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“Fueled by Climate Change, Wildfires Threaten Toxic Superfund Sites”

“Blazes at the imperiled hazardous waste sites could release toxins ranging from acid mine drainage to radioactive smoke.”

“For Jake Jeresek, a leader of the U.S. Forest Service’s firefighting operation in the Kootenai National Forest of northwest Montana, blazes in the woods 4 miles east of the town of Libby demand the most urgent response. But, before his crew can snuff any flames in those woods, they must recite a poem.

“When the sunlight strikes raindrops in the air, they act like a tiny prism and form a rainbow,” crew members intone in turn.

The poem is a test of the firefighters’ respirators — a piece of safety equipment required in no other forest in the nation. The verse’s vocalizations ensure the respirators are properly sealed to the firefighters’ faces. “

Michael Kodas and David Hasemyer report for Inside Climate News December 23, 2020.