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. [...]

August 28th, 2018|0 Comments

Wildfires burning longer, spreading faster in Western US

Wildfire experts are concerned about the rapid growth of fires once they've started. Author: Jake Whittenberg Published: 5:08 AM PDT August 21, 2018 Updated: 11:09 AM PDT August 21, 2018 Every Summer the images of wildfires burning across the U.S. are becoming much more common. There is no question the fires are happening more frequently in the Western U.S. KING 5 analyzed data kept on every wildfire in Washington since 2005 and found some alarming new trends. In total, 386 larger wildfires have burned in that time that required some coordinated response under a Type l, ll, or lll interagency management system. While the average burn time used to be around five or six days, wildfires appear to last a lot longer on average. In 2017, the average burn time was 51 days. Also see | Fireproof homes could be the answer to massive wildfires [...]

August 21st, 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 [...]

August 8th, 2018|0 Comments

Wildfire Smoke Detected in Majority of U.S. States

 Wildfires Burned At Least 90K Acres, 6,000 Evacuated in Utah The Pole Creek Fire and the Bald Mountain fires have burned over 90,000 acres in Utah just south of Salt Lake City. At a Glance Western wildfires are sending their smoke plumes across much of the United States. This is causing unhealthy air quality in parts of the West, as well as unworldly sunrises and sunsets. Dozens of wildfires are burning across the western United States, including at least 18 major fires in California alone, sending plumes of smoke across much of the country. "Large wildfires from central and Northern California into northern British Columbia continue to burn and emit thick smoke, contributing to an expansive area of varying density smoke reaching from the Pacific coast eastward as far as Lake Superior and Hudson Bay and from the southwestern Northwest Territory to Guadalupe Island 150 [...]

August 7th, 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. [...]

August 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 [...]

August 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 [...]

July 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.  

July 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 [...]

July 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 [...]

July 13th, 2018|0 Comments