Fort McMurray Fire — Zero Percent Contained, 1.2 Million Acres in Size, and Crossing Border into Saskatchewan

The Fort McMurray Fire just keeps growing. A global warming fueled beast whose explosive expansion even the best efforts of more than 2,000 firefighters have been helpless to check.

*****

By mid-afternoon Thursday, reports were coming in that the Fort McMurray Fire had again grown larger. Jumping to 1.2 million acres in size, or about 2,000 square miles, the blaze leapt the border into Saskachewan even as it ran through forested lands surrounding crippled tar sand facilities. It’s a fire now approaching twice the size of Rhode Island. A single inferno that, by itself, has now consumed more land than every fire that burned throughout the whole of Alberta during 2015.

animation_may_18

(Continued explosive growth of the Fort McMurray Fire shown graphically in the animation about. Image source: Natural Resources Canada.)

The fire has now encroached upon five towns and cities including Fort McMurray, Anzac, Lenarthur, Kinosis, and Cheeham. Tar Sands facilities encompassed by the blaze include Nexen’s Kinosis facility, CNOOC’s Long Lake, and Suncor’s Base Plant. Numerous other tar sands facilities now lie near the fire’s potential lines of further expansion. You can see the insane rate of growth for this fire in the animation above provided by the Natural Resources board of Canada.

Fort McMurray Continues to Prepare For Residents Return Despite Terrible Conditions

As the fire again expanded this week, reports coming out of Fort McMurray showed periods of horrendous air quality. Measures hit as high as 51 on Wednesday — which is five times a level that is considered ‘unsafe.’ Fires also ignited in a condo complex Thursday after a mysterious explosion claimed another Fort McMurray home on Tuesday. Embers falling from nearby large fires may have been the cause, but officials have so far provided no conclusive ignition source. For safety, emergency responders again shut off gas utilities in the city. Officials put on a brave face despite all the continued adversity, claiming that efforts to ready for a return of people to their homes were progressing.

Fire at Zero Percent Containment

Despite what is a massive firefighting effort, the enormous blaze remains zero percent contained. Firefighters have seen some success, however, in keeping fires from burning buildings in and around Fort McMurray through the constant application of water and through the building of enormous defensive fire breaks. With many trees near Fort McMurray and tar sands facilities already consumed by fire and with winds expected to shift toward the North and West, the blazes are expected to mostly move away from structures by Thursday evening. A welcome relief after fires on Tuesday and Wednesday burned down worker barracks in the tar sands production zone.

Fort McMurray Fire Thursday

(Massive pall of smoke visible over Fort McMurray Fire in Saskatchewan and Alberta. For reference, bottom edge of frame is 250 miles. Image source: LANCE MODIS.)

With cooler weather and a 60 percent chance of rain today, fire conditions may abate somewhat. Rain predicted on Saturday could also aid in firefighting efforts. However, it is likely that this massive fire will continue to burn over Alberta and Saskatchewan throughout a good part of the summer.

Conditions in the Context of Human-Caused Climate Change

Fossil fuel burning is the primary source of the currently extreme carbon emissions that are now fueling the wrenching climate changes and increasingly severe wildfires in Canada. And such burning will almost certainly push 2016 to new record hot global temperatures in the range of 1.3 C above 1880s values. These new temperature extremes have contributed to a combination of factors including a comparatively rapid warming of Canada, permafrost thaw, tree death, and strong ridge formation that have all lead to a greater potential for dangerous wildfires.

Fort McMurray itself now sits firmly under a northbound flow of airs invading the polar region. Such powerful meridional flows feature much warmer than normal air temperatures and heightened risk for drought and wildfires. These zones have formed over recent years due to a weakening of the Jet Stream — which has been set off by sea ice loss and an assymetric warming of the High Arctic. Such polar amplification has also set off permafrost thaw, aided in pine beetle expansion northward toward and into the Arctic zone, and generated temperatures hotter than the range in which boreal forests typically survive and grow. Permafrost thaw combines with tree death to produce added fuels for fires even as warming provides more lightning strike ignition sources. This combination of global warming related factors has resulted in large wildfires occurring in the Arctic at 10 times their mid 20th Century ignition rate and is aiding in a greatly increased risk of fire throughout the boreal forest zone.

Links:

Fort McMurray Fire Crosses Border into Saskatchewan

LANCE MODIS

Natural Resources Canada

Hat tip to Greg

Hat tip to DT Lange

Hat tip to Wili

Hat tip to Colorado Bob

Leave a comment

103 Comments

  1. Shawn Redmond

     /  May 19, 2016

    Uranium City is not a long way from the border and is the site of a highly radioactive waste zone left by a mining industry many decades ago. This could get a lot worse!

    Reply
    • Let’s hope not… Fire Fukushima is not something we need out of this.

      Reply
      • Loni

         /  May 19, 2016

        That’s certainly the fear regarding the forests surrounding Chernobyl. Like the ol’ boy said, de javu, all over again.

        Reply
      • Mulga Mumblebrain

         /  May 20, 2016

        Loni, then there is deja prevu, the uncanny feeling that events have not necessarily occurred before, but will occur again at some time in the future. Then there is Eternal Repetition…

        Reply
    • If you check a map, Uranium City is on the north (far) side of lake Athabaska, quite far north of all current activity of “the beast”, so not likely to be threatened – at least by this particular fire.

      Reply
  2. Shawn Redmond

     /  May 19, 2016

    Agreed and from the start of the fire I had and still have a bad feeling about this. The Larado mine started up in 1952 so you can imagine how tidy it was and still is. I believe there were three different mining companies working the area in primarily open pit operations.

    Reply
  3. ” A single inferno that, by itself, has now consumed more land than every fire that burned throughout the whole of Alberta during 2015.

    …horrendous air quality. Measures hit as high as 51 on Wednesday — which is five times a level that is considered ‘unsafe.’

    … with winds expected to shift toward the North and West

    …rapid warming of Canada, permafrost thaw, tree death, and strong ridge formation

    …a northbound flow of airs invading the polar region

    … polar amplification… generated temperatures hotter than the range in which boreal forests typically survive and grow.

    This combination of global warming related factors has resulted in large wildfires occurring in the Arctic at 10 times their mid 20th Century ignition rate and is aiding in a greatly increased risk of fire throughout the boreal forest zone.”

    – Great insightful writing, Robert.
    All the the right stuff that should flesh out any news report.
    Thanks
    OUT

    Reply
    • Bless you DT. Thanks for the kind words.

      I honestly feel a bit of anxiety. Not only about what’s happening to climate system — and as you well know it appears to be worsening daily — but also with regards to this election. The heavy weight of the misinformation machine is pushing those of us on the democratic side to divide. And even some of the people whom I thought of as cooler heads are falling prey to it. With COP 21 out, with renewables advancing, and with climate change awareness on the rise, the stakes couldn’t be higher. The fossil fuel establishment is going to pull out all the stops. All the more reason that those of us here and everyone listening needs to pull together behind whoever becomes the democratic candidate. I also hope that if Hillary wins she provides a big place at the table for Bernie and his supporters. Democrats are going to need to embrace progressive values if they’re going to have the appeal and unity to win in a way that will have meaningful effect.

      Reply
      • Yes, there are reasons to worry about the election due to the critical nature of the times — but American politics is often a quagmire of misinformation meant to confuse an easily confused electorate.
        The fossil fuel/tobacco industry is doing its best to make things worse for everyone.
        It’s up to engaged people like us to sail a true course, and put out as many truths and survival tips as we can muster.

        TALLEY HO
        OUT

        Reply
      • Loni

         /  May 19, 2016

        There’s always the hope that Hillary could turn out to be a Trojan Horse, and put someone like Bernie in a kick ass position. One could only hope, but if nothing else, the thought makes casting a vote for her easier.

        Reply
      • Dave person

         /  May 20, 2016

        Hi Loni,
        I would prefer Bernie as our presidential candidate but since that is unlikely, I would rather see him stay in the senate. He will be a senior member and may have a powerful position on one of the important committees. The way our government is structured, we need progressives spread in all components, legislature, executive, and judicial, to really make a difference. Moreover, Bernie will be much better positioned to grow his political movement if he is outside of a prospective Clinton administration.

        dave

        Reply
  4. – Seattle, WA with a little wind behaviors that also effect wildfires and any efforts to contain or flee from, them.
    Winds will shift many times in AB. And with so many added climate change factors now in effect anything can, and will, happen.
    Light rain, or sprinkles, will have light winds which will slow the fire but also lay down a thick blanket of smoke and ash in the area.

    – NWS Seattle ‏@NWSSeattle 1h1 hour ago

    Southerly winds at the surface, northwest winds aloft, and changeable spring weather

    Reply
    • – It’s not I’d put out a WELCOME mat — but this map would make for good place-mat on the Congressional dining room table.

      Reply
      • Anthony Sagliani ‏@anthonywx 3h3 hours ago

        All-time record high temperature for India appears to have been broken in subsident air mass adjacent to TC Roanu.

        Reply
      • – India with heat to the northwest — and torrential cyclone rains to east and southeast.

        Capital Weather Gang

        India just set a new all-time record high temperature — 123.8 degrees

        Reply
      • Scott

         /  May 19, 2016

        Based on that map, Nantucket looks like the place to be. Or maybe pretty much anywhere in Maine.
        Too bad there’s almost no dirt in Maine, and even on a good day not much grows there.

        Reply
      • 2016. The year Hell came to breakfast…

        Reply
      • Greg

         /  May 20, 2016

        Wow DT, look at that ridge/trough and the cyclone. Millions of people under those.

        Reply
  5. Reply
    • – Land use, freshwater, and GHG. Beef towers above all.

      Reply
      • Industrial meat is pretty horrible for sustainability. Vegetarian/vegan diets are much more helpful. Like many things, though, the problem is systemic. Symptomatic of how corporate farming and food is currently structured.

        Reply
    • Scott

       /  May 19, 2016

      In the late 1800s, Americans at lots more pork than today. And much less beef. Pork was easy to feed, doesn’t take much space, and the meat was easier to preserve using non-refrigerated methods (smoked or salted). Maybe what’s old is new again.

      131 lbs of pork per capita in 1870; 55 lbs today.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/15/upshot/what-was-the-greatest-era-for-american-innovation-a-brief-guided-tour.html?login=email&_r=0

      Reply
      • wili

         /  May 20, 2016

        “And much less beef.” Do you have a source for that? I don’t see it in your linked article, and I seem to remember stats that show the opposite, but I can’t seem to lay a hand on them right now.

        Reply
      • Scott

         /  May 20, 2016

        Wili,
        This article in the Atlantic indicates about 150 to 200 lbs per person per year of meat consumption. Chicken was “a luxury meat,” with chickens valued for their eggs. If both sources are reasonably close, most of the red meat would have been pork.

        http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/how-americans-used-to-eat/371895/

        On the other hand, this chart, sourced from the New York Times, is closer to your recollection, but it starts in 1909 – by which time refrigerated rail cars had been invented, making beef easier to preserve and transport. In 1909, beef and pork consumption were about equal. Beef exploded in the 1950s through 70s, and has declined over the last 25-30 years.

        I’ll admit, I had no source for my comment on beef, other than I thought it was implied in the original article…pork was the preferred meat source, because pigs eat pretty much anything, they are efficient at converting scraps to meat, and they take less land than cattle. Therefore, more pork, less beef. I think the Atlantic article could be taken as somewhat supportive, though not conclusive.

        The comment in the Atlantic that Charles Dickens reported “no breakfast was breakfast without a T-Bone Steak” would run counter to that supposition, however.

        I did love the idea of feeding beef to teething babies. What could possibly go wrong with that?

        Reply
    • Sorry for the late comment, but if you haven’t seen the “Cowspiracy” documentary, give it a look. As horrendous as the fossil fuel industry is with its carbon emissions, industrial agriculture is even worse…and nobody is talking about it.

      Reply
  6. USA – Arizona — Water problems from multiple threats in times of drought;

    Utility regulators are preparing for environmental and financial disasters at small water companies, and will consider several new rules at a meeting Thursday aimed at keeping customers’ taps flowing.

    Already this year, the state has seen five small water companies plagued by uranium, arsenic, or just bad pumps that left customers’ taps dry. The ongoing Southwest drought and possibility of reduced allotments from the Colorado River are expected to compound these problems.

    http://www.azcentral.com/story/money/business/consumers/2016/05/18/corporation-commission-prepares-water-company-emergencies-amid-drought/84540878/

    Reply
  7. Cate

     /  May 19, 2016

    And just when you thought Canada couldn’t get any stupider: our National Energy Board supports the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline. PM Trudeau & Co at the federal govt now have seven months to decided whether to approve this new bit of FF infrastructure.

    I predict a foregone conclusion. There will be tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth, but in the end, despite the brutal cautionary tale of Fort Mac, this country will not be coming off the BIg Oil teat anytime soon.

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/pipeline-transmountain-neb-recommendation-1.3589518

    Reply
    • I was especially disappointed when Notely said — “Mother Nature continues to be our enemy and not our friend.” May as well have said ‘let them eat cake.’ Pretty ill considered.

      Reply
      • Cate

         /  May 20, 2016

        Yep, that says it all. That attitude of confrontation is a legacy of white settlement in this country, where for millennia native peoples lived in perfect sync with nature. The assumption of human entitlement is nowhere more obvious than in the remote areas of Canada that depend on resource extraction, where you’d think people would be more attuned to nature, But no, nature is there for our use and our profit. End. Of. An important corollary is, If we don’t do it, someone else will—that someone else usually means foreign interests. So a huge collective rethink on our relationship to Mother Earth is necessary in this country, and it has to be now.

        Reply
  8. musicstonesme

     /  May 19, 2016

    @ Scott; pork is definitely NOT the answer. (not that there even is one at this point)

    Reply
  9. InsideClimate News ‏@insideclimate 4h4 hours ago

    Fort McMurray wildfire has crossed the border into Saskatchewan.

    Reply
  10. 100+ New Documents Highlight How Oil Industry Studied Climate and Delayed Solutions

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    May 19, 2016

    Washington, DC – Today, the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) launched a searchable database of more than 100 documents that brings to light new information on how the oil industry responded – and failed to respond – in the face of climate change.

    “We now know that the oil industry was engaged in climate science by the 1950s and on notice of climate risks by the 1960s. The question arises: What did they do with that information?” said CIEL President Carroll Muffett. “Our research suggests the oil companies invested more in explaining away climate risks than in confronting them.”

    http://www.ciel.org/news/100-new-documents-highlight-oil-industry-studied-climate-delayed-solutions

    Reply
    • Andy in SD

       /  May 20, 2016

      Thanks for sharing this DT!

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  May 20, 2016

      This is the kind of info we need the entire population to absorb and understand. This is so much worse than telling people to smoke. Oil companies have forced the whole world to “smoke” and now our globe has lung cancer. These companies’ executives should be hung from the gallows. More than any other person in history, they have single handedly destroyed the future for not only humans, but all life on Earth. A greater crime I cannot think of.

      Reply
  11. PNW May 18, 1980

    Reply
  12. Brilliant. Thanks Robert!

    Reply
  13. wili

     /  May 20, 2016

    Another excellent piece! And thanks for the hat tip!

    Reply
    • Thx, Wili. You guys have been great keeping up with relevant items in the discussion lately. Noticed that the DNC is offering Bernie some concessions. Good move. Let’s hope they give him some influence over the party platform.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  May 20, 2016

        Indeed! I still think the delegates may see the writing on the wall and realized that Hillary is not going to be the candidate most likely to win this fall. We’ll see.

        Reply
  14. – A sense of dread was in me as 2015 approached. I feared for the worse.
    2016 is now unfolding — and the fear is behind me.
    – Yeah, sure.🙂

    – But now another ‘inconvenient’ graph to share:

    Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  May 20, 2016

      Just totally nuts. I can’t help but worry more than usual…if we were at the start of runaway warming, this is what it would look like. It’s not hyperbole to say we are in a planetary emergency.

      Reply
  15. – Don’t look now but one of those psychopaths the seditious Republicans have inflicted upon us is at work again.

    State Officials Investigated Over Their Inquiry Into Exxon Mobil’s Climate Change Research

    Representative Lamar Smith, Republican of Texas, is accusing some state attorneys general of trying to make a pariah out of Exxon Mobil over climate change


    Representative Lamar Smith, Republican of Texas, sent a letter on Wednesday to the New York attorney general, Eric T. Schneiderman, demanding all communications since 2012 between his office and climate change activist organizations.

    The attorneys general, Mr. Smith said, are doing the bidding of environmental activists who set out to make pariahs of Exxon Mobil and its industry in pursuit of policies to limit climate change.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/20/science/exxon-mobil-climate-change-global-warming.html?_r=0

    Reply
  16. Greg

     /  May 20, 2016

    Bill Nye weighs in. Deniers “have been especially successful at introducing the idea that routine predictive uncertainty, e.g. plus or minus two percent, is somehow the same as plus or minus one hundred percent. It isn’t, and the deniers are wrong…. I am now challenging the deniers directly. By showing enough people the techniques and ignorance of the deniers, I believe we can make warming and climate change a campaign issue, which will swing the upcoming U.S. presidential election in favor of a candidate who is not out of touch with our worldwide climate situation.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-nye/why-i-choose-to-challenge_b_10048224.html

    Reply
  17. Colorado Bob

     /  May 20, 2016

    Wildfires rage in Siberia and Russian Far East
    By The Siberian Times reporter
    11 May 2016

    Dramatic social media messages from villagers – ‘Forests are burning!’, ‘Nothing to breathe in Bagdarin village!’, ‘Turka village is on fire!’

    http://siberiantimes.com/ecology/others/news/n0674-wildfires-rage-in-siberia-and-russian-far-east/

    Reply
  18. Colorado Bob

     /  May 20, 2016

    SNPP/VIIRS
    2016/140
    05/19/2016
    03:30 UTC

    Smoke from Russian wildfires over the Pacific Ocean

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  May 20, 2016

    SNPP/VIIRS
    2016/139
    05/18/2016
    03:45 UTC

    Smoke from Russian wildfires over the Sea of Japan

    Reply
  20. Colorado Bob

     /  May 20, 2016

    THINK the science of climate change is not settled?

    These confronting before and after photos of shrinking glaciers and disappearing lakes may well change your mind.

    The images released by NASA’s climate change arm reveal just how much our world has changed — some in months, others over years.

    http://climate.nasa.gov/images-of-change#543-melting-qori-kalis-glacier-peru

    Reply
  21. Ryan in New England

     /  May 20, 2016

    For those that “know” me here, you know I live in Connecticut…my neighbor to the East is Rhode Island. Twice the size of Rhode Island is about the size of Connecticut, and to think that a forest fire in May, in Canada, can burn the square mileage of my state (roughly) just blows my mind. Let’s say this becomes a routine event, occurring every year. How long until massive swaths of forest are simply gone? I forget who posted the link, but a recent comment was about Alaska’s fire that occurred decades ago (50s and 60s) and the forest still hasn’t recovered in those areas. What is these fires in the North are turning the area int a totally different habitat/ecosystem? We are witnessing radical changes taking place right before our eyes. Tragic.

    Reply
  22. Cate

     /  May 20, 2016

    And yet another nasty component of wildfire smoke from burning boreal peatlands: mercury.

    http://grist.org/news/the-alberta-wildfire-is-dumping-mercury-into-the-atmosphere/

    Reply
  23. I continually scour the internet looking for evidence that CC has gone mainstream…in hopes that the message is finally taking hold among the majority of the population….and that the “denial-ists” are finally losing their dangerous propaganda game.

    The other day while listening to the Insight channel on SiriusXM…I heard John Fugelsang give an interview with meteorologist Dr. Elizabeth Austin on her newest book “Treading on Thin Air: Atmospheric Physics, Forensic Meteorology, Climate Change: How weather shapes our everyday lives”. Though the whole interview is not about CC…a percentage of the interview did address CC and how even 1 degree warming has huge effects on us and our planet. You might want to check out the interview and her book (Full disclosure, I have not read the book yet):

    http://weatherextreme.com/dr-austin-siriusxm-radio-interview-on-john-fugelsangs-tell-me-everything/

    I continue to hope and pray…that there is a consciousness shift among our fellow travelers that make GW a central issue in people’s minds..which hopefully will lead to real action and change.

    Reply
  24. Cate

     /  May 20, 2016

    “Because human activities cause this environmental damage, our species is culpable for a crime we are committing against ourselves. But in our defense, humanity is largely trapped by the political form of liberal state power, which facilitates the smooth functioning of global capitalism — the source of the problem….

    “There are two dominant political strategies that currently prevail in response to this problem. Either we try to mediate capitalism (this would be the “greening” of the economy argument) or we work from the outside to resist it (namely, the position of the radical activist). However, we’re now seeing a system of government that responds to environmental degradation by protecting the interests of the corporate sector ahead of civil society. The government is now a corporate actor that works with the private sector to privatize our shared resources. Meanwhile, the radical activist who frees minks from a fur farm, for example, can now be prosecuted under federal terrorism laws. In this way, tactics of working within the system to change it and the alternative approach of radical resistance each, in their own way, end up being absorbed into capitalist society and facilitating its smooth functioning.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/18/opinion/our-crime-against-the-planet-and-ourselves.html?_r=0

    Reply
  25. Colorado Bob

     /  May 20, 2016

    India Sets New All-Time Record High; Temps Near 125 Degrees in Pakistan

    The hottest temperatures were centered in the low-elevation agricultural plains of south-central Pakistan, the meteorological office said, but temperatures in mountainous areas of northern Pakistan will also rise by 39-41 degrees above average, which may result in rapid melting of snow and glaciers.

    https://weather.com/news/weather/news/record-heat-hits-india-extreme-heat-pakistan

    Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  May 20, 2016

    New York Attorney General To House Republicans: Are You Kidding?

    The attorney general’s office did not seem pleased with House committee’s request.

    “Anyone who thinks that Attorney General Schneiderman will be intimidated by this effort has no idea who they’re dealing with,” Soufer said. “New York will continue to work with and collaborate with its colleagues across the country, and those with expertise in this area, to protect its citizens from fraud.”

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2016/05/20/3780305/lamar-smith-investigates-new-yorks-investigation/

    Reply
    • And that’s how you deal with a bully…

      Well done, Schneirderman. This is the kind of leadership we need to face this crisis. New York should be proud.

      Reply
    • Phil

       /  May 20, 2016

      Do not know the USA system that well but if possible it would be good to see some of these DA extend their investigations back against these Republicans – get to see how they like the serve returned at them.

      Reply
  27. Reply
    • – PNW/Gulf of Alaska, BC/AB — and Greenland temps are likey indicative of Arctic health and its prospects.

      Reply
  28. June

     /  May 20, 2016

    Bill McKibben has a good opinion piece in the Guardian calling out the ExxonMobil shareholders who say “engagement” is better than divestment.

    “Let’s give up the climate change charade: Exxon won’t change its stripes”

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/20/exxon-shareholders-climate-change-reform-divest

    Reply
  29. June

     /  May 20, 2016

    There’s been a noticeable increase in the sense of urgency in the latest UN reports.

    ” Global Destruction of Mother Earth on Fast Track”

    With no region of the Earth untouched by the ravages of environmental destruction, the state of the world’s natural resources is in a rapid downward spiral, a comprehensive assessment by the United Nations has found.

    http://commondreams.org/news/2016/05/20/un-assessment-global-destruction-mother-earth-fast-track

    Reply
  30. – Trade as vector?

    – Rampant global trade has consequences for forests.

    Imported Forest Pests Cause $2 Billion in Damage Annually

    When Gary Lovett was studying the effect of acid rain in New York’s Catskill Mountains 20 years ago, he ended the experiment early because so many trees in the test plots were dying — not from acid rain, but from insect attacks.

    “I consider air pollution and climate change to be serious, long-term threats to the forests,” said Lovett, senior scientist at the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies in the Hudson Valley. “But neither of those is changing the forest the way the pests are.”

    In a study published this month in the journal Ecological Applications, Lovett and 15 colleagues estimated that 63 percent of U.S. forest land, or about 825 million acres, is at risk of increased damage from established pests, and new pests continue to arrive with cargo shipments from overseas.

    There are more than 400 forest pests in the country with every state affected, Lovett said. New York has the most, with 62 types of pest. The Northeast and upper Midwest are the most heavily infested regions. Lovett said that’s because of centuries of overseas trade from regions where tree species are similar but have evolved with insect pest resistance that U.S. trees lack.

    Imported tree pests long ago wiped out eastern chestnuts and elms. Now under siege are hemlocks, ash, beech, oaks, maples and dogwood.
    http://www.sci-tech-today.com/story.xhtml?story_id=11000664LACQ#

    Reply
    • June

       /  May 20, 2016

      Another insect attack on Alaskan spruce trees…the spruce aphid

      New bug brings back memories of spruce bark beetle devastation

      …”Lundquist said the blight has spread rapidly and unexpectedly. In quick succession, the aphids jumped from Kenai Fjords National Park to Halibut Cove and now to Homer.”

      http://www.adn.com/commentary/2016/05/18/new-bug-brings-back-memories-of-spruce-bark-beetle-devastation/

      Reply
      • Shipping containers: Importing insect pests, too

        By Faith Campbell, Emeritus environmental advocate and tree-pest expert

        Several of the most damaging tree-killing insects came to America as larvae riding in crates, pallets, or other forms of wood packaging material (WPM).

        These include the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB), emerald ash borer, and redbay ambrosia beetle. All entered the country since trade opened with China in the late 1980s. The ALB and EAB entered before our government had adopted effective measures to prevent pests from being transported in WPM

        Still, as of 2009, one shipment out of each thousand that contain wood packaging harbors a live insect that threatens plant resources in the U.S. This sounds like a very small risk. However, an estimated 13 million shipping containers carrying wood packaging entered the U.S. in 2013. At the suggested approach rate, this means 13,000 containers harboring pests would enter the country each year – 35 per day.1 Continuing what we are doing now could result in more than 100 additional wood-boring insects being introduced over the next 40 years.2
        https://www.americanforests.org/blog/shipping-containers-importing-insect-pests-too/

        Reply
      • – Along with invasive pests harming forests, etc — invasive plants and weeds are impacting grasslands. All with climate change accelerating their spread.

        Reply
  31. – EXXON and its cohort in evil: the American Petroleum Institute
    (These people have been at this for a long time. They are ruthless thieves without morals or scruples — and are well entrenched.)

    – Oil company records from 1960s reveal patents to reduce CO2 emissions in cars

    ExxonMobil and others pursued research into technologies, yet blocked government efforts to fight climate change for more than 50 years, findings show

    The forerunners of ExxonMobil patented technologies for electric cars and low emissions vehicles as early as 1963 – even as the oil industry lobby tried to squash government funding for such research, according to a trove of newly discovered records.

    Patent records reveal oil companies actively pursued research into technologies to cut carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change from the 1960s – including early versions of the batteries now deployed to power electric cars such as the Tesla.

    Scientists for the companies patented technologies to strip carbon dioxide out of exhaust pipes, and improve engine efficiency, as well as fuel cells. They also conducted research into countering the rise in carbon dioxide emissions – including manipulating the weather.

    Esso, one of the precursors of ExxonMobil, obtained at least three fuel cell patents in the 1960s and another for a low-polluting vehicle in 1970, according to the records. Other oil companies such as Phillips and Shell also patented technologies for more efficient uses of fuel.

    However, the American Petroleum Institute, the main oil lobby, opposed government funding of research into electric cars and low emissions vehicles, telling Congress in 1967: “We take exception to the basic assumption that clean air can be achieved only by finding an alternative to the internal combustion engine.
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/may/20/oil-company-records-exxon-co2-emission-reduction-patents

    Reply
    • Were these blocking patents, meant to stifle the development of these technologies by throwing patent encumbrances in the way?

      I remember Stanford Ovshinsky’s Ovonic Solar, using his revolutionary amorphous semiconductors, that stagnated after it was acquired by the oil corporation ARCO.

      A well known example of technology blocking by patent encumbrance is what happened to the nickel metal hydride batteries for the GM electric car – another Ovshinsky development, sold by GM to Chevron. This patent encumbrance led to large format nickel metal hydride batteries being unavailable in the U.S. for several years. These batteries are very suitable for hybrid vehicles- in fact the Toyota Prius has nickel metal hydride batteries.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patent_encumbrance_of_large_automotive_NiMH_batteries

      Reply
  32. June

     /  May 20, 2016

    Jeff Masters’ latest post on record low arctic sea ice extent has a link to Robert’s post on this fire.

    https://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=3306

    Reply
  33. Damn, still going, as of yesterday:

    http://go.nasa.gov/25lQPOB

    Reply
  34. And the intense carbon monoxide plume is back, at Fort McMurray:

    https://earth.nullschool.net/#2016/05/25/1200Z/chem/surface/level/overlay=cosc/orthographic=-109.33,57.46,3000/loc=-110.349,57.219

    Not quite as big as it was, but still a big one.

    Reply
  1. Tar Sands Fire Out Of Control – Zero Percent Contained
  2. Where your job went and why it won’t come back | Move for Change and the Brooklyn Culture Jam
  3. Earth’s 12-Month Heat Streak | Ellabird Books
  4. Climate Change, Drought Fan Massive Sand Fire, Forcing 20,000 Californians to Flee | robertscribbler

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: