Our Western Fires

I have written several articles the environment. A list of links have been provided at bottom of this article for your convenience. This article will, however address different aspects on the environment and the planet in general.

An unprecedented fire season is wreaking havoc across the Western US, with nearly 100 major wildfires tearing across multiple states and air quality plummeting. At least 24 people have died, with dozens more missing and over 3,000 homes, and entire neighborhoods, destroyed since the season began. By Friday in Oregon, which has declared a state of emergency, half a million people were under evacuation orders as two fires threatened to merge and continue rapidly advancing toward Salem and Portland’s suburbs. Oregon fires have burned more than 1 million acres, said the state’s governor, Kate Brown. She called the I have written several articles the environment.

California’s wildfires, driven by extreme blazes in August and September, have already burned more acres than any year on record. As of Thursday, there are blazes burning in at least 10 western states, according to the inter-agency incident information system.  The images and stories coming out of the US west are eerily reminiscent of those experienced by Australians in early 2020.

In January, vast swaths of Australia burned. The skies turned orange, and smoke blanketed the country’s largest cities. Entire cities were flattened. Now, across the Pacific, this grim history is repeating. San Francisco skies turned an eerie orange last week, with smoke blotting out the sun. 

There are glimmers of hope, as a freak blizzard slowed fire growth in Colorado. But in a sign of things to come, the fire season is yet to peak, and more of Washington state burned in a 24-hour period last week week than in 12 of the last 18 fire seasons.

Why is the West Coast on fire?

Fires can start in a variety of ways. Human activity, like carelessly discarding a cigarette, poorly maintained infrastructure or even gender reveal parties with pyrotechnics can spark fires. Some of the wildfires currently blazing across California are the result of accidental ignition. 

Fires can also be deliberately lit, though arson has not been linked to the current conflagrations. Rumors have circulated through social media that some of the fires may have been intentionally set by either right-wing or leftist activists, leading some officials to mount social media campaigns of their own to dispel the myths. 

Nature also conspires to begin fires, with lightning strikes a major concern. In California, intense thunderstorms kicked off a number of large blazes in August. Prolonged periods of drought and mismanagement of national forests may also play a role in helping these fires start. With the fire season getting longer, the window to perform critical hazard reduction burns has decreased, giving fires a chance to really take hold. The risk of the wildfires burning across western US was well-known to scientists and, regardless of the origins, fires are fueled by a dizzying number of factors.

A lack of rain and low soil moisture can help enable small fires to grow in size, and coupled with the high temperatures and fierce winds, small fires can quickly become huge infernos. This all feels extremely similar to anyone familiar with the bushfire crisis confronted by Australia in January. Environmental factors contributed significantly to the unprecedented fire season down under and they are playing out again in the US — partially driven by the negative effects of climate change.

What is the connection to climate change?

Wildfires aren’t started by climate change, but they are exacerbated by the effects of global warming. The Climate Council, an independent, community funded climate organization, suggests fire conditions are now more dangerous than they were in the past, with longer bushfire seasons, drought, drier fuels and soils, and record-breaking heat in Australia. The link between fires and climate change has become a political football, but experts agree climate change explains the unprecedented nature of the current crisis. 

Wildfires are getting worse in the US. According to data from the Monitoring Trends in Burn Severity program, on average, there are more wildfires, and they are burning more land each year. A study published in July 2019 concluded that “human-caused warming has already significantly enhanced wildfire activity in California … and will likely continue to do so in the coming decades.”

There’s no question that 2020 will be one of the hottest years on record for the planet, and a 75% chance it will be the hottest ever, according to a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Increased temperatures allow fires to burn more intensely and also cause forests to dry out and burn more easily. The heating is unequivocally caused by climate change. 

“The debate is over around climate change,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom told reporters on Friday, standing in a charred landscape. “Just come to the state of California. Observe it with your own eyes. It’s not an intellectual debate. It’s not even debatable.” There is also a horrifying feedback loop that occurs when great swaths of land are ablaze, a fact the globe grappled with during the Amazon fires of 2019 and the Australian bushfires of 2020. Huge fires release large amounts of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The gas, which makes up only a small percentage of the total gases in the atmosphere, is exceptionally good at trapping heat. Andrew Sullivan, a fire research team leader for CSIRO, an Australian government research agency, examined how technology may help predict and fight against fires. In September, he told CNET that “changes to the climate are exposing more areas to the likelihood of fire.” 

What areas are affected?

Fires are burning across the western US, but the greatest conflagrations are across California and Oregon. More than 3.5 million acres have burned in California, with over 2,500 more fires than at the same point in 2019. One of the largest fires during the Australian season, the Gospers mountain megafire, burned through around 2.2 million acres. “Unprecedented” is the word again being used by officials, weather services and media to describe the size and severity of the blazes. The dust and ash from the fires have turned the skies orange across California. Blazes in Oregon have been increasingly destructive, driven by heavy winds. “I want to be upfront in saying that we expect to see a great deal of loss, both in structures and human lives,” Oregon Gov. Kate Brown said during a briefing Tuesday. “This could be the greatest loss of human lives and property due to wildfire in our state’s history.” 

Washington has also experienced significant fires, with almost 350,000 acres burned in a 24-hour period in early September. Two large fires broke out on Sept. 8, and Gov. Jay Inslee said “more acres burned … than in 12 of the last 18 entire fire seasons in the state of Washington.”

Politicians tote climate change as the cause of our western forest fires. When in reality our history has been affected by weather patterns long before man came on the seen. Two weather patterns affect our weather, one is La Nina and the othe is El Nino. They are opposites phases of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation cycle.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this cycle describes the fluctuation in temperature between the ocean and atmosphere in the east-central Equatorial Pacific. During La Niña, sea surface temperatures are below-average in the east-central Equatorial Pacific. This happens when the trade winds blow east to west, causing the warmer waters of the surface of the ocean to move from South America to Indonesia. The cold waters from deeper parts of the ocean then rise to the surface where the warm water has moved out. This can impact weather across the entire country.

During La Niña, the Pacific jet stream will extend far north near Alaska and pass through the center of the country. This causes different patterns of weather for the end of fall and winter. Alaska and the Pacific Northwest: The weather is generally cooler with above-average rainfall. California to Carolinas: For the southern half of the U.S., we can expect warmer and drier-than-average weather. Ohio and Upper Mississippi River Valley: Expect above-average rainfall. Midwest and High Plains: Colder-than-average temperatures will be common.

How Will it Impact the Tropics?

During La Niña, wind shear, the change of wind speed and/or direction with height, is weakened over the Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea. Wind shear is what helps break a cyclone apart, causing it to weaken. Without wind shear, storms are more likely to form and can become stronger. This means we could see tropical activity increase during the end of the current hurricane season.

End of the Year

NOAA says that for the months ahead, scientists are predicting a 75 percent chance that La Niña will remain in place from December through February 2021. So, the conditions described above are looking very likely once we get into the winter season.

The forest fires were totally avoidable. My wife has friends in park management.  They have told her that we have mismanaged our forests for decades. Fires are the natural order of things. Fires keep our forests healthy. It eliminates undergrowth. Some trees need fire and heat to germinate. It also helps kill insect infestations. Pine borer beetles have been devastating our forests. Leaving behind dead trees everywhere. People love to live in forests. They do the same thing in Nevada. This makes controlled burns difficult. If we had been doing the controlled burns like we should have, we would not be having these problems. I have shown that this summer will be drier than usual because of the El Nino weather pattern is flowing different than usual.

Every year we have fires started by careless people. They either leave trash behind, or do illegal trash burns. They don’t pit their camp fires out completely, or they drop cigarette butts in dry grass. There is also people who intentionally start fires for the sheer enjoyment, Pyromaniacs and arsonists. Now we are having bio terrorists starting fires to try an push their agendas. We have evidence that groups from antifa are starting fires in Oregon. At the top of this article I posted a map of the US showing where the fires have been burning. It is obvious that they did not spread from the first fire. It is sad that these terrorists are not only burning, rioting and looting in the cities, they are now starting major fires throughout the west. They are also responsible for killing cops. We don’t want to forget that.

Now we have politicians who were responsible for the conditions of our fires, due to indifference and budget cuts are not only blaming the weather and climate change, they are blaming President Trump for them. (Note in recent press conference with Gavin Newsom praised President Trump for his response to the California fires.) He has sent fire fighters from all over the country, plus the national guard to help out. we also have fire fighters from other countries like Israel over here helping out as well. Does this sound like he is not doing anything? It looks like it is going to take rain or an act of God to put these fires out. Or they will just burn themselves out. And don’t forget that for years citizens from these burning states have requested for the state and federal governments to clear up all the fallen and dead trees. These agencies refused, stating that the trees were natural mulch and homes for animals and insects. Well how is that working for them?

2011 Feature Stories - Colorado State Forest Service
Colorado State Forest

One little post note, emissions have been lower for President Trumps’ term of office than a similar period of time in the Obama Administration. So maybe the left should stop pointing fingers and playing the blame game, and work on a solution to the problem.

Resources:

cnet.com,” 2020 wildfires in California and west,” By Jackson Ryan and Eric Mack; baynews9.com,”From Hurricanes to Droughts: La Niña Brings a Little bit of Everything,” BY METEOROLOGIST SHELLY LINDBLADE;

Environmental Postings
https://common-sense-in-america.com/2020/10/18/why-2-2-doesnt-4-and-an-apple-is-not-an-orange/
https://common-sense-in-america.com/2020/10/17/forest-fires-and-other-natural-disasters-and-their-effect-on-the-environment/
https://common-sense-in-america.com/2020/10/08/sharks-sharks-everywhere-oh-my/
https://common-sense-in-america.com/2020/10/06/natural-selection-and-evolution/
https://common-sense-in-america.com/2020/09/16/our-western-fires/
https://common-sense-in-america.com/2020/09/12/the-creation-of-our-planet-is-a-miracle-and-should-be-cherished/
https://common-sense-in-america.com/2020/06/19/global-warming-and-other-environmental-issues/
https://common-sense-in-america.com/2020/06/12/protecting-our-heritage-saving-endangered-species/

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