AuthorTopic: 🔥 The New World of Wildfires  (Read 1302 times)

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Another new record!


Mendocino Complex fire grows to become largest wildfire in California history
At more than 443 square miles, the Mendocino Complex fire surpassed the Thomas Fire in December as the state's largest in recorded history.
by Tim Stelloh / Aug.06.2018 / 7:04 PM ET / Updated Aug.06.2018 / 7:44 PM ET

Image: Mendocino Complex Fire
Alex Schenck carries a water bucket while fighting to save his home as the Ranch Fire tears down New Long Valley Road near Clearlake Oaks, California, on Saturday.Noah Berger / AFP - Getty Images

A wildfire burning through Northern California became the state’s largest on record on Monday, scorching more than 283,000 acres, officials said.

The Mendocino Complex blaze — a conglomerate of two separate fires burning through rural Lake, Colusa and Mendocino counties — overtook last year’s Thomas Fire, which scorched more than 1,000 buildings and killed two people across 440 square miles in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties.

The fire began on July 27 and was spurred on Monday by an ominous high-pressure system that brought hotter, drier and windier weather to the area, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

The fire has destroyed dozens of homes and other buildings, and more than 11,000 structures remained threatened, the department said.

Mandatory evacuations remained in effect across Mendocino, Lake and nearby Colusa counties, though some people were allowed to return home on Monday afternoon, Cal Fire said.
Mendocino Complex fire the fifth largest in California history
Fire in Mendocino Complex the fifth largest in CA history

Nearly 4,000 fire personnel, including 441 fire fighters, were battling the wildfire.

It was unclear what caused the blaze, but the fire was one of more than a dozen burning amid record-setting heat waves in the drought-stricken state, according to Cal Fire. Tens of thousands of residents across California have been displaced by wildfires this season, Gov. Jerry Brown told reporters Saturday.

President Donald Trump declared a state of emergency in California on July 27, authorizing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help firefighters working to respond to the disaster areas.2

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Never let a good disaster go to waste...


Trump's minions are using California wildfires as excuse to attack endangered species protections

By Michael Hiltzik
Aug 08, 2018 | 2:15 PM

Smoke from the Northern California fires drifts over land and sea in a view taken from space on Tuesday. (NASA)

Just two days after President Trump issued an utterly uninformed tweet about the causes of the California wildfires, his ulterior motives began to come into focus.

That happened through an order issued Wednesday by Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to the National Marine Fisheries Service and its parent agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Both fall under Ross’ jurisdiction.
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The order directs the agencies to “facilitate access to the water needed to fight the ongoing wildfires affecting the State of California.” It then gives the game away by making specific reference to the federal Endangered Species Act: “Consistent with the emergency consultation provisions under the ESA, Federal agencies may use any water as necessary to protect life and property in the affected areas,” the order says.

Secretary Ross’s directive is nothing more than a smokescreen designed to weaken these protections...necessary to keep these native fish from going extinct.
Kate Poole, NRDC
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Environmental experts aren’t buying Ross’ statement.

“Secretary Ross’s directive is nothing more than a smokescreen designed to weaken these protections that NMFS’s scientists determined are necessary to keep these native fish from going extinct,” Kate Poole of the Natural Resources Defense Council said after the statement was issued. “It’s almost like the extinction of these creatures is their real goal, so that they no longer have to leave any water in rivers, but can divert it all to corporate agribusiness.”

Here’s the context: Trump on Monday issued what we called a “strikingly ignorant” tweet blaming the wildfires on “bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized.” We observed that this seemed to conflate two issues.

One is the long-term whining by growers in the Central Valley, a Republican stronghold, that environmental rules (including the Endangered Species Act) have forced the diversion of water they want for irrigation into rivers. The river flows are needed to protect fish and fisheries, and are required under federal law and in accordance with court rulings.


In a strikingly ignorant tweet, Trump gets almost everything about California wildfires wrong
Aug 06, 2018 | 10:35 AM

The other issue is water for fighting the wildfires. As numerous expert sources have made plain, there is no shortage of water for this purpose. Major reservoirs are fully accessible to the fire zones and they’re at or near historical capacities.

“At this point, water supply hasn’t affected any of our operations,” Mike Mohler, deputy director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire, told me Wednesday. The key factors in the intensity and spread of the fires are, as before, “hot and dry weather conditions.”

Ross’ statement made specific mention of the Mendocino Complex fire, which he noted “has developed into the largest in the state’s history, consuming nearly 300,000 acres in Northern California.” But the Mendocino Complex fire is immediately adjacent to Clear Lake, a major reservoir. Mohler said fire fighters have been drawing water from Clear Lake without any limitations.

The Mendocino Complex fire nearly surrounds Clear Lake reservoir, raising questions about why the Trump administration thinks there's no water to fight the fire. (Jon Schleuss / Los Angeles Times)

The Commerce Department didn’t immediately respond to my inquiry about what Ross has in mind, or what actions could be taken by NOAA and the fisheries service to respond to the current emergency. But Ross’ reference to the Endangered Species Act strongly suggests that he intends to bootstrap the wildfires into serving the administration’s existing efforts to undermine the act for the benefit of its cronies in Central Valley agriculture.


California's salmon industry fears it will be wiped out by Trump
Aug 03, 2018 | 12:30 PM

It’s also plausible that the federal government is trying to circumvent regulations governing the storage of water in the federally-controlled Shasta Lake, the state’s largest reservoir. The rules are designed to protect salmon smolt in the Sacramento River, more than 95% of which were destroyed in 2014 and 2015 by releases of water that was too warm for them to survive.

Regulations put in place after that disaster required water to be held in storage to the end of the year, so more cold water is available for the young salmon. But that reduces the water available for irrigation during the fall. Conceivably, Ross’s order could allow the reservoir to release water now—a boon to farmers, but a calamity for the salmon fishery. Importantly, releasing water now would do nothing to assist fire fighters.

As we’ve reported, the Bureau of Reclamation, an Interior Department agency, has proposed changes in both state and federal water projects to “maximize water deliveries” to non-environmental users and consider “modifications to regulatory requirements” established by the biological opinions.

Meanwhile, the Interior and Commerce departments have jointly proposed changes in the federal Endangered Species Act that would shrink the roster of species granted legal protections and loosen the rules protecting those that remain on the list.

Ross’ order certainly looks like a transparent attempt to expand that campaign. Ross hinted as much. His order not only directed NOAA to “facilitate the use of water for this emergency,” but stated that “going forward, the Department and NOAA are committed to finding new solutions to address threatened and endangered species in the context of the challenging water management situation in California.”

That certainly sounds like plans to shrink protections for threatened and endangered species by invoking all aspects of the “water management situation” in the state — including serving the growers. Anyone concerned with trying to fashion rational water policy in the face of politically self-interested interference out of Washington should take heed. The Trump administration just signaled that it will stop at nothing, no matter how illogical.

3:05 p.m.: This post has been updated with comments from Cal Fire and Kate Poole of the NRDC.

5:44 p.m.: This post has been updated with information about wager releases from Lake Shasta.
Michael Hiltzik
Michael Hiltzik
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Michael Hiltzik writes a daily blog appearing on His business column appears in print every Sunday, and occasionally on other days. As a member of the Los Angeles Times staff, he has been a financial and technology writer and a foreign correspondent. He is the author of six books, including “Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age” and “The New Deal: A Modern History.” Hiltzik and colleague Chuck Philips shared the 1999 Pulitzer Prize for articles exposing corruption in the entertainment industry.

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🔥 Holy Fire, Batman!
« Reply #17 on: August 10, 2018, 01:21:34 AM »

Go to the Link to see all the Vids.


Holy Fire chars 10,236 acres as it moves close to homes in Lake Elsinore-Corona area
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The Holy Fire exploded to more than 10,200 acres on Thursday and moves dangerously close to homes in Riverside County's Lake Elsinore-Corona area.
By John Gregory and Rob McMillan
Thursday, August 09, 2018 10:04PM
The Holy Fire exploded to more than 10,200 acres on Thursday and moved dangerously close to homes in Riverside County's Lake Elsinore-Corona area.

The brush fire, located in the Cleveland National Forest, remained at 5 percent containment on its fourth day.

Late Thursday evening, Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency for Orange and Riverside counties as the fire raged on and expanded in size. By 8 p.m., the fire went from 9,600 acres to 10,236 acres.

A smoke-filled sky blanketed communities in the Lake Elsinore area in the early morning hours. More than 1,000 firefighters remained on the front lines as the Holy Fire continued to burn toward Horsethief Canyon, Cow Canyon and McVicker Drainage, north of Lake Elsinore. Ten helicopters and seven fixed-wing aircraft assisted firefighters.

There's a possibility of monsoonal flow, which may contribute to an increase in relative humidity and cool temperatures slightly, according to fire officials. Although the weather is slightly more favorable than in the past three days, flames got closer to homes away from Orange County and more to the northeast.

A wall of Phos-Chek was painted for miles to protect houses near Crystal Ridge Court.

"It's got a nice, little pink tone to it. It actually looks a little better than it did when they originally dropped it. It was super red, but it's OK, I'd rather have to deal with this than have to rebuild an entire new house," said Lake Elsinore resident P.J. Rodriguez.

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Smoke and ash caused areas of the Temescal Valley to get really dark as the hillsides burned and threatened homes in the area.

In the McVicker Canyon area, firefighters worked quickly and hard to save dozens of homes as flames raced up the brush right against the backyard fences.

Firefighters and residents who remained in their homes at the last minute either fled or continued to hose down their homes.

Many residents said it's been rough watching the flames get so close to their home and even hearing the fire roaring through the vegetation.

Rudy, a Riverside firefighter who had just come off the frontlines, said he watched as the flames moved into his own backyard in the Temescal Valley.

"We do our due diligence to protect those homes, but being here there's nothing I can really do. I don't have my apparatus or my crew. But I do trust the local agencies, Cal Fire, OCFA doing their jobs, so I feel safe," he said.

He added that some manmade preventions such as a quarry and construction helps to keep the fire from quickly moving in.

Outbuildings, trailers and vehicles reportedly were damaged by flames in the Cow Canyon Area, which is west of Echo Canyon Court in Lake Elsinore.

Some homes appeared to sustain damage as well at the end of Towee Lane, near a Korean Church retreat.

Officials had lowered the acreage of the fire to 3,399 acres on Tuesday but raised it to 6,200 acres Wednesday afternoon. The size then exploded to 9,614 acres, Cleveland National Forest officials announced Thursday.

No major injuries have been reported. Twelve structures were destroyed on the Orange County side. So far, no homes have been destroyed on the Lake Elsinore-Corona side.

The official cause of the fire remains unknown but on Wednesday, authorities arrested 51-year-old Forrest Gordon Clark on suspicion of felony arson among other charges in connection to the blaze. He was charged Thursday morning and failed to appear in court.

The flames caused a smoke advisory to be issued for Orange and parts of Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Those who have not been forced to evacuate are being urged to limit outdoor activity.

Mandatory evacuations:

- McVicker Canyon, Rice Canyon, Horsethief Canyon, El Cariso, Rancho Capistrano, Blue Jay, Indian Canyon, Glen Eden, Sycamore Creek and Mayhew Canyon.

- All homes on the mountainside of Lake Street and southwest of Grand Avenue to Ortega Highway.

A care and reception center is available at Temescal Canyon High School, 28755 El Toro Rd Lake Elsinore CA 92532 for residents. There is also an evacuation center at the San Juan Hills High School, located at 29211 Stallion Ridge, San Juan Capistrano.

Voluntary evacuation warnings:

- Highway 74 (Ortega Highway) west from Lookout Restaurant to Nichols Institute and all connecting roads in the communities of Rancho Capistrano, El Cariso Village and Blue Jay. Residents are advised to exit west to Orange County to avoid fire equipment coming up on the Elsinore side.

-Highway 74 eastbound is also closed.

School closures:

-All Menifee Union District and Perris High School Union schools announced they would shut down Thursday, citing the poor air quality.

-Other schools that are closed are from the Lake Elsinore Unified School District School include: Luiseno School, Rice Canyon Elementary, Terra Cota Middle School and Withrow Elementary. District officials said they will be closed until further notice.

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The latest on evacuations and closures due to the Holy Fire near Riverside and Orange counties.

The fire has been burning since Monday, when it was first reported around 1:30 p.m. near Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Creek roads - across the main divide between Orange and Riverside counties.

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🔥 'Extreme' Delta Fire grows to 5,000 acres, forces I-5 closure
« Reply #18 on: September 06, 2018, 03:53:12 AM »
'Extreme' Delta Fire grows to 5,000 acres, forces I-5 closure

'Extreme' Delta Fire grows to 5,000 acres, forces I-5 closure
Steve Kiggins, USA TODAY Published 2:34 a.m. ET Sept. 6, 2018 | Updated 5:21 a.m. ET Sept. 6, 2018
Delta Fire next to I-5 near Redding

(Photo: Damon Arthur/Record Searchlight)

A fast-moving wildfire in northern California forced the closure of dozens of miles of the Pacific Coast’s primary interstate in both directions and suspended Amtrak service into Oregon on Wednesday night.

The human-caused Delta Fire is burning on both sides of Interstate 5 north of Lakehead in California’s Shasta County, which, earlier this summer, was ravaged by the deadly Carr Fire near Redding. The fire, which had consumed 5,000 acres as of 9:58 p.m. PST, had gathered strength from “mixed conifer and decadent brush with no recent fire history and heavy dead and down surface fuels,” according to Inciweb.

Fire officials didn't say whether the blaze was arson or accidental.

Carr Fire: Aerial view of California fire destruction shows extent of devastation in Redding area

Related: Fireproof homes could be the answer to massive wildfires across the West

Truckers abandoned their vehicles as the fire gained momentum. In a video, a passenger in a vehicle screams: “Oh my God, I want to go!” as trees burst into flames and sheets of fire blaze on the side of the roadway.
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About 17 big-rigs were abandoned and at least four caught fire, Lt. Cmdr. Kyle Foster of the California Highway Patrol’s Mount Shasta office told the Los Angeles Times.

U.S. Forest Service workers helped the driver of one burning truck to safety and firefighters were among those who assisted other drivers.

“There’s vehicles scattered all over,” Brandon Vaccaro wit the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told the Redding Record-Searchlight, part of the USA TODAY Network. “Whatever occurred here was probably pretty ugly for a while.”

The only continuous highway to touch the borders of Mexico and Canada, I-5 was shut down 10 miles north of Redding to a point south of Mount Shasta. There was no timetable, as of Wednesday night for the interstate’s reopening.

The fire, reported at 12:51 p.m., was zero percent contained on Wednesday night, with fire crews listing its behavior as "extreme."

While the Delta Fire was not an immediate threat to any of the area’s larger cities and towns, the wildfire had destroyed abandoned trucks and forced evacuations for residents adjacent to the interstate to the border of neighboring Siskiyou County, the Redding Record Searchlight reported.

The city of Dunsmuir was placed under an evacuation warning late Wednesday night, with the fire burning about 15 miles away, according to the Record-Searchlight.

In a Facebook Live video from near the fire, CHP Patrol Sgt. Tim Hinkson said, “It’s just going to be a mess out there on I-5.”

On the freeway’s closure, Hinkson said, “It’s just too dangerous to let cars go through there.”

Amtrak's Coast Starlight service, which runs from Sacramento to Klamath Falls, would resume when "conditions safely permit," a company spokesperson told the Record-Searchlight via email.

The Delta Fire sparked just six days after full containment of the Carr Fire, which killed eight people, destroyed more than 1,600 structures and burned nearly 230,000 acres over five weeks. The sixth-most destructive wildfire in Golden State history cost nearly $160 million in suppression efforts.

At one point, the Carr Fire jumped the Sacramento River and encroached on Redding, the region’s largest city, forcing mandatory widespread evacuations and knocking out power.


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