AuthorTopic: 🔥 The New World of Wildfires  (Read 47754 times)

Offline RE

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🔥 The New World of Wildfires
« on: September 14, 2017, 12:24:13 AM »

Dahr Jamail | Welcome to the New World of Wildfires
Saturday, September 09, 2017 By Dahr Jamail, Truthout | Report

The Pacific Northwest has been engulfed in wildfire smoke from Montana, British Columbia, Eastern Washington and Oregon for much of this summer. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)The Pacific Northwest has been engulfed in wildfire smoke from Montana, British Columbia, Eastern Washington and Oregon for much of this summer. (Photo: Dahr Jamail)

When one envisions the US Pacific Northwest, one thinks of green ferns, moss-covered trees in Olympic National Park, or the Hoh Rainforest, where annual rainfall is measured in the hundreds of inches. Moisture, greenery, evergreens, abundant rivers. It's a large part of the reason why I live here.

But thanks to abrupt anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD), this region is shifting at a rapid pace. On the Olympic Peninsula where I live, this has been the summer of wildfire smoke.

As I write this, Puget Sound, Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula, are all engulfed by thick wildfire smoke and ash from fires burning in Eastern Washington and Montana. A local Seattle weatherman remarked that he had "never seen a situation like this."

Washington Gov. Jay Inslee declared a state of emergency for his entire state on Saturday September 2.

Smoke from various wildfires has been a near-constant in this part of the country for the past month. Roughly a week ago, we were enshrouded by smoke from multiple wildfires across Oregon, and before that, we spent nearly two weeks breathing in thick smoke from the over 1,000 wildfires that scorched British Columbia up the coast from us.

To see more stories like this, visit "Planet or Profit?"

Stepping outside, the world appears a surreal yellow. The sun varies from not being visible, to emerging as a yellowish orange bulb even during the middle of the day. When it sets, it has often appeared blood red through the thick smoke.

NASA satellite photos show the smoke plume even reaching the East Coast.

Given past and recent scientific reports, this is apparently the world we, and much of the rest of the United States, had better prepare to live in from now on.

Extreme Heat, Extreme Drought

The smoke plume from all of these fires, at the time of this writing, extends from up into British Columbia all the way down into central Oregon.

A wildfire outside Portland has forced hundreds of residents to evacuate while it burned out of control in the Columbia River Gorge. That is just one of 81 wildfires burning across the US at the time of this writing, with 20 of those fires in Oregon alone.

Climate researchers have been warning us for a long time that increasing temperatures and more intense droughts will logically cause dramatic escalations in the number, heat and ferocity of wildfires.

A study published earlier this year showed that human-caused greenhouse gas emissions have increased the likelihood of extreme heat events across more than 80 percent of the planet.

Last fall, researchers published the results of a study that showed ACD accounted for approximately half of the increase in wildfire fuel aridity (forest dryness) in the Western US since just 1979, causing the area of the US West affected by forest fires to double in size since 1984.

According to Inside Climate News: "Nine of the 10 worst fire seasons in the past 50 years have all happened since 2000, and 2015 was the worst fire season in U.S. history, surpassing 10 million acres for the first time on record. So far this year, wildfires in the US have burned 7.8 million acres, but the fire season is far from over. The average fire season is 78 days longer than it was in the 1970s and now lasts nearly seven months -- beginning and extending beyond the typical heat of summer. By April of this year, wildfires had scorched more than 2 million acres in the US -- nearly the average consumed in an entire fire season during the 1980s.

Extreme Heat

When it comes to hot weather -- and relatedly, fire -- this has been a summer for the record books in the West. During the first week of September, San Francisco saw a stunning record high temperature of 106°F, amid a heatwave that saw 36.5 million Californians (98 percent of the state population) living under a heat advisory issued by the National Weather Service.

Earlier this month, Los Angeles saw its largest wildfire on record scorch 7,000 acres before rains from a remnant tropical storm helped firefighters get the upper hand.

Yale Environment 360 warned of this likelihood last December. The magazine, published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, reported that as the Arctic continues to warm twice as fast as the rest of the globe, winds in the upper atmosphere would be pulled into the polar zone and cause the jet stream to become wavier during extreme weather patterns. This is a more technical explanation for the fact that, as another study warned in March, these new weather patterns will generate record heatwaves and wildfires -- precisely what we are seeing now across the West.

And given that there are no serious, large-scale ACD mitigation efforts happening, least of all within the United States, we can count on these trends to amplify and worsen with time.
Copyright, Truthout. May not be reprinted without permission.
Dahr Jamail

Dahr Jamail, a Truthout staff reporter, is the author of The Will to Resist: Soldiers Who Refuse to Fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (Haymarket Books, 2009), and Beyond the Green Zone: Dispatches From an Unembedded Journalist in Occupied Iraq (Haymarket Books, 2007). Jamail reported from Iraq for more than a year, as well as from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Turkey over the last 10 years, and has won the Martha Gellhorn Award for Investigative Journalism, among other awards.

His third book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with William Rivers Pitt, is available now on Amazon.

Dahr Jamail is also the author of the book, The End of Ice, forthcoming from The New Press. He lives and works in Washington State.
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« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 12:39:03 AM by RE »
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 01:03:17 AM »

January 2, 2018

by John Davis

Photo by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center | CC BY 2.0

On December 22nd the skies over Southern California lit up with the afterburn of a Space-X rocket, launched from Vandenberg Air Force base, a few miles north of Point Conception – its spent hydrocarbons leaving an ethereal plume that flared across the western sky. The event was reflexively echoed, in real time, by social media. Below, deep in the Sespe Wilderness, the Thomas fire still raged.

The Falcon 9 rocket was sent on its way (across a lonely headland that once served the local Purisimeño Chumash Indians as the threshold of the Western Land of the Dead, from which they projected the souls of their departed) to launch ten Iridium ‘Next’ communications satellites. They are part of a second-generation constellation of sixty-six telecommunications satellites planned to be fully operational by the end of next year.

Somewhere, in this confluence of signs lay indications of the Anthropocene. The enigma of the epoch was made explicit both in this kerosene fueled apparition in the late evening sky and in the burning of over 275,000 acres of Southern California landscape in the month of December.

While many of the leaders of our federal government continue to deny climate reality, the American military machine, sheltered behind this opera bouffe façade, are fully cognizant that global warming de-stabilizes vulnerable populations, political regimes and drives the refugee crisis. The Washington think-tank CNA (Center for Naval Analysis) in a recent report, succinctly states that “climate change can act as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world, and it presents significant national security challenges for the United States”. Left unsaid is that the rolling acts of weather terrorism across the United States in 2017, which included Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria as well as the massive forest fires in Northern and Southern California indicate the vulnerabilities of this country to internal instability: the climate-driven economic, social, and existential anxieties which, magnified in the crucible of social media, may lead towards imminent political fracture. The real threat to our polity is from within.

Trumpist notions of maintaining internal security by pursuing border walls, anti-immigrant policing and aggressive anti-terrorist militarism are powerless against the threats imposed by climate change. California’s megafires occurred in lands long accustomed to seasonal wildfires, but global warming, manifested in marginal increases in average temperatures, an extension of the summer fuel dehydration season, the increased occurrence of winter drought conditions and the extraordinary prolongation of fall’s off-shore winds, supercharges these events into acts of extreme, highly prejudicial terror.

As a survivor of the Upper Ojai firestorm, one of the two generative events that sparked the largest wildfire in California’s history, I have experienced firsthand the kind of weather terrorism that now threatens the credibility of national, provincial and local governments to protect their citizens.

The small country town of Ojai, at the green unburned center of California’s Thomas Fire, is festooned with signs in the windows of businesses and residences thanking Firefighters and First Responders for saving their community, suggesting great faith in the power of municipal, state and national authorities to protect them. Agencies from all levels of government were indeed arrayed against the fire on their behalf.

However, the feel-good narrative of the lower valley, Ojai’s commercial and tourist heart, which was saved by strategic back-burning and fuel reduction on its perimeter combined with favorable winds, the flanking of comparatively fire-resistant irrigated citrus and avocado fields  and topographical serendipity, contrasts with the grim realities of Upper Ojai’s firestorm where twenty percent of the residences were destroyed, and which went largely unchallenged on Monday night, December 4th, and into Tuesday morning.

At the heart of the fire initiated by an exploding pole-top transformer in the upper valley, four local Ventura County Fire crews and a fifth volunteer brigade from the nearby city of Fillmore, sheltered in place at the top of our road trapped by the great dragon’s breath of fire that raced down the fuel rich drainages on their way to Sisar Creek which runs along State Route 150. After this first wave of the firestorm moved on to the northern flank of Sulphur Mountain ridge to meet up with the other leg of the fire that had started further east and an hour before, the crews retreated to the lower valley choosing not to defend the residential streets running off SR 150 where most of the upper valley’s dwellings are situated. Lack of specific wildland fire training (ensure your line of retreat!) together with a conservative command structure may have contributed to the impotence of their response.

Once the command structure was able to regroup and call in resources from all over the Western States there was a massive response beyond the Ojai Valley where Santa Paula, Ventura, Montecito and Santa Barbara were all saved from overwhelming residential losses. Miraculously, there was no loss of civilian life; sadly, one professional fire technician died in fighting the flames that consumed the Condor Sanctuary, deep in the Los Padres National Forest.

In the eulogizing of our public safety personnel, it is little understood that they are abetted by huge influxes of inmate-labor on the fire-line – where the latter are involved in the most hazardous, health and life-threatening roles in wild-fire suppression, while the better equipped, better trained and infinitely better paid professionals provide command, back-up and communications well behind the front lines. A highly-placed source in the fire-fighting community estimates the involvement of prisoner firefighters at 80% of the boots on the ground in fighting the Thomas Fire.

Ironically, the prison-industrial complex absorbs vast gobs of state resources while other local agencies are starved of funds resulting in this strange hybridization of public services – where prison-labor eliminates paid-work (exacerbating the very social conditions that swell the prison population) and reduces both the professionalism and the morale of the fire-fighting force.

Media reflexivity, political instability driven by wealth disparity, weather terrorism and the expansion of public service (and corporate) utilization of inmate-labor represent an incendiary stew of contemporary derangements – home-grown ingredients that may eventually explode, like an improvised fertilizer bomb, into the heart of this country’s social order.

The fuse for such a device could likely be ignited by a massive loss of life in a weather terrorism event. By coincidence, on Christmas day, we four fire survivors (my wife, our younger son Griffin and neighbor Betty) on day twenty-one of our hegira, found ourselves in a likely location for just such a scenario. We had been invited to a dinner in Topanga, a bohemian suburb north of Los Angeles, deep in the Wildland-Urban-Interface.

When I turned the corner of our house at 7:15 pm, on that first night of the Thomas fire, to close the north facing fire doors, I saw a wall of flame engulfing the back of our property – the dark and customarily brooding landforms had become vividly alive in a moment of supreme, non-human animation. Those moments stay in one’s thoughts: ever after, the lizard brain is stamped with an immanent existentialism.

Driving in Topanga, from one canyon side to the other, from one set of friends to the other, we were all hyper-aware of the extreme perilousness of the exit routes, the ad hoc, highly flammable building styles in evidence, and the total lack of defensible space amidst the chaos of antic residential development. The community exists for now, harboring a very heterogeneous population, but it is heavily mortgaged to the next act of weather terrorism perpetrated by the non-human actors that have once more arisen amongst us, after the brief interregnum of modernity, when we foolishly thought them tamed.

FEMA may be irretrievably dysfunctional, insurance companies may go broke, fire departments are demoralized and their personnel under-trained, and the Golden State may largely rely for control of these pyromaniacal step-children of global warming – for the fire next time – on their vast prison population of over 100,000 inmates. It is the extreme contingency of such preparedness, or the lack thereof, that speaks to the fragile nature of our social compact.

We had believed that our taxes ensured some level of personal safety – some, like the lucky residents of the Ojai Valley, still believe it.
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John Davis is an architect living in southern California. He blogs at Urban Wildland.
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Offline RE

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🔥 Wildfires in CO, NM and AZ force closure of large chunks of forest
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2018, 01:38:24 AM »

Wildfires in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona force closure of large chunks of forest

Published 2:23 p.m. ET June 12, 2018 | Updated 3:03 p.m. ET June 12, 2018

Extreme fire danger is shutting down a sprawling forest that includes some of Colorado's most stunning mountains, a rare tactic also being used in neighboring states as the US Southwest struggles with severe drought. (June 12) AP

(Photo: Jerry McBride, AP)

Extreme fire danger in the southwest has prompted federal land managers to take the unusual step of indefinitely closing public access to an area of national forests larger than Connecticut.

Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona are struggling with an usually hot spring that came after a winter with little snowfall, priming the forests to burn. And rangers say campers are failing to extinguish their campfires, creating an untenable situation.

Multiple wildfires are already burning in the area, including the 23,000-acre 416 Fire near Durango, Colorado, and the 41,000-acre Buzzard Fire in west-central New Mexico.

“Under current conditions, one abandoned campfire could cause a catastrophic wildfire, and we are not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care,” Santa Fe National Forest Supervisor James Melonas said in a statement.

Rangers have closed the entire San Juan National Forest in southern Colorado and Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico near Santa Fe, along with popular areas in the Tonto, Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino and Kaibab national forests in Arizona.
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The San Juan and Santa Fe forests alone represent more than 5,000 square miles. State and county roads running through the forests remain open, but virtually all other uses have been barred.

The Santa Fe forest closure began June 1, and the San Juan closure began Tuesday morning. Rangers considered the weather forecast, forest health, visitation numbers and the availability of firefighting equipment before making the decision. They also noted many campers have been ignoring campfire bans enacted across the west.

"It's a huge step. We've never gone into closure before," said Cam Hooley, acting public affairs officer for the San Juan National Forest near Durango. "It’s a big inconvenience and a big economic hit to the area. We don't do it lightly."

Because so much of the West's economy depends on tourists who hike, fish and camp on public lands, private businesses are eyeing the closures with concern. But what's worse, they know, are wildfires that could destroy neighboring forests and prompt tourists to stay away for decades until the trees grow back.

"We're sad that the forest is closed, but there are a handful of people who just don’t get it and walk away from their campfire," said Debbie Packard, who works at the Canon Del Rio resort and spa in Jemez Springs, N.M., in the Santa Fe National Forest.

Packard said the adobe-style resort has seen no impact from the forest closure and credited authorities with putting up signs telling visitors that local businesses are open. Packard said the resort is also giving out a list of activities for visitors, which include using the resort's own walking trails and soaking in their pools.

"We pray that nobody goes up there and starts a fire," she said. "We're all praying for a good wet season."

Rangers have been checking trailheads and campgrounds to alert the public to the closure orders. Knowingly violating the closures brings a mandatory federal court appearance and could draw a fine of up to $5,000 and six months in prison.

Forecasters at the National Interagency Fire Center say warmer and drier-than-normal conditions have put large portions of the Western states at above-average risk for significant wildfires between now and September, and this year’s wildfire season could rival last year’s, one of the most devastating on record.

Last year’s fires killed 53 people, including 14 firefighters, and burned more than 10 million acres, an area larger than Maryland. The blazes destroyed more than 12,300 homes and other structures.
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🔥 It's Wildfire Season again in Sunny, Bone Dry California!
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2018, 01:18:50 AM »

7,700-acre wildfire in Northern California prompts evacuations, destroys 12 structures and threatens hundreds more
Alene Tchekmedyian
By Alene Tchekmedyian
Jun 24, 2018 | 9:05 PM
7,700-acre wildfire in Northern California prompts evacuations, destroys 12 structures and threatens hundreds more

The Pawnee fire burned 7,700 acres, destroying a dozen structures and threatening 600 more. (California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection)

A wind-driven wildfire tore through rural Lake County in Northern California over the weekend, scorching 7,700 acres, prompting evacuations and destroying a dozen structures by Sunday afternoon while threatening hundreds more.

Residents of roughly 600 homes in the remote area were ordered to pack up and leave. Those who stayed behind were urged to limit their water usage so it could be conserved for firefighting.

Authorities ordered all of the small community of Spring Valley to evacuate Saturday evening, and on Sunday expanded the order to include residents who live north of Highway 20 between Old Long Valley Road and Round Ball Road, according to the Lake County Sheriff’s Department and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Dubbed the Pawnee fire, it was one of several fires burning in the region, where a red flag warning was in effect. The fire erupted shortly after 5 p.m. Saturday northeast of Clearlake Oaks in Lake County, roughly 70 miles north of Napa. Firefighters faced triple-digit heat as the blaze burned through steep, mountainous terrain covered by thick brush.
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“Right now, there’s fire burning actively in the hills behind all these homes,” Capt. Jordan Motta of Cal Fire said late Sunday. “There’s fire right up to people’s homes around here.”

It’s unclear how many, if any, of the dozen destroyed structures were homes.

The blaze more than doubled Sunday afternoon when an onshore flow brought cooler temperatures and stronger winds from the Bay Area, at times gusting at up to 20 mph.

“It’s kind of a double-edged sword,” said Craig Shoemaker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service out of Sacramento, adding that winds were expected to subside after 10 p.m. “We need those winds to die down.”

Two water-dropping helicopters helped douse flames, allowing firefighters on the ground to get closer to the fire’s edge and attack flames directly.

More than 230 firefighters responded to the blaze.

Sheriff’s officials reminded residents who are evacuating to pack pets, phones and computers, prescriptions, photos and paperwork and urged residents to close their doors and windows before leaving. A shelter was opened at Lower Lake High School at 9430 Lake St.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.
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Re: The New World of Wildfires
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2018, 03:43:32 AM »

Flames rise around an outbuilding as the County fire burns in Guinda, California, 1 July 2018. Evacuations were ordered as dry, hot winds fueled a wildfire burning out of control Sunday in rural Northern California, sending a stream of smoke some 75 miles (120 kilometers) south into the San Francisco Bay Area. Photo: Noah Berger / AP Photo

2 July 2018 (Desdemona Despair) – Wildfire season in the U.S. is off to an active start. The National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) reports that more than 2.5 million acres have burned already, making this the fourth biggest season since 2008, just behind the year 2015, which turned out to be the worst season on record. This year’s burned acreage is well above the average of the last ten years, 2.29 million acres.

Year-to-date statistics
2018 (1/1/18 - 7/2/18) Fires: 29,111 Acres: 2,534,701
2017 (1/1/17 - 7/2/17) Fires: 30,461 Acres: 2,892,834
2016 (1/1/16 - 7/2/16) Fires: 26,141 Acres: 2,217,388
2015 (1/1/15 - 7/2/15) Fires: 28,432 Acres: 2,551,262
2014 (1/1/14 - 7/2/14) Fires: 26,510 Acres: 898,150
2013 (1/1/13 - 7/2/13) Fires: 22,349 Acres: 1,570,357
2012 (1/1/12 - 7/2/12) Fires: 27,912 Acres: 2,139,866
2011 (1/1/11 - 7/2/11) Fires: 36,999 Acres: 4,858,683
2010 (1/1/10 - 7/2/10) Fires: 29,946 Acres: 1,491,301
2009 (1/1/09 - 7/2/09) Fires: 48,678 Acres: 1,918,243
2008 (1/1/08 - 7/2/08) Fires: 44,036 Acres: 1,877,565
Annual average prior 10 years
2008-2017 Fires: 31,161 Acres: 2,285,234

The NIFC warns:

Wildland fire activity has picked up throughout the western states. Currently, 53 fires have burned over 648,000 acres.

Wildfire danger is high this 4th of July throughout the drought-stricken West. Please be safe and follow fireworks laws or it could cost you a hefty fine. Wildfires ignited by fireworks cause serious injuries and property loss every year. Do your part. One less spark means one less wildfire.

The year 2015 was the worst U.S. wildfire season in recorded history, with more than ten million acres burned. In second place is 2006. The 2017 season is third, and much of that acreage caught fire extraordinarily late in the season, during California’s worst wildfire year ever.

Year Number of fires Total acres burned
2015 68,151 10,125,149
2006 96,385 9,873,745
2017 59,336 9,489,605
2007 85,705 9,328,045
2012 67,774 9,326,238
2011 74,126 8,711,367
2005 66,753 8,689,389
2004 65,461 8,097,880
2000 92,250 7,393,493
2002 73,457 7,184,712

The U.S. Drought Monitor shows much of the West in drought conditions, so we can expect the active wildfire season to continue.

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Offline Surly1

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Huge wildfires are spreading again in California and Colorado.
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2018, 05:29:50 AM »
Huge wildfires are spreading again in California and Colorado.
They’re poised to get worse. --- The fire season now runs almost year-round, and 2018 is already worse than usual. Jul 20, 2018

Jul 20, 2018, 9:50am EDT

Wildfires have almost become a year-round threat in some parts of the western United States. From Colorado to California, it feels like the blazes from last year never went out.

Flames ignited forests and chaparral virtually nonstop in 2017, with fires burning more than54,000 acres in January alone and the year ending with record infernos in Southern California that burned well into 2018.

Officials don’t refer to “fire seasons anymore but rather to fire years,” Jennifer Jones, a spokesperson for the National Interagency Fire Center, told me in an email.

The NIFC reports that this year, wildfires have burned more than 3.4 million acres, a bit behind the 4.5 million acres that had burned as of this time last year.

The Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park has already burned more than 21,500 acres, an area more than 20 times the size of Central Park in Manhattan, since igniting on July 13. More than 2,700 firefighters from as far away as Virginia are fighting the blaze. As of Thursday evening, the fire was only 7 percent contained and had led to the death of one firefighter, Braden Varney.

The fire sent thick plumes of smoke and ash into the air, leading to very unhealthy air qualityalerts in the region.

Meanwhile, the Substation Fire near Portland, Oregon, has torched 20,000 acres and forced 75 households to evacuate. It’s just one of 160 wildfires scorching southern Oregon. In Colorado, wildfires have already ripped through 175,000 acres, and the ensuing rains have brought mudslides along the freshly denuded landscape.

And it’s likely to get worse. Many parts of the US are facing a higher than normal fire risk this year.

It’s an alarming echo of last year’s devastating fire season, which charred more than 10 million acres, making it the second-worst fire season on record behind 2015. California suffered its largest wildfire ever, the Thomas Fire, which engulfed an area 1.6 times the size of New York City.

As firefighters take on new blazes and homeowners rebuild in the ashes, here are some things worth knowing and what we can expect for the remainder of the fire season.

Some states are already seeing worse fires than last year, and the risks remain high

A key thing to remember is that wildfires are ordinarily a natural phenomenon. Many parts of the US are primed to burn, and fires are vital to the ecosystem, restoring nutrients to the soil and clearing out decaying brush. Trees like the Jack pine only release their seeds after a fire. Plants like buckthorn need fires to germinate.

But the destruction from the gargantuan blazes we’ve seen in recent years is hardly natural; human activity is clearly making it worse.

For one thing, humans start the vast majority of these fires, upward of 84 percent of them. California officials have blamed a dozen of last year’s fires on Pacific Gas and Electric’s power lines. Utilities were also blamed for fires in Nevada. Arson was suspected for fires in Northern California.

Another factor is how humans use the land. People are increasingly building closer to the wilderness, blurring the line between suburbs and shrubland. That means that when fires do burn, they threaten more lives and property. Meanwhile, active fire suppression in some areas has allowed dry vegetation to accumulate, so when embers ignite, it causes a massive conflagration.

And of course, the climate is changing, mostly due to human activity. Rising average temperatures have led to western forests drying out, increasing the risk of fires. There are 129 million dead trees in California alone. Across the state, the total number of fires is trending downward, but the size of fires is going up.

But in Southern California’s fires, like last year’s Thomas Fire, scientists don’t see a climate signal just yet. The region is hot and dry year-round. Drought can actually kill off the grasses and shrubs that would ordinarily burn. As a result, the fire risks haven’t demonstrated an association with rising temperatures so far. However, modeling shows that by 2050, climate change will increase the size of burned areas in Southern California.

Despite the significant swaths of the country that went up in flames last year, there is still plenty of fuel around, even in areas that ignited last year. “Although [2017] was the second highest number of acres burned since 1960, it is a fraction of the more than 1 billion acres of vegetated landscapes in the U.S., so there is a lot of land left to burn,” said NIFC’s Jones.

In fact, new vegetation has already sprung up. That’s because the winter brought much-needed moisture to the drought-stricken West, despite an unusually warm winter.

Scott McLean, a spokesperson for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire), explained that the precipitation spurred fast-growing grasses and shrubs. The searing, record-setting heat that followed this year dried out plants, leaving many parts of the West coated in tinder.

In California, fires have already burned more land and Cal Fire has initiated 200 more fire responses now than it did at the same point last year.

The NIFC reports that Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, Washington, and California all face “above normal” fire risks throughout much of their territories, as this map shows:

Wildfire outlook for July 2018.
National Interagency Fire Center

There are still drought conditions in Colorado, Utah, and Arizona that will likely persist even after seasonal rains, and lightning from the storms threatens to ignite new wildfires. Fire risks are lower in northern Montana and Washington state due to a wet spring.

As with last year, the fire potential will increase in the early fall along coastal Oregon and California as fast-moving seasonal winds pick up.

Even as we get better at fighting wildfires, they’re becoming more costly and dangerous

Firefighters are trying to apply some of the lessons learned from last year’s blazes. Cal Fire says it has managed to contain the vast majority of fires in its jurisdiction to less than 10 acres. But with more development in fire-prone regions, it’s getting harder to balance the demands to protect property against the need for the land to burn.

Fire officials are working with communities to explain why controlled burns are a necessary step to prevent more dangerous fires, but it makes homeowners antsy. “When you put fire on the ground, people get a little concerned,” said Cal Fire’s McLean. “It’s still an education process.”

It would also help to have policies that discourage building in the highest-risk areas. That’s difficult when the population is growing in many parts of the West and some of the cheapest land for new housing is in those regions poised to burn.

So far, this year, it seems that many of the same mistakes that have put people at risk are being repeated. In California, some residents are rebuilding in the same fire zones where homes burned last year, spurred in part by insurance payouts.

« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 03:02:51 PM by Surly1 »
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🔥 Greek wildfire kills 60 as residents flee resort near Athens
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2018, 06:59:46 AM »

Greek wildfire kills 60 as residents flee resort near Athens
The victims include 26 people found "tightly huddled in a field" near a beach who "tried to find an escape route but ... didn't make it in time."
by Alastair Jamieson / Jul.23.2018 / 5:59 PM ET / Updated Jul.24.2018 / 4:42 AM ET
Dozens killed as they tried to flee wildfire at Greek resort

Survivors of huge wildfire near Greece's capital recounted Tuesday how families fled into the sea to escape advancing flames. The death toll also rose to at least 60.

More than 150 other people were injured as the country’s worst blaze in more than a decade swept through the coastal resort of Mati, 18 miles east of Athens.

Residents scrambled to the water’s edge as the blaze closed in. Hundreds were rescued by passing boats but others found their way blocked by smoke and flames.
Wildfires raging throughout Greece kill dozens of people

Many victims died after becoming trapped in their cars, photographer Giorgos Moutafis wrote on Facebook, while others drowned.

"I was briefed by a rescuer that he saw the shocking picture of 26 people tightly huddled in a field some [100 feet] from the beach," Nikos Economopoulos, the head of Greece's Red Cross, told Skai TV. "They had tried to find an escape route but unfortunately these people and their kids didn't make it in time."

Many victims appeared to be hugging when they died, he added. One of the youngest was thought to be a six-month-old baby.

Coast guard and other vessels rescued 696 people who had fled to beaches. Boats plucked another 19 people from the sea.

Local resident Andreaas Passios said: "I grabbed a beach towel. It saved my life. I soaked it, grabbed my wife and we ran to the sea. It was unbelievable. Gas canisters were exploding, burning pine cones were flying everywhere."
Image: A wildfire in Kineta, Greece
A closed road stops cars during a wildfire in Kineta, Greece, on Monday.Valerie Gache / AFP - Getty Images

Nikos Stavrinidis said he ran to the sea with his wife and friends. “We had to swim out because of the smoke, but we couldn't see where anything was," he told The Associated Press.
Pres. Trump warns Iran over ‘demented words of violence and death’
Pres. Trump warns Iran over ‘demented words of violence and death’

There were six people in his group: Stavrinidis, his wife and some of her friends. They swam further out to escape the smoke, but as they did so, they began to be carried away by the wind and the current. They lost sight of the shore and became disoriented. "We couldn't see anything," he said.

"We didn't all make it," Stavrinidis said. One of the women in his group and one woman's son drowned.

"What upsets me and what I will carry in my heart is that it is terrible to see the person next to you drowning and not be able to help him. You can't. That's the only tragic thing," he said, his voice breaking. "That will stay with me."
Greece wildfire forces residents to evacuate

Some parts of Mati were still smoldering with white smoke early Tuesday. Burned-out cars were scattered outside gated compounds where three- and four-story buildings bore signs of fire damage.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras declared a three-day period of national mourning for the victims.

Wildfires are not uncommon in Greece, and a relatively dry winter helped create current tinder-box conditions. It was not immediately clear what ignited the fires.

Another big blaze in Kineta, about 30 miles west of Athens, was fanned by gale-force winds.

Motorist Giannis Labropoulos said he and his wife were “terrified” to see flames licking the sides of the main highway between Patras and Athens.

“In less than a minute, we saw smoke covering the road," he told Euronews. "And then all of a sudden, the fire really covered everything ... I stopped [recording video] in order to be able to see in front."

Heavy rain is forecast across southern Greece on Wednesday.

It was the deadliest fire season to hit Greece in more than a decade. More than 60 people were killed in 2007 when huge fires swept across the southern Peloponnese region.
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🔥 Devastating fire explodes into Redding; numerous homes lost, 1 dead
« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2018, 12:36:01 AM »
Looks like another good season for Wildfire in Smoky California.  :evil4:


Devastating fire explodes into Redding; numerous homes lost, 1 dead
By Alene Tchekmedyian and Brian Park
Jul 27, 2018 | 12:15 AM

An historic schoolhouse burns as the Carr Fire tears through Shasta, Calif., Thursday, July 26, 2018. (Noah Berger / Associated Press)

A devastating brush fire barreled into the city of Redding on Thursday night, killing one person and destroying numerous structures as residents ran for their lives.

The fire destroyed at least 15 structures in Shasta County, but that number is expected to rise dramatically as the blaze moved toward subdivisions and other populated areas. Officials were urging residents to flee the path of the fire, where hundreds of homes were under threat.

It was a chaotic scene across Redding, a city of 90,000 people, as towering flames whipped along the horizon and evacuation orders expanded by the hour.

Residents on the outskirts of town had little warning before the flames moved in. Images on social media and television shows numerous homes burning at several locations in the city.

“This fire is extremely dangerous and moving with no regard for what’s in its path,” said Incident Cmdr. Bret Gouvea with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Mercy Medical Center said it was evacuating NICU babies from the hospital but that the facility was still fully functioning at of 11 p.m..

A local television station, KRCR News, cut off its live coverage so that anchors and other employees could evacuate the studio.

“The fire is extremely active tonight,” said Cal Fire Capt. John Clingingsmith Jr.

Residents also reported sporadic power outages, including at the Redding Record-Searchlight newspaper, as well as jammed traffic as people evacuated from the fire zone.

A private bulldozer operator, who was not named, was killed late Thursday as the fire grew to more than 28,000 acres, jumping the Sacramento River and roaring toward Redding. It was the second firefighting death in California in recent weeks. Braden Varney, a bulldozer operator with Cal Fire, died fighting the Ferguson fire near Yosemite.

“As we mourn the loss, we also battle a fire that is moving extremely quickly and erratically into western Redding,” Gouvea said, adding that other firefighters and civilians have been injured.

The devastation in Redding cap a grim year of fire California. Last fall, wine country was hit by the most destructive fires in state history, destroying thousands of homes and killing dozens of residents. Then in December, the Thomas fire tore through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties, becoming the largest single fire in state history.

Officials said there was little firefighters could do as the Carr fire swept into Redding amid triple digit temperatures and strong winds.

“Structures are burning,” Scott McLean, spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told the Sacramento Bee late Thursday. “The fire is moving so fast that law enforcement is doing evacuations as fast as we can. There have been some injuries to civilians and firefighters.”

As fire activity increased late Thursday, authorities expanded evacuation orders to include the following areas:

    North of Sacramento River to Keswick Dam Road, west of Market Street and Lake Boulevard to Keswick Dam
    North at Lake Boulevard and Oasis Road to Pine Grove Avenue and Walker Mine Road, west of Cascade Road and Interstate 5.
    South along Swasey Drive from State Route 299 to Placer Road.
    West along Placer Road from Swasey to Prospect Drive
    North from Prospect Drive to encompass Middle Park Ranch Land area.
    West of Overhill Drive and north of State Route 299
    North of State Route 299 and west of Spinmaker Road to the end of Harlan Drive.
    Keswick Dam east to Counter Lane and north to Quartz Hill Road.

An evacuation center at Shasta High School was closed and a new one was opened at Shasta College, located at 11555 Old Oregon Trail.

Firefighting efforts were hampered Thursday by extreme fire behavior, dry weather and triple-digit temperatures. It’s unclear if the destroyed structures were homes, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Five other structures were damaged.

Crews scrambled when a shift in the winds pushed the Carr fire three miles east in four hours, catching residents in Whiskeytown on their heels. The fire, which broke out Monday afternoon, was only 6% contained by Thursday night.

The blaze reached the edge of Whiskeytown Lake, where local news outlets reported that 40 boats were burned along with a number of homes.

Authorities placed 192 homes under mandatory evacuation orders, most of those in Whiskeytown and the community of French Gulch, Cal Fire said.

The blaze has been running along the north side of Highway 299 since a vehicle malfunction sparked it. More than 1,700 firefighters were battling the blaze.

The Carr fire was the most destructive of several major blazes burning around the state. In Riverside County, the Cranston fire burned 7,500 acres and 5% contained, easily spotted by the billowy plumes of smoke expanding into the sky. At least five homes were lost.

And near Yosemite, the Ferguson fire continued to burn in wilderness area.

11:40 p.m.: This article was updated with a quote from Cal Fire.

11 p.m.: This article was updated with new evacuations.

10:50 p.m.: This article was updated with to note that a television station had to go off-air so employees could evacuate.

10:30 p.m.: This article was updated.

10:15 p.m.: This article was updated with a fatality.

10:10 p.m.: This article was updated with a comment by a Cal Fire spokesman.

9:55 p.m.: This article was updated with information about an evacuation center.

This article was originally published at 9:35 p.m.
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Deadly Northern California wildfire 'taking down everything in its path,' spawning firenadoes

    By Justin Doom

Jul 27, 2018, 5:21 AM ET

A residence burns as the Carr Fire tears through Shasta, California.

The Carr Fire in Northern California that has claimed the life of a bulldozer operator and injured at least three firefighters is "taking everything down in its path," a fire official said.
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Scott McLean, a spokesman for the crews battling the blaze, also told the Associated Press that the explosive wildfire has destroyed dozens of homes and reached the city of Redding.

The situation is "very dynamic" and "a heck of a fight," McLean added.

Winds reaching 60 mph are creating firenadoes strong enough to overturn vehicles, authorities said.

A residence burns as the Carr Fire tears through Shasta, California.AP
A residence burns as the Carr Fire tears through Shasta, California.

Thousands of homes have been evacuated on the western edge of Redding, which has a population of about 90,000. Tim Hinkson of the California Highway Patrol said the CHP is going door to door to assist in evacuations.

The fire was earlier estimated to have claimed nearly 30,000 acres and was about 6 percent contained, but authorities said that acreage is expected to increase "dramatically."

ABC News' Rex Sakamoto, Will Gretsky, Courtney Han, Frank Elaridi and Max Beller contributed to this breaking story. Please check back for updates.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2018, 03:03:51 PM by Surly1 »
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We Should Probably Pay Attention to the Fire Tornado
« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2018, 03:06:17 PM »
We Should Probably Pay Attention to the Fire Tornado
Also, to the fact that the Great Chinese Climate Hoax is making wildfires bigger and badder all over the world.


Those crafty Chinese climate hoaxsters have been at it again. Last week, there were wildfires in Greece that got so bad that people were jumping into the ocean for safety. There are now strong indications that these fires may have been set, but it was those clever Chinese hoaxsters and their climate scam that made the fires as bad as they were. From The Guardian:

These are widely regarded as the short-term causes of the fires, but experts are also concerned that the conditions experienced in Greece in the last two years are likely to be replicated more often in future, owing to the changing climate. Nikos Charalambides, executive director of Greenpeace Greece, said: “As the death toll rises and the full size of the disaster is still to be recorded, it would be premature to attribute these [fires] to either climate change or the failures of the fire prevention and fire-fighting mechanisms.” However, he said the contributing factors included drought, strong winds and unusually high temperatures, all of which are likely to be aggravated by climate change.
Rachel Kennerley, climate campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “The immediate priority must be to tackle the terrible fires, and to support the people whose homes, lives and livelihoods have been put at risk or devastated.” But she said the longer-term impacts must also be taken into account when the immediate danger has passed: “Extreme heatwaves are predicted to become more frequent as climate change takes hold, meaning drier forests and countryside, and a greater risk of fire. Politicians must wake up to the extreme weather battering the planet and take tough and urgent steps to slash the climate-wrecking pollution being pumped into our atmosphere.”

And, by the end of this week, there was an equally terrible wildfire menacing a massive swath of northern California. From the L.A. Times:

The Carr fire has destroyed 65 homes and damaged 55 others, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said Friday, Those numbers are expected to rise. The blaze, driven east by 30 mph winds, hopscotched into subdivisions Thursday night and Friday morning. Officials said hundreds of homes were threatened as winds pushed the fire into the community. It was a chaotic scene across Redding, a city of 90,000 people about 100 miles from the Oregon border, as towering flames whipped along the horizon and evacuation orders expanded by the hour in the middle of the night.

The fire jumped the Sacramento River, as massive fires will do. And then there was the fire tornado. We are losing entire cities now and our president* and his party see as one of their primary goals the opening of public lands in order to extract more carbon-based fuels. If this makes sense to you, check your mailbox. There should be a check in there from some coal company.

A fire in the village of Kineta, near Athens, on July 24 Getty Images VALERIE GACHE 

We have lost cities before to fires caused by environmental negligence. On October 8, 1871, a massive fire engulfed the city of Peshtigo in northern Wisconsin, killing somewhere between 1,500 and 2,500 people. (The story got buried because Chicago burned on the same day, probably from the same winds from the same cold front that helped light up Peshtigo.) As in Greece, people fled to the nearest water, the Peshtigo River, in an attempt to escape the flames. Many of them drowned, or perished from hypothermia in the middle of a fire. (People who sought refuge in a water tank boiled to death there.) There was a fire tornado that sucked up railroad cars. One eyewitness said that it was “snowing fire.” Over 300 victims were buried in a mass grave because there weren’t enough people left alive to identify the dead.

It had been a hot, dry summer in Peshtigo, a logging and lumber-mill town. Local farmers used the slash-and-burn method of clearing the land. The forest itself was thickly carpeted with wood chips and shavings from the logging crews. It did not take much to set this tinderbox ablaze. A lightning strike. A slash-and-burn fire set by a railroad crew. There is even a theory that the Peshtigo and Chicago fires, as well as a couple of others in and around the Great Lakes, were ignited by the impact of a comet. But whatever set off the bomb, human disregard for the environment built it, woodchip by woodchip, small fire by small fire. We never freaking learn.

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Re: 🔥 The New World of Wildfires
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2018, 08:25:29 AM »

Carr Fire, Redding, CA.

#CarrFire [update] off Hwy 299 and Carr Powerhouse Rd, Whiskeytown (Shasta County) is now 48,312 acres and 5% contained. NEW MANDATORY EVACUATION ORDERS IN PLACE. Unified Command: @CALFIRESHU and Whiskeytown National Park.…/incidentdetails/…/2164 …

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🔥 Deadly Northern California wildfire nearly doubles in size overnight
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2018, 12:23:00 AM »

Deadly Northern California wildfire nearly doubles in size overnight

    By Morgan Winsor

Jul 28, 2018, 1:34 PM ET

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PHOTO: A firefighter lights backfires during the Carr fire in Redding, Calif., July 27, 2018.
Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images
WatchWildfire devours nearly 81,000 acres in northern California

A fast-moving wildfire in Northern California that has killed two people almost doubled in size overnight, officials said Saturday.
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The Carr Fire in Shasta County had burned an area of more than 80,000 acres by Saturday morning, with a containment of still just 5 percent. The magnitude of the blaze jumped from around 48,000 acres Friday night, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

Firefighters worked "aggressively" throughout the night to try to contain the flames, officials said, but the fire has been "active in all directions and has made significant runs." Gusty winds, high temperatures and dry vegetation still have the potential to spur fire growth.

(MORE: Deadly Northern California wildfire 'taking down everything in its path,' spawning 'firenadoes')

PHOTO: Firefighters discuss plans while battling the Carr Fire in Shasta, Calif., on Thursday, July 26, 2018.Noah Berger/AP
Firefighters discuss plans while battling the Carr Fire in Shasta, Calif., on Thursday, July 26, 2018.

The "mechanical failure of a vehicle" ignited the Carr Fire in Whiskeytown on Monday, officials said. The flames ripped through northwest Shasta County then spread southeast, sweeping across the Sacramento River late Thursday and roaring toward the city limits of Redding, which is home to 92,000.

The blaze has claimed the lives of a bulldozer operator and a city of Redding firefighter, according to officials from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the U.S. National Park Service and the Shasta County Sheriff's Office. At least three firefighters have sustained injuries.

A total of 3,410 personnel are working to contain the fire, along with 328 fire engines, 17 helicopters and 62 bulldozers.

(MORE: California fire forces on-air evacuation of TV anchor: 'I've never seen anything like it')

Cars scorched by the Carr Fire rest at a residence in Redding, Calif., on Friday, July 27, 2018. The fire rapidly expanded Thursday when flames swept through the Gold Rush town of Shasta, then jumped the Sacramento River into Redding.AP


Officials have ordered road closures and the evacuation of thousands of homes threatened by the Carr Fire. The California Highway Patrol is going door to door to assist, officials have told reporters.

At least 500 homes, businesses and other structures have been destroyed by the raging blaze, while 75 others have been damaged. Nearly 5,000 other structures remain threatened, officials said.

Scott McLean, a spokesman for the crews battling the Carr Fire, told reporters that winds reaching 60 mph were fanning the flames and creating fire tornadoes, or "firenadoes," that move erratically and are strong enough to overturn vehicles "like toys."

PHOTO: A view of a home that was destroyed by the Carr Fire on July 27, 2018, in Redding, Calif.Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Local journalist Tamara Damante was co-anchoring live coverage of the Carr Fire when she and her colleagues were forced to evacuate ABC affiliate KRCR's station in Redding. Damante said the "quickness" and "volatility" of the blaze was unlike anything she had ever seen before.

"As this fire was just exploding, it's just been inching closer and closer and closer to the station to the point where there was a neighborhood up in flames just about a mile away from the station, just across from the Sacramento River," Damante said during an interview on "Good Morning America" early Friday. "I've never seen anything like it."

ABC News' Max Beller, Frank Elaridi, Courtney Han, Will Gretsky, Rex Sakamoto and Alex Stone contributed to this report.

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Fairfield Fire Department crews battle the Carr Fire as flames whip high into the sky on July 29, 2018.
By Fairfield Fire Department
Carr Fire now 6th most destructive in California history. More than 1,000 homes gone

By Sam Stanton

August 01, 2018 10:06 AM

Updated 4 hours 58 minutes ago

The Carr Fire near Redding is now the sixth most destructive blaze in California history, having burned 121,049 acres — nearly 190 square miles — destroyed 1,058 homes and killed at least six people.

The wildfire that erupted July 23 near Whiskeytown in Shasta County was only 35 percent contained as of Wednesday morning and still threatened more than 1,658 structures as it continued to burn west into Trinity County.

“The western edge of the fire continued to challenge crews (Tuesday) evening,” Cal Fire said in its latest update. “Steep terrain, erratic winds and previously unburned fuels are contributing to spot fire potential.”
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More than 4,271 firefighting personnel, 369 engines and 17 helicopters are fighting the blaze, which has now burned an area three times the size of Redding’s city limits.
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Despite its size, firefighters have managed over the past several days to halt its advance toward Redding, where the fire jumped the Sacramento River last Thursday night and roared into subdivisions on the western edge of town.

Officials on Wednesday made their most optimistic comments to date about their progress.

“Things are looking good for us,” Cal Fire Deputy Chief Brett Gouvea said. “We still have quite a bit of work to do out on the lines...

“Today is day 10, and just look where we’ve come in the last nine days. Things are coming a lot better. Last week, things were coming terribly.”

One firefighter, a bulldozer driver, a 70-year-old woman and her two great-grandchildren were killed, as well as another adult who had refused to evacuate, authorities say.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said that authorities had received initial reports of 60 people missing but that by Wednesday afternoon all had been accounted for.

“As of this point we have no missing persons outstanding,” Bosenko said, adding that the missing persons hotline that was established has been shut down.

Cal Fire says the blaze was started by the “mechanical failure” of a vehicle but has not released further details.

The most destructive fire in state history was last October’s Tubbs Fire in Sonoma, which destroyed 5,636 structures and killed 22 people as it roared through 36,807 acres.

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Want to help fire victims? Don’t send any more stuff
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Across California, more than 13,000 firefighters are battling 16 major blazes that have burned more than 320,000 acres - more than 500 square miles - and 32,000 residents remain evacuated from their homes, Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott said Wednesday at a briefing at the state Office of Emergency Services.

As a sign of how perilous conditions are, three wildfires erupted in the capital region Wednesday afternoon that forced residents to flee from two rural areas.

Evacuations were ordered in El Dorado County for the Bumper Fire southwest of Diamond Springs, a blaze initially reported at 17 acres, and within minutes authorities ordered evacuations for the Omega Fire near Pilot Hill, where 25 acres were burning.

A third fire, the Sunset Fire northwest of Roseville, had consumed 1,000 acres Wednesday afternoon but there were no immediate reports of evacuations and the blaze was reported at 50 percent containment.

Officials emphasized that fire season is just getting underway and that more destructive blazes can be expected in coming months because of the years-long drought and hotter, drier weather.

“We are routinely now seeing fires reach 100,000 acres several times in one month, in July,” Pimlott said. “So we have a long way to go in this fire season.”

Pimlott said Cal Fire is bringing back seasonal firefighters to help bolster its resources, and officials said firefighters are streaming into California to help from 17 other states, including Maine and Florida.

The California National Guard also is assisting with 1,200 personnel, and National Guard troops from Nevada and New Mexico are assisting on the California fires.

Gov. Jerry Brown cautioned that the fire season California is experiencing is unlike those of past years.

“Some of this is unprecedented, and we’re learning as we go,” Brown said. “But we’re in a new normal, we’re in a drought that will continue...”

Brown said the difference between his first tenure as governor in the 1970s and now is simple: “The biggest change is the fire season lasts so much longer, and the fires are so much bigger,” he said. “That’s it in a nutshell.”

The governor also noted that fire behavior seen so far this year has been extreme, including the so-called fire tornadoes spotted in the Carr Fire that were spawned by the intense heat of the blaze creating its own weather patterns.

“No one expected fire tornadoes,” Brown said.

For the latest updates on Northern California's wildfires, sign up for breaking news alerts here. To support coverage of breaking news and more, click here for a digital-only subscription.

Firefighters battle a flare-up near Buckhorn Summit on Highway 299 during the Carr Fire in Trinity County on Monday, July 30, 2018. Paul Kitagaki Jr.

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World of Wildfires - chops a house in half WTF ?
« Reply #14 on: August 02, 2018, 10:30:00 AM »

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I know exactly what you mean. Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world.
You don’t know what it is but its there, like a splinter in your mind


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