with plant pathologists, and it is frustrating. We have done the work for several years and not seen any benefits. Then, lo and behold, we have a year like this and we see a response. It would be nice if we knew under what conditions it worked. It is like shooting dice. You never know the year you’re going to see the benefits of these fungicides. When corn is $7 or $8 you can put it on as a risk management tool, but when corn is $3.50 it is a different story. The speculation is that the longer you keep that corn green, the more opportunity you have to extend the filling period for corn. If you kept that canopy alive longer this year it may have translated into higher yields with the rains.”Unfortunately, along with salvaging many otherwise disastrous yields, the rains in August brought with them a new set of challenges that would show up in the following weeks as harvest got started. The nearly dead corn plants that found new life were subject to a number of problems due to the unique conditions, including ear molds, sprouting and stalk quality concerns.“We had a whole range of molds. We started off thinking it was Diplodia, but some of the fields I saw had more Gibberella and some fields had Trichoderma. In all of my time here I have never seen Trichoderma as severe as it was this year in some fields.I think the ear rots are widespread around the state but they are also fairly localized,” Thomison said. “These problems have the potential to get much worse as harvest is delayed. In some fields with fairly mild problems, they could be showing more mold as we progress if harvest delays occur. Moldy ear problems just get worse until they are stored below 14%. The longer corn is out there the more it will lodge and deteriorate and contribute to the mold problems. Grain moisture is the biggest issue until it gets below freezing. With the temperature swings we have been seeing this fall we could see mold growth continue.”A number of factors contributed to the fairly widespread issue of ear molds in 2016.“Moldy ear problems were in some cases associated with the earliest planted corn. Often it was in early hybrids with early planting dates. It was hit with high temperatures during pollination and was under stress and then it was a combination of the hybrid susceptibility, maturity, the stress it received, and planting date. That is not black and white, but it is a pattern we have been seeing,” Thomison said. “A lot of the corn in our performance trials was planted after May 23. The earlier planted locations had more mold and it was more prevalent in the early hybrids. The pollination period was just a little earlier — before mid-May — and those earlier planted hybrids were more stressed. We’ve only seen mold present at one out of seven locations in our yield trials so far and lodging has been nearly absent from our fields.”Of course, with ear molds, mycotoxins can be a concern, especially when being fed to livestock.“Some of the corn that has no mold in it still can actually have elevated levels of mycotoxins too, according to OSU plant pathologists. If you are in fields with mold present you certainly want to take a second look at it before feeding,” Thomison said. “Some of the elevators and ethanol plants are looking for this right now in the counties where this has been the biggest problem.”Along with the molds, sprouting corn was more of an issue than normal this year.“We saw much more sprouting than we have in recent years. The fungi that infected the ears actuallyDiplodia. Photo by OSU Extension.stimulate the sprouting in the ear,” he said. “In some cases there were loose husks that allowed rainfall to get in while the ear was still upright and accumulate at the butt of the ear and we saw the sprouting at the butt if the ear. When we had molds at the tip of the ear sometimes we’d see the sprouting at the tip.”Another challenge that surfaced in 2016 corn was the surprising amount of damage from the western bean cutworm in supposedly resistant corn hybrids, particularly in northwest Ohio.“Western bean cutworm issues will be a major consideration because there really are not many hybrids out there with the trait that controls them and OSU entomologists are telling us we may have to consider insecticide applications in some situations to control them,” Thomison said.In terms of soybeans, the August rains made a tremendous difference with many farms statewide seeing some of their best average yields ever. Along with strong yields, though, were green stems and uneven maturation slowing harvest, splitting pods encouraging a faster harvest, and a growing concern about stink bug damage and other insect issues that showed up this year.last_img read more

Castro rues poor transition D, not his cold shooting, in loss to Globalport

first_imgLOOK: Venues for 2019 SEA Games Gavina blows his top after yet another Kia loss: ‘I’m tired of this’ UPLB exempted from SEA Games class suspension And these attempts were point blank floaters and layups that Castro, who finished with 15 points, usually makes.“Everybody has off nights but I think our mistake was our transition defense because once they get the ball we let them start running,” said Castro in Filipino.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThere were also some calls—or lack thereof—that seemed questionable for TNT but Casto would not comment on the officiating in the loss.“We can’t do anything about it, that was what the referees called so we just have to focus on the game next time around,” said Castro. LATEST STORIES View comments The KaTropa failed to stretch their winning streak to three with the loss as they dropped to 4-3. Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa MOST READ Catriona Gray spends Thanksgiving by preparing meals for people with illnessescenter_img PBA IMAGESANTIPOLO—–TNT point guard Jayson Castro had the coldest hands inside Ynares Sports Center in the KaTropa’s loss 119-112 loss to Globalport in the PBA Governors’ Cup.Castro went on a decent 5-of-12 clip from the field but missed multiple crucial shots in the fourth quarter when the KaTropa attempted to come back against the Batang Pier.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH SEA Games in Calabarzon safe, secure – Solcom chief Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Read Next WATCH: Streetboys show off slick dance moves in Vhong Navarro’s wedding Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games01:42Police: California school shooting took 16 seconds01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Gameslast_img read more

PBA D-League: Valencia-San Sebastian gets playoffs spot, outlast Metropac-San Beda in 2OT

first_imgDon’t miss out on the latest news and information. LATEST STORIES Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Allyn Bualnadi vs Pierre Tankoua. PBA IMAGESMANILA, Philippines—Valencia City Bukidnon-San Sebastian punched its ticket to the playoffs after a 96-92 comeback win in double overtime over Metropac-San Beda in the 2019 PBA D-League Tuesday at JCSGO Gym in Cubao.JM Calma made the game-sealing basket off a pass from Ken Villapando with 14.5 seconds left to give the Stags their sixth win in seven games.ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated MOST READ SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess View comments DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Boxing chiefs hit out at IOC over Tokyo threat “Everybody stepped up even the players who played limited minutes. Credit goes to the whole team. They were all composed in the last part of the game,” said San Sebastian coach Egay Macaraya in Filipino.Allyn Bulanadi led the way with 32 points, eight rebounds, five assists and five steals while RK Ilagan fired 31 points that went with six rebounds, five assists and four steals for the Stags, who trailed, 34-14, early. Calma finished with 12 points.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsIlagan nailed the game-tying basket with 41 ticks to go in regulation to force the first overtime.Donald Tankoua posted a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds for the Movers, who squandered a golden opportunity to secure a twice-to-beat edge and instead fell to third in the Foundation Group with a 6-2 record.last_img read more

Warriors’ new NBA Finals road goes to Canada

first_imgGolden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry smiles during practice for the NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors in Toronto, Wednesday, May 29, 2019. Game 1 of the NBA Finals is Thursday in Toronto. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP)TORONTO — Dynasty versus dinosaurs.The Golden State Warriors’ road to a fifth straight NBA Finals has detoured to a new destination — and this one requires a passport.ADVERTISEMENT The Toronto Raptors, a team that arrived in the NBA 24 years ago as the dinosaur-logoed basketball franchise in a hockey-loving country, have finally made it to the championship round and will host Game 1 on Thursday night.It’s the first time the finals will be played outside the U.S., a refreshing change after a record four straight seasons of the same matchup.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“Different for us obviously, having been in Cleveland four straight years, but this is more the rule. That was the exception,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “You’re not supposed to go to the finals four straight years and you’re definitely not, if you’re lucky enough to do that, you’re not supposed to play the same team four straight years.“This is more what the finals normally feel like, where you’re going against a team you frankly don’t know that well and that you haven’t seen that often over the previous few years.” Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Stephen Curry lived in Toronto when his father Dell played for the Raptors at the end of his career, but otherwise it’s a new feeling even for these Warriors, who are one of the most championship-experienced teams in NBA history.They joined the Boston Celtics from 1957-66 as the only teams to reach five straight NBA Finals, and are trying to become the first team to win three consecutive titles since the Los Angeles Lakers of 2000-02.Besides facing a different opponent for the first time during their run, the Warriors won’t have the luxury of starting the series at home for the first time. They also won’t have Kevin Durant for at least one more game, though none of that rattles a team that has played in 22 finals games in the last four years.“We have been here before,” Curry said. “We understand the hoopla and the pandemonium around the finals and how different things are when it comes to just the schedule and the vibe. So we have seen a lot and we’ll be ready for it.”The Raptors are new to this stage, but their players aren’t. Kawhi Leonard was MVP of the 2014 NBA Finals, when he and Danny Green won a title with San Antonio. Serge Ibaka made it to the finals with Oklahoma City in 2012, and even players such as Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol have played in Olympic finals.ADVERTISEMENT “Every possession from the jump ball,” he said, “competing, communicating, solving issues as we face them. Do not overreact to whatever.”ROOKIE RUNSKerr won a championship four years ago in his first season as an NBA head coach and now Nick Nurse can do the same. He was promoted last year after the Raptors fired Dwane Casey, and earlier in his career had been a head coach in both the NBA Development League and the British Basketball League.THREE-PEAT FOR NO. 3?Another title would be the Warriors’ seventh and move them into third place in NBA history behind only the Celtics (17) and Lakers (16).100 PERCENTCurry, already the career leading in NBA Finals 3-pointers, needs two more to reach the century mark.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIES ‘Rebel attack’ no cause for concern-PNP, AFP PDEA chief backs Robredo in revealing ‘discoveries’ on drug war Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday PLAY LIST 03:12Kevin Durant out with Achilles injury; to undergo MRI on Tuesday01:43Who are Filipinos rooting for in the NBA Finals?02:25Raptors or Warriors? PBA players take their pick of NBA champ02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss View comments Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue MOST READ Warriors’ plan for stopping Kawhi Leonard: Throw the whole kitchen at him Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Catholic schools seek legislated pay hike, too Two-day strike in Bicol fails to cripple transport DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. “It’s just the same basketball game,” Leonard said. “It’s 5-on-5. It’s still two hoops. So you just go out there and play hard and live with the results.”The Raptors had already moved away from their purple uniforms with the red dinosaur, and their reputation as a loser is extinct, too. They have won 50 games in four straight seasons and have the best record in the East over the last seven, but couldn’t get over the hump until this year, thanks largely to the acquisition of Leonard last summer.He hit the winning shot in Game 7 of the second round and then led Toronto’s charge back from a 2-0 deficit against Milwaukee in the conference finals to win four straight against the team with the NBA’s best record.They made history just by bringing the finals to Canada and the doorstep of their rowdy fans in Jurassic Park . But Lowry has more in mind.“For me it’s all about winning, and when you get to the point where you make it to the NBA Finals, you won but you still got more to do,” he said. “So getting here doesn’t do anything but getting here. We still want to try to win this.”Some other things to know abou the NBA Finals:WOUNDED WARRIORSDeMarcus Cousins (torn left quadriceps) may be ready to return but it could be a little longer for Durant (strained right calf). Kerr said the two-time NBA Finals MVP, already ruled out for Game 1, hasn’t practiced and would have to do so before returning.STRONG STARTERSGolden State has won 12 straight Game 1s, including all four in the NBA Finals since 2015, and Gasol was asked for Toronto’s key to getting the series off to a good start.last_img read more

Photo: Pitt’s “Oakland Zoo” Botched The Tyler Roberson Section Of Its Heckling Cheat Sheet

first_imgOakland Zoo messed up the Tyler Roberson section of its heckling cheap sheet.The Petersen Events Center is one of the hardest places to play in college basketball, and Pitt’s student section, the “Oakland Zoo,” is a big reason why. The Zoo is virtually on top of the court, and like many of the nation’s other top student sections, they get very creative with their heckling. Unfortunately, today doesn’t seem to be their day, at least when it comes to the “cheat sheet” for the game against rival Syracuse.The Oakland Zoo’s cheat sheet on the Syracuse players. Names of players’ girlfriends and moms! pic.twitter.com/VMrsBAxdC5— Syracuse Basketball (@syrbasketball) February 7, 2015Including mothers and girlfriends is a bit questionable, but the Zoo is far from the only student section to do that. However, the whole basis for taunts against starting forward Tyler Roberson is a mess.robersonzooIn its cheat sheet, the @OaklandZoo mocked Tyler Roberson for spelling his name wrong on Twitter. Problem is: the Zoo spelled it Robertson— Syracuse Basketball (@syrbasketball) February 7, 2015When making fun of someone for misspelling his own name, you should probably make sure you have it right first.last_img read more

I jumped at it Mikmaw firefighter tackles the big blaze

first_img(Gary Falkenham at work in Nova Scotia. Photo: Angel Moore/APTN)Angel MooreAPTN News SaturdayGary Falkenham finishes putting his gear away in a tall green locker at a fire station in Sheet Harbour, Nova Scotia.For Falkenham, fighting wildfires is his dream job.“I was the first Mi’kmaw to be trained to fight wildfires,” he says. “If I could preach anything to anyone, it would be to get into it because it’s a good career choice.”When he started, he had no experience and trained for three months.Four days after his training finished, he was on a plane heading west, to the other side of the country – to fight a raging wildfire in British Columbia.“The hardest thing was leaving the kids, that was the first time I’ve been away from the kids since they were born,” Falkenham told APTN News.“My wife was 100 per cent supportive, she was the one who said to go, it would be a great experience. I got to spend 14 days in the woods fighting fires, it was phenomenal,” Falkenham says.Falkenham, 36, has six children and has lived his entire life on a small piece of reserve land in Sheet Harbour on the Atlantic Ocean east of Halifax.The land is administered by the band council in the Millbrook First Nation 90 km to the north.Falkenham says his community has given him a lot of support.Millbrook Chief Bob Gloade says Falkenham is admired in the community.“As representative of the community, it is both an honor and a privilege to have somebody step up help other people in need, especially when it comes to a major disaster like this, going across the country, not only putting his life on the line,” says Gloade.Before last spring, Falkenham was a carpenter and a lobster buyer.“For the last eight or nine years I was the middle man, I worked directly from the fisherman, bought lobster and transported them,” he says.It was a good job, but he wanted to be in the woods and protect the environment.Three years ago, Falkenham decided he wanted to fight wildfires with a group called the Sustained Action Team.“They are the ones that travel, they save the woods. That is the team you have to be on to be exported across Canada to fight fires. But, I did not have a whole lot of fire experience.”When the job came up to work for the Department of Lands and Forestry of Nova Scotia, he knew it was a good career.“I jumped at it, I love being in the outdoors, the wilderness, hunt, trap, fish, and this job came up that I could spend time in the woods and that would be a perfect fit for me,” he said.His perseverance paid off.(Falkenham, right, at work on the Burns Lake fire in British Columbia.)Last spring Falkenham started training. He says a big part of why he got the job was his carpentry skills.“When we are not fighting fires, we do a lot of maintenance around buildings, camps, and parks.”Falkenham is part of the Sustained Action Team of Nova Scotia, a group of 40 specially trained wildfire fighters.Each province has a team that are sent to wherever they are needed during the fire season which is from April to September.Falkenham says last year the team went to Alberta, Manitoba, and Ontario.This year, four days after Falkenham finished his training, his team was called to the wildfires in B.C.They joined about 300 to 400 firefighters at a camp near Burns Lake.“Everyone does 14 to 20 days, some just arriving, leaving, people from everywhere. I didn’t know what to expect but the guys I worked with were excellent,” he says.Moments later, his mother Shelley arrives at the station.She is sporting a big smile, and gives her son a bigger hug.She says she was glad he became a fireman, but was worried that he was sent to a fire right after training.“I was happy for him, but the day that he flew, and I got a message from my cousin in B.C.  and they saw him on the news, I thought wow, he is really there.”(Gary’s mother Shelley says she’s happy for him but it took a bit to realize that he was actually in B.C. battling wildfires. Photo: Angel Moore/APTN)Falkenham says he didn’t have time to be scared.He says they started working right away. The days were 14 to 17 hours long, and by the time they returned to the camp they would eat and go to sleep.“First couple of days, we were going to scout out areas, but I was a little nervous because I was still new, and my experience was out of the textbooks,” he says. “But in the end, we went and started fighting the fire and I was more comfortable with that.”They fought the fire on the ground and did a lot of structure protection – attacking fires that were encroaching on homes.In the end, they didn’t lose one house to the fire.“It is hard to tell if we made progress, you are fighting a smaller picture inside a big picture, but we kept the fire back from the houses.”On their last day, they stopped at a local A&W and Falkenham remembers a local man came up to them.“He shook our hands and thanked us for saving his house,” he says. “I could hear the emotion in his voice so that was pretty cool. Makes you feel good.”Shelley says she’s had a lot of positive responses about Gary.“Everyone is saying they are proud, and he is a hero I got a lot of positive messages, and locally, people will go up to him and say you are doing good out there.”His chief agrees.“He is a great young man and definitely a role model in our community,” says Gloade.The job of a wildfire fighter is seasonal, the fire season ends in September and begins again in April.This suits Falkenham just fine.He says this will give him time to be a dad.“My kids are in hockey. Our winters are wrapped up at the rink. My family is the most important thing in my life. I hope to be a good role model for them and my community,” he says.amoore@aptn.ca@angelharksenlast_img read more