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Pawnee Fire Forces Another State of Emergency for Northern California

Human-forced climate change is driving severe events that local communities are having difficulty recovering from. The primary reason is that the tempo of these events is so high that it allows little time for recovery.

(Another series of intense wildfires, another state of emergency for California.)

This weekend, a large complex of fires erupted in the Lake County region of Northern California. By today, the fires had expanded to cover over 10,500 acres. The rapidly expanding fire has already destroyed more than 22 buildings while forcing 3,000 to flee. Meanwhile, Governor Jerry Brown had declared a state of emergency.

Hot and dry conditions fanned the blazes on Tuesday, increasing concerns that the fires would continue to rapidly spread. Temperatures in Fresno are expected to hit 100 degrees (F) today with readings in Redding likely to hit near the century mark. Meanwhile, a large zone from Death Valley to Vegas to Phoenix is predicted to see temperatures hit 108 to 114 (F) or above.

(Very hot conditions across California are presently elevating fire risk. Already, large blazes have burned numerous buildings and forced hundreds to flee. Image source: National Weather Service.)

These hot, windy conditions will continue to elevate fire hazards across the west — which is bad news for communities beleaguered by the ongoing spate.

During recent years, big swings between heavy precipitation events and hot, dry conditions have fueled larger, more intense wildfires across the U.S. West and particularly in Northern California. Human caused climate change drives these events by adding moisture to the atmosphere which favors heavier storms and by forcing temperatures higher. The result is that vegetation grows and blooms more rapidly during the wetter than normal periods and dries out faster during the hotter than normal periods — generating more dry fuel for wildfires.

 

 

 

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34 Comments

  1. wharf rat

     /  June 26, 2018

    Too late to make the Tesla thread…

    V Dub reaches Peak Pike
    The prototype electric race car beat the previous Pikes Peak Hill Climb record by a full 15 seconds.
    https://www.cnet.com/roadshow/news/volkswagen-idr-electric-pikes-peak-record/

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • Nice 🙂

      Of course, VW has quite a lot to do to catch up to Tesla in the actual production car department. But these race cars are good test vehicles that stretch the boundaries of what’s possible.

      Like

      Reply
  2. Genomik

     /  June 26, 2018

    San Jose/Santa Clara are building a new massive resevoir to get them thru hard times which will no doubt happen.
    https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/06/26/santa-clara-valley-water-district-to-buy-site-for-huge-new-reservoir-largest-in-20-years-in-bay-area/

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  3. Genomik

     /  June 26, 2018

    I can’t believe its only June and already there are crazy wind fed fires with single digit humidities. This area has had incessant fires for 4 years now. It must be very stressful living out there. I know a lot of folks in that general area and its very close to the San Francisco Bay Area. I don’t see these fires declining until maybe theres no more trees but even still we get rain which can grow shrubs which can burn when winds are high and humidities are low.

    The head of CalFire said “This is the new Normal” and I believe it, California forests are likely just going to mostly burn away over the next 20 years. What will that do to housing prices? The hills get crazy hot in the summer and without trees its not nearly so enjoyable to live there, you mostly just sweat. The nickname of the city Redding is Sweating and thats from 20 years ago!.

    I spoke to a park ranger a few years ago in the Sierras, they said in spring and fall theres alot of lightning but in the spring the high humidities prevent most fires but if the new normal is lower humidities in spring that can mean the fire season essentially doubles as lightning is a major fire cause.

    Alot of red voters in the foothills too. I always wonder if you are a trump supporter/climate hoax believer and your home burns down in unprecedented conflagrations, do you still think CC is a hoax?

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • Leland Palmer

       /  June 27, 2018

      Yes, agree with all you said. We live in Santa Rosa, and were threatened by the Tubbs fire last year. I need to get the generator in shape and the hoses rigged, so that we can at least sprinkle the house if the neighborhood is threatened by fire and the power goes out. The plan is to set the generator going and sprinklers going and leave, if necessary.

      One possible concern is the growth of eucalyptus trees, that release volatile oils during fires and that may be adapted to use fire as a weapon against other species of trees. California has lots of those trees, and they are often huge, towering above all the native species.

      We had some Red Flag fire warnings the other day, and I flashed back to the scary times last year. For months after those fires last year, whenever the wind blew, it made me nervous. That nervousness has faded away, but now it’s starting to come back.

      http://www.fire.ca.gov/communications/communications_firesafety_redflagwarning

      I got a water pressure booster pump last year, and some Super Nozzles so I was able to squirt water way up into our redwood trees, maybe 50-60 feet high. So, I need to get these rigged up again. Maybe I’ll make a YouTube video about how to rig up this system, and post it.

      Liked by 3 people

      Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 27, 2018

        I put the hose and nozzles on a 15 foot high pole, tying it to the pole with plastic cable ties. So, the water stream started out 15 feet above the ground.

        Liked by 2 people

        Reply
      • Leland Palmer

         /  June 27, 2018

        Here’s an existing YouTube video on Super Nozzles:

        This is not me, it’s some other guy.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  4. Andy_in_SD

     /  June 26, 2018

    The amount of money that is needed to move villages and then move them again simply will not occur. The 70 villages in trouble would cost $14B to move. At 300 people per village, that works out to $670,000 per person.

    It would be cheaper to hand them 1/2 million dollars each and say good luck. But that will not occur either. Instead, they will have something in common with those on the Mekong delta sooner than later.

    ==============================================================

    villages like Kivalina in north-west Alaska will have to move within the next 10 years, Romanovsky explains. “But estimates show cost of moving is about $200m (£150m) per village of 300 people.”

    “I think by now there are 70 villages who really have to move because of thawing permafrost,” Romanovsky says. “But moving villages to another location on permafrost is very difficult to guarantee for 30 years or so and the federal government doesn’t want to pay for something they have to pay for again.”

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20171016-the-great-thaw-of-americas-north-is-coming

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  5. It’s hot here in Albuquerque, NM. It was 102F a few minutes ago. Not an anomaly but hot all the same. Fire danger is extreme. A few national forests have been closed to the public because if the extreme fire danger. There was little snow fall last winter and subsequently has left the forests exceedingly dray. Fire season may be bad this year. I’m watching CA, it looks to be as bad or even worse that last year. The Ol’ Hippy

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  6. wili

     /  June 26, 2018

    Big fires in Alaska, as well: http://www.newsminer.com/news/local_news/crews-working-two-large-wildfires-south-of-manley-hot-springs/article_88b4028c-70d9-11e8-9448-bf52cb8d15cb.html

    “Crews working two large wildfires south of Manley Hot Springs”

    “A 28,000-acre wildfire burning south of Manley Hot Springs made an aggressive run during mid-week, raising concern about a threat to several buildings and Alaska Native allotments.

    The Alaska Fire Service, an agency of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, noted on its Facebook page Thursday that a crew of smokejumpers flying over the area “reported seeing significant growth and with a potential spread” toward buildings and land holdings.

    The lightning-caused Zitziana River Fire started June 4 and is burning just south of Manley Hot Springs…

    The 39,000-acre Mooseheart fire, also caused by lightning, started on June 7 and is burning to the west of the Zitziana River Fire.

    Both fires are south of the Tanana River….”

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  7. Andy_in_SD

     /  June 26, 2018

    Sierra’s snow pack looks pretty absent. Zoom in and look around, really nothing there.

    http://www.arctic.io/explorer/24/2018-06-25/6-N38.32031-W122.01416

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  8. mlp in nc

     /  June 26, 2018

    More sobering news on the health effects of nanoparticles, but nobody with any say so is paying attention. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180625192724.htm

    Nanomaterials could mean more algae outbreaks for wetlands, waterways
    High tech metal particles may inadvertently take a toll on aquatic life. Duke University

    . . . when combined with nutrient runoff from fertilized cropland and manure-filled pastures, these ‘nanopesticides’ could also mean more toxic algae outbreaks for nearby streams, lakes and wetlands, researchers report.

    “The results were surprising,” Simonin said. The nanoparticles had tiny effects individually, but when added together with nutrients, even low concentrations of gold and copper nanoparticles used in fungicides and other products turned the once-clear water a murky pea soup color, its surface covered with bright green smelly mats of floating algae.

    Over the course of the experiment, big algal blooms were more than three times more frequent and more persistent in tanks where nanoparticles and nutrients were added together than where nutrients were added alone. The algae overgrowths also reduced dissolved oxygen in the water.

    It’s not clear yet how nanoparticle exposure shifts the delicate balance between plants and algae as they compete for nutrients and other resources. But the results suggest that nanoparticles and other “metal-based synthetic chemicals may be playing an under-appreciated role in the global trends of increasing eutrophication,” the researchers said.

    Like

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    • Abel Adamski

       /  June 28, 2018

      Whilst not directly related to the nanoparticles (which also occur in nature), this study highlights issues with Biological/medical research. Namely that test results are dependent on cofactors whether included in the trials or not or whether even recognised, the consequences can be positives or negatives

      Like

      Reply
  9. mlp in nc

     /  June 26, 2018

    Not scaled up yet but sounds hopeful. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180625192825.htm
    ‘Electrogeochemistry’ captures carbon, produces fuel, offsets ocean acidification
    U. California – Santa Cruz
    . . . A new study evaluates the potential for recently described methods that capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere through an ‘electrogeochemical’ process that also generates hydrogen gas for use as fuel and creates by-products that can help counteract ocean acidification. hopeful. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180625192825.htm

    Like

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  10. mlp in nc

     /  June 26, 2018

    OT but now a little WOW.
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-05544-9

    Daring Japanese mission reaches unexplored asteroid Ryugu

    The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa-2 is nearing asteroid Ryugu, from which it will return a sample to Earth.Credit: JAXA

    After travelling for three-and-a-half years, the Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa-2 this week makes its final approach to the asteroid Ryugu. The probe will release landers on the space rock’s surface later this year, bring back a precious sample to terrestrial labs in 2020, and it is already giving planetary scientists their closest-ever view of a mysterious kind of asteroid.

    Hayabusa-2 will simply hover over Ryugu — using its own gentle ion engines to counteract the asteroid’s gravitational attraction — and release MASCOT straight down. Some time in October, the lander will make a soft touch-down at around 30 cm per second. The exact speed will depend on the strength of Ryugu’s gravitational pull, which Hayabusa-2 has yet to measure. After MASCOT settles on the surface, an internal mechanism will straighten the lander up so it can use its on-board instruments and communicate with Hayabusa-2.

    Meanwhile, Hayabusa-2 will make its own, brief soft landings to collect samples of the asteroid’s surface. Then in late 2019, it will head back to Earth, a journey expected to last a year.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  11. Kiwi Griff

     /  June 27, 2018

    Britain is not immune.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jun/27/manchester-moorland-fire-declared-a-major-incident-by-police

    Manchester moorland fire declared a major incident by police

    Firefighters were forced to undertake “physically draining” work as a heatwave gripped much of Britain on Tuesday, Greater Manchester fire and rescue service said. They were “faced with very difficult circumstances, intense heat” and were “working on challenging terrain”, added the group manager for Tameside and Stockport, Phil Nelson.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • Jeremy in Wales

       /  June 27, 2018

      Here is a timelapse of our own homegrown grass and peat fire

      The majority are either caused by arsonists, urban areas in close proximity, or deliberate burning to create habitat for grouse hunting that gets out of control. Monbiots article explains the problem
      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jun/27/moors-grouse-shooting-saddleworth-fire-sport-land
      I live near a similar moor in Wales and the vegitation is very limited with a peat underlay which on drying out is tinder waiting for a match and come school holidays seems to be a draw for some,

      Like

      Reply
    • Looks really rough. Any news on context for the overall fire season in the UK?

      Like

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      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  June 27, 2018

        These type of fires can spring up after only very short dry spells, Can be caused naturally but often the cause is human carelessness, disposable barbacues, discarded bottles acting like magnifying glasses, or deliberate ignition.
        In the Valleys of the South of Wales there is a strong correlation with school holidays
        https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-32330258
        http://www.southwalesguardian.co.uk/news/11859322.Mid_and_West_Wales_Fire_and_Rescue_Service_issue_grass_fires_warning_for_the_county/
        A big fire like the one near Manchester presently burns a lot of peat and therefore release more carbon than if it was simply a grass fire.

        Like

        Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  June 28, 2018

        It is relatively hot and dry in the UK at the mo, as it is across much of Northern Europe. We had records set in May (i think it was declared to be the sunniest May on record), and I think we will get something similar for June, because we are close to the hottest recorded temps for this month. The weather people have been calling it a heatwave, which some of you might be amused to know is, here in the East Midlands, max temps of around 30 Deg C (86F) over a sustained period.

        Being a rather damp country, I’m not sure we really have much of a ‘traditional’ fire season as such, more a vulnerability that becomes serious during drought conditions (which we are pretty close to now). I found one document which gives a fairly comprehensive overview of wildfires in the UK, and perhaps unsurprisingly, we aren’t as organised as countries that have higher risk, and good data is rather sparse.

        https://www.nrs.fs.fed.us/pubs/gtr/gtr-nrs-p-84papers/07mcmorrow-p-84.pdf

        The June numbers will be available soon, so expect some headlines early next week.

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
  12. kassy

     /  June 27, 2018

    Warming of 2C ‘substantially’ more harmful than 1.5C – draft UN report

    A leaked draft of a major UN climate change report shows growing certainty that 2C, once shorthand for a ‘safe’ amount of planetary warming, would be a dangerous step for humanity.

    The authors make clear the difference between warming of 1.5C and 2C would be “substantial” and damaging to communities, economies and ecosystems across the world.

    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2018/06/27/warming-2c-substantially-harmful-1-5c-draft-un-report/

    If you want to know more about the proces you can also go to link 1 of the 4 at the bottom.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
  13. kassy

     /  June 27, 2018

    Colombia tree loss spikes as peace deal leads to land grabs

    The area of forest cleared in Colombia jumped 46% last year, data compiled by the World Resources Institute show, in an “alarming” trend

    Tree loss in Colombia for 2017 jumped by 46% from 2016 to 2017, a World Resources Institute (WRI) report revealed on Wednesday. It follows a doubling of tree loss between 2001 and 2015.

    The spike is linked to an outbreak of land-grabbing after Colombia’s largest rebel group, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc), signed a peace deal with the government in 2016.

    It is part of a wider global trend, WRI data show, as forests are cleared to make way for soy and oil palm plantations, cattle ranches, mines and roads.

    Last year, the world lost an area of tropical forest the size of Bangladesh, or 40 football fields worth of tree cover a minute.

    “These numbers show an alarming story for the world’s rainforests… we simply won’t meet the targets that we agreed in Paris without a drastic reduction of tropical deforestation and restoration of forests around the world,” said Andreas Dahl-Jørgensen, deputy director of Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative.

    http://www.climatechangenews.com/2018/06/27/colombia-tree-loss-spikes-peace-deal-leads-land-grabs/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ClimateHome+%28Climate+Home%29

    Civil wars have these unintended good effects (good for nature). I remember visiting Sri Lanka’s Elephant Orphanage and they told me the main reason there still was jungle in north (iirc) SL was the civil war. So yes it was sad that they had a 3 legged elephant (land mine) but without the war most of the area would have been gone earlier because it would have been converted to farming…

    That rate of loss is pretty horrific. So we cut down the tropical forest to farm soy beans while farther from the equator the forests die to droughts and fires. The loss of any old growth forests and very rich forests is 1) a big loss to biological variety and 2) a net loss of the carbon sink.

    Since we already know that some wealth will be transferred from rich countries (who also are big historical contributors of CO2) to the rest of the world to combat global warming we should put some money together to actually save important parts of original nature. Reforest the Amazon and the jungles in Indonesia nearest to endangered species. Don’t know if they started on that Serengeti highway but if so provide money to break it down and eventually build a hight tech tunnel for transport.

    Make actual working sanctuaries because time is running out. In this you save trees, all kinds of animal species but also all kind of molds and bacteria and viruses living there in a symbiotic relationship. Yes we have a seed vault but we are losing so much of the things we do not collect.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  14. Jeremy in Wales

     /  June 27, 2018

    The push for renewables is not helped when you have right wing idiots in charge of our destiny. A tidal lagoon that could generate for decades to come is cancelled as they prefer to subsidise overseas nuclear power companies with our electricity costs
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jun/27/government-got-its-sums-wrong-on-swansea-bay-tidal-lagoon
    Which would you prefer to live next too, nuclear or tidal. I know which I would choose.

    Like

    Reply
    • Renewable energy is the fastest growing segment of energy production. Total renewable energy doubled from 2007 to 2017 and we have the opportunity to rapidly expand due to economics at this time. The fact that EVs are x4 more efficient than an ICE provides some understanding of how much potential there is for carbon reduction over the coming years if wind, solar, and EVs are rapidly deployed.

      Like

      Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  June 28, 2018

      I completely take the point about right-wing idiots being in charge, but the quoted strike price is quite high.

      Instead of it being a choice between nuclear or tidal, how about some solar power, wind power and batteries instead? Surely that would be cheaper than either of your options. I guess the reply might mention baseload power, but I thought that concept had become less fashionable than it used to be.

      I’m not suggesting I’m an expert on the tidal stuff, and our govt seems to be disturbingly keen on pushing nuclear, so I too can see a bad outcome on the horizon. Building nuclear power on the coast these days seems like absolute madness to me, given the length of time it takes to decommision the bloody things economically.

      Having said all that, I guessing that a tidal lagoon system isn’t particularly vulnerable to rapid sea level rise, compared to nukes, so I’m only reall objecting over cost concerns. And if that really is a non-issue, I’m right with you!

      Like

      Reply
  15. wili

     /  June 27, 2018

    “100 year events to come once a year: Extreme flooding events will increase sharply along coastlines.”

    https://phys.org/news/2018-06-extreme-sea-global-coastlines.html

    (Thanks, as often, to sidd at asif)

    Like

    Reply
  16. Abel Adamski

     /  June 28, 2018

    For a political Breakthrough in the US, the fact she has achieved what she has achieved is an indication of a trend starting to show.
    https://qz.com/1316082/alexandria-ocasio-cortezs-green-new-deal-could-make-the-us-a-climate-change-leader/

    Like

    Reply
  17. kassy

     /  June 28, 2018

    Nice! The younger generations should take control and Make Their Future Great Again. The old white baby boomers living in the past will just kick the can down the road or even back up the road so the younger ones will have to pay more to solve the problems eventually.

    Like

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  18. Leland Palmer

     /  June 28, 2018

    Robert’s recent article on the Hot Blob temperature anomaly being tied to the loss of Arctic sea ice is a timely reminder of what is happening and what will very likely continue to happen. When the Hot Blob comes back, California will likely be in for another spell of drought. That means more dead trees, and more fire.

    Really, it seems like climactic zones are shifting northward. Santa Rosa will likely have a climate like used to exist in Los Angeles, I think. So, in our retirement, my wife and I will end up living in the desert, prone to fire storms.

    Like

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