AuthorTopic: 🔥 The New World of Wildfires  (Read 35915 times)

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Bet they save the Mansions in Beverly Hills!

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Offline John of Wallan

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Re: 🔥 The New World of Wildfires
« Reply #271 on: August 21, 2020, 09:49:56 PM »
Deja vu.

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🔥 California's Creek Fire forces evacuations and burns thousands of acres
« Reply #272 on: September 07, 2020, 12:01:05 AM »
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🔥 California Wildfires: Extreme Heat Turns State Into a Furnace
« Reply #273 on: September 08, 2020, 06:04:47 AM »
https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/07/us/ca-wildfires-heatwave.html

California Wildfires: Extreme Heat Turns State Into a Furnace

Fires burning from near the Mexico border to the forests of the Sierra Nevada spread a curtain of smoke over California on Monday.


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transcript
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Wildfires Blaze Across California
Fire crews faced wildfires from near the Mexico border to the Sierra Nevada that burned thousands of acres and spread thick smoke throughout the state.

    “Yeah, we copy.” “You guys are taking too much heat. You’ve got to get out.” “Guys, we’re making our way from the top of Carveacre [Road]. I need to re-up on water.”

Fire crews faced wildfires from near the Mexico border to the Sierra Nevada that burned thousands of acres and spread thick smoke throughout the state.CreditCredit...Josh Edelson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

By Jack Healy, Kate Taylor and Ivan Penn

    Published Sept. 7, 2020
    Updated Sept. 8, 2020, 12:14 a.m. ET

It was an old company town tucked away in the Sierra Nevada, where life revolved around shifts at the Edison hydroelectric plant. Neighbors visited at the post office and had coffee at a general store that smoked its own meats. And every wildfire season, the threat of destruction loomed like the granite rock faces towering over their town.

On Monday, residents of Big Creek, Calif., population 200, began coming to grips with the reality that this time much of their tiny community in the Sierra National Forest northeast of Fresno had burned.

“We lost our home,” said Nettie Carroll, 40, who taught science and has lived in the area for 16 years. “It looks like everything is completely gone.”

As California endures one of its worst wildfire seasons ever, a new rash of fires stoked by extreme heat has destroyed homes, cloaked much of the state in smoke, forced thousands of people to evacuate and threatened another round of rolling blackouts. One of the fires, a 7,000-acre blaze in San Bernardino County erupted after a family set off a “smoke-generating pyrotechnic device” to announce their baby’s sex.

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Late Monday night, military Chinook helicopters were reported to be attempting to rescue more people stranded behind the fire lines but were being thwarted by heavy smoke.

The Fresno Fire Department said on Twitter that choppers were trying to rescue people around Edison Lake, a popular camping and recreation spot in the Sierra National Forest, but smoke was preventing a safe approach. The Fire Department said the pilots would try again during the night using night-vision equipment.

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Battalion Chief Tony Escobedo of the Fresno Fire Department said that one death had been reported, but there were no additional details.

Big Creek residents who fled the galloping Creek Fire over the weekend said that more than a dozen homes had been incinerated. The Creek Fire had burned 135,000 acres by Tuesday and was zero percent contained, according to Cal Fire, the state fire agency.

From hotel rooms in Fresno and Modesto or family members’ spare bedrooms where they had fled, Big Creek’s evacuees spent Monday sending one another photographs of flames and char and comparing notes on what had survived and what had not.

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The school, which has just 47 students, appeared to suffer some damage but was still standing, residents said. They said the community church, volunteer fire department and post office all apparently survived.

The fire forced workers to evacuate the 1,000 megawatt Big Creek hydroelectric project, which can power 650,000 homes and was America’s first large-scale pumped hydro plant of its kind with the ability to produce power and store electricity. There was no immediate indication the plant had been damaged.

As the fire raged, a single worker at the plant remained in the area to help feed firefighters at the Shaver Lake Community Center before leaving Sunday as conditions worsened, said David Song, an Edison spokesman.

Chris Donnelly, the fire chief in nearby Huntington Lake, said one of the biggest challenges now was getting basic information about the fire's spread and how wind and weather were hampering efforts to contain it. Five cabins burned in his community.

“Cellphones are down, all the landlines are down,” Chief Donnelly said. “My assistant chief has to drive to the top of a ski lift in order to get a cell tower. It’s really hard to know what’s going on.”
ImageThe Creek Fire burns in the Sierra National Forest, Sunday, near Big Creek, Calif.
The Creek Fire burns in the Sierra National Forest, Sunday, near Big Creek, Calif.Credit...Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

With extreme heat roasting California on Monday, fire crews faced another difficult day.

Similar scenes were unfolding across parched Western states. A fire burned 70 to 80 percent of the homes in the tiny town of Malden, Wash., south of Spokane, Whitman County sheriff’s officers told KXLY News.

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Record-setting temperatures eased slightly on Monday from a day earlier, but highs in Southern California were predicted to soar above 110 degrees, and meteorologists warned residents from Los Angeles to the San Francisco Bay Area to guard against another day of oppressive heat and dangerously foul air.

The triple-digit temperatures and the Creek Fire nearly overwhelmed Southern California Edison’s electric system, threatening outages as people turned up their air-conditioners and sought refuge at cooling centers.

The electricity demand in Southern California broke records at Edison, the state’s second largest investor-owned utility. Saturday’s electricity use reached 22,877 megawatts, beating the previous record of 21,092 megawatts on July 22, 2006. Then on Sunday, electricity demand topped the day before, setting a record for Edison at 23,066.

The California Independent System Operator, which manages 80 percent of the state’s electricity system, said during a news conference on Monday that cooler temperatures had eased demand but wildfires and strong winds were still causing concern.

The agency issued its third straight day of alerts on Monday to conserve electricity as temperatures remained high and fires engulfed areas near electrical equipment.
30 mi.
50 km.
© Mapbox © OpenStreetMap
California

Source: California State Government. Data as of Sept. 7.

High in the Sierra Nevada and 200 feet below Shaver Lake, the Edison plant has long been the center of life in Big Creek. Workers lived in Edison-owned houses and sent their children to the local school, which served kindergartners through eighth graders. High schoolers had to take a 90-minute bus ride to the nearest school.

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“It was like a little throwback to the 1950s,” said Erik Larson, a pastor at the community church. “It’s an oasis. You’re up in the mountains. It was just a great place.”

As the fire grew closer, Mr. Larson and his family left early Saturday morning after he cleared brush and wood away from the parsonage where they lived and hosed down the decks and perimeter of the building.

They brought just two days’ worth of clothing because the fire still did not seem like a huge threat, but later learned that the parsonage was one of the structures that had burned down. He and other residents who lost homes said they had been flooded with offers of help.

“People around us have really rallied,” he said. “We’re just not sure what to do next.”

Barbara Krueger, 79, whose father worked for Edison, moved to Big Creek when she was in high school and said residents there were more like family than neighbors. Almost all the fathers worked at Edison, while the women organized the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and other activities. When she was in high school, she and her classmates spent the week in a dormitory and came home on Friday evening because of the long commute.

“The women worked together, the men worked together, and when we got to high school, we were all living together,” Ms. Krueger, who now lives in Michigan, said. “We were more like brothers and sisters.”

Ms. Krueger’s nephew, Toby Wait, who had grown up near Big Creek, in recent years took a job as the principal and superintendent of the elementary school. His house was one of those that had burned.

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John Vasquez, one of the custodians at Big Creek Elementary, said that the school building had been damaged by the fire but had survived. But he said four of the six homes for school employees, including his own, had burned.

Mr. Vasquez had moved to Big Creek as a child because his stepfather worked for the U.S. Forest Service, and had come back a year ago to take the job at the school.

He said he had wanted to raise his children in a place where he felt comfortable letting them go outside and not come home until evening, knowing that if anything happened, one of his neighbors would immediately call him.

“You have the ability to allow your children to still be children,” he said.

The surrounding area is also a popular summertime retreat of cabins, campgrounds and camps for scouts and church groups, but it became a fiery trap over the weekend.

Alec Ziff, 26, and Nick Meyers, 32, who both live in Santa Monica, had gone camping at Mammoth Pool Reservoir for the weekend to celebrate Mr. Ziff’s birthday. But what was supposed to be a relaxing weekend turned into a 30-hour ordeal of waiting to be rescued after the roads were blocked by wreckage from the fires.

Military helicopters landed on Saturday night and evacuated most of the roughly 200 people who had been trapped at the reservoir, but Mr. Ziff and Mr. Meyers assumed the helicopters were for people who had been burned, so they stayed behind with roughly 15 other people.

So many people had left belongings behind that they weren’t worried about food or water, they said. But by Sunday morning, the smoke had become suffocating, and in the late afternoon, they lost cell service.

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“We were essentially beyond stranded,” Mr. Ziff said.

He was overjoyed when, in the evening, he saw three people with flashlights, who turned out to be from the U.S. Forest Service, walking down the hill from the parking lot. They had cleared the road, which had been blocked by burned trees and cars, and they led the stranded campers in a car caravan on a three-hour trip over back roads to Bass Lake. Mr. Ziff and Mr. Meyers then went to a Red Cross center in Oakhurst, and they were given a hotel room in Oakhurst.

By the time they got to their hotel, it was midnight, and Mr. Ziff’s birthday. They celebrated with a few beers and a shower.

“The best part of it was the shower,” Mr. Meyers said.

Christina Morales contributed reporting.               
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🔥 Bear Fire: Evacuations grow overnight on North Complex
« Reply #274 on: September 09, 2020, 12:30:10 PM »
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