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

The Latest: California wildfire threatens 700 buildings

GUINDA, Calif. –  The Latest on wildfires burning in the Western United States (all times local): 8:30 p.m. A wildfire that's threatening 700 homes and buildings in rural Northern California continues to grow explosively as firefighters struggle in rough terrain to contain it. No homes have burned but the blaze is surging through sparsely populated areas of Yolo and Napa counties about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the state capitol of Sacramento. As of Monday night, flames had devoured 60,000 acres of tinder-dry grass, brush and oak. That's nearly 94 square miles (about 243 square kilometers) — nearly the size of Sacramento. The so-called County Fire erupted Sunday and at times has grown by 1,000 acres an hour. Smoke and ash are contributing to poor air quality in the San Francisco Bay Area and California wine country. Hot, dry conditions are fueling blazes in several [...]

July 3rd, 2018|0 Comments

July 3rd, 2018 Wildfires in Western US drive closer to residential areas

July 3rd, 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, [...]

July 3rd, 2018|0 Comments

Flooding possible in U.S. Southwest where wildfires scorch earth

DENVER (Reuters) - Heavy thunderstorms and widespread rains expected on Saturday in the U.S. Southwest could help douse the numerous unrelenting wildfires crews are battling in the parched region. But they could also bring the potential for dangerous flash flooding as 1 to 3 inches (3 to 9 cm) of rain is forecast to fall in parts of the five-state region where more than 20 wildfires have left behind areas of barren earth, the National Weather Service said. “Water can rise quickly downstream of heavy rain, even when thunderstorms and heavy rain are miles away,” the service said in an advisory. “Rock and mud slides, and high water flowing across roads, are also possible which could impact travel.” One of the areas of particular concern is in southwestern Colorado where the largest and most threatening blaze is the 416 Fire, which has scorched nearly 33,000 [...]

June 16th, 2018|0 Comments

After losing homes in the Thomas Fire, the next challenge is insurance

Carl Zaid wasn’t sure how to tell his wife their house had just burned to the ground, so he did it with the help of a flamingo. Her name was Miss Pink, and she was perched in her usual spot in the front yard the night the family fled as flames approached from the canyon behind them. And she was there the next day, singed but still standing, when Zaid and his two daughters came back to find their house a heap of concrete, rubble and countless screws. Christmas lights straddled the mailbox. Zaid called his wife. He broke the news. “Miss Pink’s feathers are a little ruffled, but guess what — she’s looking for a new home,” he said. Losing the Ventura home they moved into almost 40 years ago was hard. Really hard. Finding out their insurance won’t come near to covering the cost of rebuilding has begun to [...]

January 31st, 2018|0 Comments

The wildfires in California just keep shattering records this year

(CNN)This year's rash of catastrophic wildfires didn't just destroy neighborhood and livelihoods -- they also annihilated records. And the destruction's not over. The Thomas Fire, which has torched the equivalent of Dallas and Miami combined, is still raging in Southern California.   Here's a look at the records obliterated by the 2017 wildfires: The costliest in US history Damage estimates from the 2017 wildfires topped $10 billion, said Adam Smith of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. And that was beforedevastating wildfires tore through Southern California in December. For the past five years, wildfires scorched an average of 202,751 acres from January 1 through December 24, according to state fire protection agency Cal Fire. That number doubled in 2017. More than 505,900 acres have gone up in flames so far in California. That's triple the area of Chicago. Opinion: How climate change worsens natural disasters The worst for air [...]

December 28th, 2017|0 Comments

Alarming failures left many in path of California wildfires vulnerable and without warning

The Sonoma ridgeline was a sunrise of flame as Sgt. Brandon Cutting led deputies up country roads to pound on doors, hollering “Sheriff’s Office!” Thirty minutes later, with Cutting huffing from exertion and choking in thick smoke, the evacuation of Redwood Hill was still playing out one door at a time. He followed the sound of shouts to an officer struggling to carry a disabled woman. Her house was on fire. Her shoe on the ground. The night around them was orange in every direction. It was 11 on a Sunday night, the beginning of what would be the most destructive fire siege in California history. Frantic rescues were taking place across wine country as heavy winds ripped down power lines and the dry hills lit up in flames. Modern technology in the form of robocalls and digital alerts would not join the fight to roust sleeping [...]

December 27th, 2017|0 Comments

Largest California fire not expected to spread as winds subside

(Reuters) - The largest wildfire in California history was not expected to spread on Sunday with light winds forecast, officials said. The Thomas Fire that began northwest of Los Angeles on Dec. 4 has burned 273,400 acres (110,641 hectares), the Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said, bigger than the size of New York City. The latest figure is unchanged since Friday. Winds are expected to be lighter than 10 miles per hour, Cal Fire said. The fire was 70 percent contained, unchanged from Saturday. The cause was still not known. The fire spread from its start in Ventura County due to strong Santa Ana winds from the California desert. The fire has destroyed 1,063 structures and scorched coastal mountains, foothills and canyons across Ventura and Santa Barbara counties northwest of Los Angeles, officials said. Cal Fire said there were flare-ups of hot [...]

December 26th, 2017|0 Comments