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A firefighter killed in California’s largest wildfire in state history was hit by an 87-foot tree that got uprooted in a fire-suppressant drop that went wrong





A firefighter lost his life battling the largest fire in California history last month in a series of events that began when an air tanker dropped thousands of gallons of flame-suppressant over some treetops, a report from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said.

The Boeing 747 air tanker mistakenly flew too close to the ground. The fire-suppressant that it dropped hit some trees beneath it with such tremendous force that it uprooted an 87-foot tree, which landed on 42-year-old Matthew Burchett, a fire battlion chief from Utah, the report found.

Another large tree fell over from the impact of nearly 20,000 gallons of liquid, injuring three other firemen from Burchett’s crew, The Associated Press reported Friday.

Burchett and the other firefighters were assigned to create a boundary designed to prevent the fire from spreading when the air-drop was announced over a radio, telling firefighters to “Clear the area out.” No one from Burchett’s crew responded to the warning, though the report says that “when personnel are working under a tree canopy, supervisors must ensure the drop path is cleared.”

When battling a large fire, bulldozers and hand crews are often tasked with clearing trees in surrounding areas so there’s no grass or fuel to feed the flames. Dropping retardant on these areas makes it harder for the fire to spread.

The pilot of the 747 mistakenly released the fire-suppressant too close to the ground because the thick trees and dense brush prevented the pilot from noticing that the plane was flying over a hill.

“The rise in elevation resulted in the retardant drop only being approximately 100 feet above the treetops at the accident site,” the report notes.

The Mendocino Complex Fire, which started in late July just north of San Francisco. It burned more than 450,000 acres.


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Kenya: Tuju Tells Judges Not to Undermine President Kenyatta




Jubilee Secretary-General Raphael Tuju has sensationally warned High Court judges not to ‘frustrate’ the government that offers them ‘protection’.

While speaking in an interview with NTV, the seasoned politician, who also is a Cabinet Secretary without a portfolio reminded the judges that they depend on the same government they were reportedly fighting and frustrating.

“Judges should learn the word ‘interdependence’ because as soon as they finish a ruling, they need policemen to escort them home as guards or drivers. The world is much more complicated. We are a little more humble than the judges who say this is what is, period! If you don’t like it, period!”

His sentiments came a few days after a five-judge bench declared the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) irregular, illegal and unconstitutional.

The BBI bill is considered a brainchild of President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga. It seeks to, among others, change the constitution so as to allow the increase in funding at the grassroots and increase political positions within the executive.

Tuju meanwhile also called out the judges for not respecting the head of state saying that the “High Court judges were not courteous to the President by referring to him as ‘Mr’, and also limiting his powers in his role as a symbol of national unity.

“The judges who ruled on this matter and even insinuated that the President has no say on this matter, I would call it selective reading of a constitution. In Article 10 of the constitution, the President has the responsibility for national unity.”

Justices Teresia Matheka, Joel Ngugi, George Odunga, Jairus Ngaah, and Chacha Mwita – on Thursday, May 13 in a landmark case ruled that the BBI initiative was unconstitutional and that President Uhuru Kenyatta failed to respect, uphold and safeguard the Constitution by initiating a referendum.

Tuju also stressed the President listens to legal advice from his team before speaking.

“The President is the President of the whole country. It is wise that he listens to his legal advisers before he talks about this. When it comes to the court, we have to navigate very carefully,” he said.

Law Society of Kenya President Nelson Havi responded to Tuju’s sentiments by warning him that Kenya was not the Uganda of the 1970s.


“Raphael Tuju, hear and get me loud and clear. Your behaviour seems to know no limit. Judges volunteer to serve in an Arm of Government. Their security is not a privilege but a right. This is not the Uganda of the 1970s. Cross that line again and you will live to regret it,” he warned.

In the hard-hitting ruling, the judges singled out multiple legal blunders that President Kenyatta committed in his desire for law reforms.

They said the Head of State made a fatal legal mistake in attempting to change the Constitution through a popular initiative, an avenue that is not available to him.

They also ruled that the BBI constitutional committee, a body created by the president, was illegal, adding that Mr Kenyatta had failed the leadership and integrity test.

They warned that the president could be sued in his personal capacity.

The judgement was arguably the most significant ruling by Kenyan courts since Mr Kenyatta’s election win was nullified in 2017.