California on fire

Posted by Lucky 1 week, 4 days ago to Science
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A very impressive outline. This is my cut version with a rechnical rather than political emphasis.

Summary:

(1) The climate is conducive to bushfires.
In the south, Chaparral. Heath-like shrubland, dense, highly flammable, it cannot be burned safely for fuel reduction; it either will not burn at all, or it burns with uncontrollable violence.
Fuel-reduction burning to reduce the bushfire threat is well-nigh impossible in chaparral country.
The N.California coniferous forests, mostly pine, some Redwood and Douglas fir. Dense second growth. For centuries before European settlement these areas were regularly burned by the indigenous Americans, making them virtually wildfire-proof.

(2) The vegetation is highly flammable, especially when dried out by Santa Ana winds - very dry, very hot, comes fast like opening the door of a blast furnace.

(3) Management policies favour emergency response over preparing potential fire grounds.

(4) Increasingly, firefighters are relying on water/retardant dropping aircraft, despite the fact that they are useless in suppressing high-intensity fires.

(5) Big population increases in fire-vulnerable townships at the bushland interface.

US forest management now has a fire brigade approach. Bushfires are not regarded as predictable and so forestallable, but as an emergency requiring the full panoply of 20,000 firemen and squadrons of DC10s dropping retardant.

Blaming climate change is just too easy, it gets in the way of what must occur: a reappraisal of the way Californians live in and manage their forests.
SOURCE URL: https://quadrant.org.au/opinion/what-californias-fire-follies-can-teach-us/


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  • Posted by DrZarkov99 1 week, 2 days ago
    After blaming climate change deniers for the fires, Governor Brown quietly changed state policies. He allowed clearing trees of up to 36" diameter (limit used to be 24"). He allowed establishing temporary roads of up to 500' without a license to enable forest clearing, provided the road area is restored after use (licenses used to be required for any temporary roads). He's allowed mechanical brush clearing outside of dry season without a license. Of course this has the enviro-wackos in a raging tailspin, and the media is dutifully ignoring it.
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  • Posted by  $  Flootus5 1 week, 2 days ago
    California is no longer the Golden State. It should be renamed the Disaster State. Reasons range from earthquakes, to fires, to mudslides, floods, tsunamis, volcanoes........oh, and then there is all that politics!
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    • Posted by 1 week, 2 days ago
      Nature does not care about humanity, one way or the other. There are good and bad climates and all kinds of disasters will happen. When politics intrude, assisted by cronyism, preparations are not made to reduce/mitigate inevitable disasters, phony and expensive measures that do not work are used to fool the ignorant into thinking that something is being done.
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  • Posted by preimert1 1 week, 2 days ago
    According to firemen I mhave talked to fires need three things: fuel, oxygen and heat. Of these the only one man can control is fuel. Of course the best policy for reducing incidence of fire would be to clear fuel from around structures and change building codes to use less flamible materials, but I wonder if fire retardant applied pre-emptorily to fire prone areas or areas with high value improvements would be more cost effective than waiting for a fire to happen?
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    • Posted by JohnJMulhall 1 week, 1 day ago
      Fires like this year need one more thing: bean-counters to decide it is cheaper ($$$) to not have the fire fighters (for local protection and Mutual Aid) and let the insurance companies pay the cost of rebuilding. A life is worth how much?? Bean counters know the figure, and worth a billion times more than that when it is your own.
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  • Posted by term2 1 week, 2 days ago
    California deserves to burn for electing so many morons for government
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    • Posted by TheOldMan 1 week, 2 days ago
      Not all of us vote for morons but we are greatly outnumbered.
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      • Posted by term2 1 week, 2 days ago
        True. Greatly outnumbered, even in Orange County. I used to live in California, but I escaped in around 2000 when I could see where it was going. I still have some property there, unfortunately, and will have to pay tax on it when I sell it. I am trying to sell it ASAP. Housing prices are high there because I think the liberals are flocking there and bidding up the prices. That will come to a screeching halt when the economics of socialism take hold.
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  • Posted by  $  Radio_Randy 1 week, 2 days ago
    A long time friend of mine, who retired from the fire "business" several years ago, made a statement similar to "Why would the USFS bother to prevent wildfires, when there is so much money to be made on them".

    Now, granted, this is his own sentiment, though it does appear to make a lot of sense.
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  • Posted by  $  Solver 1 week, 4 days ago
    “Blaming climate change is just too easy, it gets in the way of what must occur: a reappraisal of the way Californians live in and manage their forests.”

    Humans used to blame the Gods for these kinds of things. More praying and sacrifice was always needed. Not much has changed.
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    • Posted by JohnJMulhall 1 week, 1 day ago
      Moonbeam and his ilk have ignored the fact that California is a "semi-arid" state, and that it did not flourish until white men introduced irrigation. It has NOTHING to do with 'climate change'.
      Part 2: the number of Fire Fighters in California is (my guess) 1/3 of those working in the 1980's and the Civilian Conservation Corps was down from 72 fielded 'teams' in the 1970's to less than 6 in 2005.
      If you don't clear the deadwood, it burns. If you don't have enough Fire Fighters to counter the fires, it burns.
      Result - many dead, billions of board feet of lumber is now ash and the cost of homes sky-rocketing.
      Moonbeam listened to the tree-huggers whose ignorance is evident every fire season.
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