Paradise Fire survivors say warnings were too little, too late

By James Rainey LOS ANGELES — Belated warnings from public officials and the reluctance of residents who had survived previous fires to leave home were among the factors that contributed to the delayed and chaotic evacuation in what has become the deadliest wildfire in California history, survivors said. Some of those who escaped from the massive Camp Fire last week questioned why Butte County leaders did not do more to warn residents of Paradise and neighboring mountain communities as a fire whipped with fearsome speed through the mountainous region north of Sacramento. Most of the attention following the wildfire has focused on the search for dozens of people still missing and the possibility that power equipment belonging to the electric utility PG&E may have sparked the fire. But a few residents have begun to ask why notice did not get out to more people about the fire, which [...]

2018-11-14T07:31:28+00:00November 14th, 2018|0 Comments

Wildfires: Causes, Costs & Containment

Wildfires burn millions of acres every year, leaving death and destruction in their wake. While natural causes (and climate change) play a part, nearly all wildfires are caused by people. Also, the number of wildfires has increased in recent years, and they are burning longer. Definition The National Park Service uses several terms to describe fires. A wildland fire is the overarching term describing any non-structure fire that occurs in vegetation and natural fuels. (Non-structure fires involve residential, commercial or industrial buildings.) A prescribed fire is a planned fire intentionally set by park managers to meet management objectives. A wildfire is an unplanned fire sparked by natural causes, by human ignition or by an escaped prescribed fire. U.S. wildfire losses during the past 10 years have totaled $5.1 billion, according to Verisk Analytics, a data-analytics provider that serves the insurance industry. About 4.5 million U.S. [...]

2018-10-15T06:35:43+00:00August 28th, 2018|0 Comments

A look at California’s largest wildfires, by the numbers

(CNN)626,394 acres burned. 2,139 structures damaged or destroyed. And nearly 36,000 residents evacuated. That's just a glimpse of the devastation that California's fire season has wrought so far this year. With thousands of firefighters spread across all parts of the state, here's a look at the fiery destruction by the numbers. 17 major fires There are 17 large wildfires burning across the state and more than 14,000 firefighters working to put out the blazes, Cal Fire said on Tuesday. The two largest fires are the Mendocino Complex Fire -- which itself is made up of two nearby fires that officials have combined -- and the Carr Fire. The Mendocino Complex is now the largest fire in state history, and the Carr Fire is the 12th largest. Vast areas burned So far this year, fires in California fought by Cal Fire and US Forest Service have [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:41+00:00August 8th, 2018|0 Comments

US wildfires: smoke billows and we’re stuck indoors – this is how we live now

The pool is closed, the kids can’t play outside – we’re all trying to avoid harmful smoke from wildfires burning far away. Last week my kids went to a nature daycamp in Klamath Falls, Oregon, near the California border, where we live. It was meant to be a week of roaming the hills, learning about local species like fence lizards and sagebrush. Instead, they looked at pictures of these species while staying inside with all the windows firmly shut. Klamath Falls kids have been spending a lot of time inside this summer – days and days indoors, sweating and playing with Lego and watching TV. The outdoor pool has been closed. Our baseball team, the Klamath Falls Gems, cancelled the rest of the season. This year’s fire season in the west started out early and is on pace to be one of the worst ever. [...]

2018-10-15T06:49:05+00:00August 6th, 2018|0 Comments

Thousands flee as US wildfires kill eight

Thousands flee as US wildfires kill eight THE death toll from wildfires raging through Northern California reached eight yesterday, as tens of thousands fled the infernos that have turned homes and businesses to ashes. It is believed the mammoth blazes raging across the western coast of the US are likely to get even worse, with more high winds forecast. The gale force winds whipped the fl ames into a fiery tornado which reduced the scenic Shasta-Trinity region to ashes, destroying homes and scorching more than 180 square miles. The town of Redding had to be almost totally evacuated, displacing 37,000 people. Police yesterday appealed for help in locating two people who were still missing. Josh Lister was stunned to see the apocalyptic scene that was once his neighbourhood. He and his family had lost their home and belongings to the fire. Returning to the scene [...]

2018-10-15T06:32:22+00:00August 2nd, 2018|0 Comments

Man arrested for starting Colorado wildfire

TAOS, New Mexico (Reuters) - A man was arrested on Saturday on charges of starting a forest fire in Colorado that has destroyed structures and forced hundreds to evacuate their homes in one of dozens of wildfires raging across the drought-hit U.S. southwest. Jesper Joergensen, 52, was taken into custody for suspected arson that started the Springs Fire, the most active of around 10 blazes in Colorado, the state hardest hit by fires, according to Costilla County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page. Joergensen is not a U.S. citizen and will be handed over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement once he has faced arson charges, said a Costilla County detention officer. The officer could not immediately say what nationality Joergensen held. The fire has scorched over 38,000 acres (15,378 hectares) between the towns of Fort Garland and La Veta in southern Colorado, forcing more mandatory evacuations [...]

2018-10-15T06:23:22+00:00July 30th, 2018|0 Comments

State of emergency in Oregon as wildfires rage across the West

The “Substation Fire” has exploded to more than 50,000 acres since Tuesday, while the deadly Ferguson Fire in California near Yosemite National Park continues to be a threat.  

2018-07-20T08:25:14+00:00July 19th, 2018|0 Comments

ANALYSIS: ALL WILDFIRES ARE NOT ALIKE, BUT THE U.S. IS FIGHTING THEM THAT WAY

So far, the 2018 fire season has produced a handful of big fires in California, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado; conflagrations in Oklahoma and Kansas; and a fire bust in Alaska, along with garden-variety wildfires from Florida to Oregon. Some of those fires are in rural areas, some are in wildlands, and a few are in exurbs. Even in a time of new normals, this looks pretty typical. Fire starts are a little below the 10-year running average, and the amount of burned area is running above that average. But no one can predict what may happen in the coming months. California thought it had dodged a bullet in 2017, until a swarm of wildfires in late fall blasted through Napa and Sonoma counties, followed by the Big One – the Thomas fire, California’s largest on record, in Ventura and Santa Barbara. Every major fire rekindles another round [...]

2018-07-20T08:23:55+00:00July 17th, 2018|0 Comments

Increase in wildfires causing bad air days in US Northwest to get worse over the past 28 years

A pair of researchers with the University of Washington has found that an increase in wildfire size and duration over the past 28 years has led to worsening bad air days in the U.S. Northwest. In their paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Crystal McClure and Daniel Jaffe describe their study and what their results mean for people living in affected areas. Over the past quarter-century, wildfires (unplanned fires burning in forests or other areas) in many parts of the western United States have become larger and longer-lasting than they were in earlier years. Many environmental scientists have suggested this is due to global warming. Prior research has shown that such fires carry fine particulate matter into the air, and that many people can be harmed by breathing such particles. Those with lung conditions such as COPD or asthma, for example, can suffer problems [...]

2018-11-04T10:13:42+00:00July 13th, 2018|0 Comments

Wind fans ‘extremely fast-moving’ California wildfire as western U.S. states battle blazes

GUINDA, CALIF.—A massive wildfire in rural Northern California has exploded in size and forced evacuations in hot, dry weather that is sweeping through several western states where blazes are threatening thousands of homes. The fast-moving fire that started over the weekend northwest of Sacramento grew dramatically to about 243 square kilometres by Monday night, largely burning out of control in rugged terrain with a few cattle and horse ranches and sending smoke and ash as far south as San Francisco. State fire officials said 700 homes and other buildings were threatened but none had burned. The fire that started Saturday about 160 kilometres northeast of San Francisco spread as strong winds pushed smoke south, dusting cars and homes with a thin layer of grey ash. About 300 people were told to flee their homes. No injuries were reported. The flames were chewing through tinder-dry grass, [...]

2018-07-03T08:17:27+00:00July 3rd, 2018|0 Comments