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How To Create a Wildfire Action Plan

How To Create a Wildfire Action Plan

Wildfires can happen suddenly and be catastrophic for those affected. Because this emergency is a quick one, you should have a wildfire action plans ready and be able to execute it if the worst happens.

How To Create a Wildfire Action Plan

Wildfires can happen suddenly and be catastrophic for those affected. Because this emergency is a quick one, you should have a wildfire action plans ready and be able to execute it if the worst happens.

Fire season is brought on by both seasonally (in some areas) and unseasonably dry weather with ignitable material. Droughts and dry conditions greatly multiply the likelihood of wildfires and it is important to prepare an “action plan” for the entire family in the case that your family is faced with a wildfire emergency.

One of the most effective ways to ensure your safety is to be certain that all members of your household know your action plan well in advance of a wildfire. This will help the family act more quickly to this fast-moving emergency.  Go over this plan several times a year, if not more, to make sure everyone understands what they will need to do.

Create an Evacuation Plan

Creating the evacuation plan is the first step. According to Ready For Wildfire, these are the essential steps to create a family-based wildfire action plan:

  1. Decide upon a designated emergency meeting location outside the fire or hazard area. This is critical to determine who has already been safely evacuated from the affected area.
  2. Map out several different escape routes from your home and community. Practice these often so everyone in your family is familiar in case of emergency.
  3. Have an evacuation plan for pets and large animals such as horses and other livestock.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“Diablo Winds” Are Ferociously Whipping “Out Of Control” Wildfires Across Vast Stretches Of Northern California

“Diablo Winds” Are Ferociously Whipping “Out Of Control” Wildfires Across Vast Stretches Of Northern California

Why does this keep happening to California year after year?  As you read this article, enormous wildfires are ravaging large portions of northern California, and Governor Gavin Newsom has already declared a statewide emergency.  An extreme wind event that began on Saturday evening is pushing the fires along at a staggering rate, and when the winds are howling this ferociously it is exceedingly difficult for firefighters to keep the fires from spreading.  It was being reported that on Sunday morning there were sustained winds exceeding 90 mph in northern California with “gusts that topped 100 mph”.  It was the strongest wind event in several years, and it came at an extremely unfortunate time.  These “hurricane-force Diablo winds” will continue into Monday morning, but that doesn’t mean that things will start to get better.  As you will see below, another extreme wind event is in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Kincade Fire is the largest of the wildfires, and according to ABC News it has now “grown to 85 square miles”…

California Fire officials say a rapidly moving fire in Northern California wine country has grown to 85 square miles (220 square kilometers) and destroyed 94 buildings.

Cal Fire spokesman Jonathan Cox called the conditions throughout California “a tinderbox” Sunday and asked people to continue being vigilant in helping to prevent fires from breaking out.

That is an absolutely massive wildfire, and the extremely strong winds are picking up embers from the Kincade Fire and starting blazes in new areas.

The following is what Cal Fire Captain Robert Foxworthy told reporters on Sunday morning

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Woolsey Fire Started at Santa Susana Field Lab — Site of “[fourth] largest release of iodine-131 in the history of nuclear power”

Woolsey Fire Started at Santa Susana Field Lab — Site of “[fourth] largest release of iodine-131 in the history of nuclear power”

In my Nov. 16 column, I reported on potential radiation risks posed by California’s Woolsey wildfire having burned over parts or all of the Santa Susana Field Laboratory—south of Simi Valley, Calif., 30 miles outside Los Angeles—site of at least four partial or total nuclear reactor meltdowns.

The field laboratory operated 10 experimental reactors and conducted rocket engine tests. In his 2014 book Atomic Accidents, researcher James Mahaffey writes, “The cores in four experimental reactors on site … melted.” Reactor core melts always result in the release of large amounts of radioactive gases and particles. Clean up of the deeply contaminated site has not been conducted in spite of a 2010 agreement.

Los Angeles’s KABC-7 TV reported Nov. 13 that the Santa Susana lab site “appears to be the origin of the Woolsey Fire” which has torched over 96,000 acres. Southern Calif. Public Radio said, “According to Cal Fire, the Woolsey Fire started on the afternoon of Thursday, Nov. 8 … on the Santa Susana site.” (https://abc7.com/sce-substation-outage-occurred-before-woolsey-fire-reported/4675611/)

In my column I noted that Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy & Environmental Research, estimated that the partial meltdown of the lab’s Sodium Reactor Experiment (SRE) in 1957, caused “the third largest release of iodine-131 in the history of nuclear power,” according to Gar Smith in his 2012 book Nuclear Roulette. But Makhijani was speaking in 2006, so now of course the SRE meltdown counts as the fourth largest radio-iodine release—after the triple meltdowns at Fukushima in Japan in 2011, Chernobyl in Ukraine in 1986, and Windscale in England in 1957.

Santa Susana’s operators caused the destruction of the liquid sodium-cooled SRE on July 12, 1959—“showering the downwind hills and meadows of the 2,850-acre site with a fog of chromium and radioactive isotopes, including iodine-131,” according to Smith in Roulette. It was these hills and meadows that were burned so completely by the Woolsey wildfire.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site

Woolsey Fire Burns Toxic Santa Susana Reactor Site

Photo Source NASA MODIS (TERRA Satellite) | CC BY 2.0

“A common denominator, in every single nuclear accident … is that before the specialists even know what has happened, they rush to the media saying, ‘There’s no danger to the public.’ They do this before they themselves know what has happened…”

— Jacque Cousteau

The Woolsey fire in California began Nov. 8 near the Santa Susana Field Laboratory (SSFL), site of a partial reactor meltdown, the consequences of which have never been cleaned up. The California Department of Toxic Substances Control released a statement early Nov. 9 saying its scientists “don’t believe that the fire has caused any releases of hazardous materials that would pose a risk to people exposed to the smoke.”

The fire’s progress through to Oak Park indicates that much of the toxic site burned, according to the Los Angeles chapter of Physicians for Social Responsibility which has investigated SSFL radiation risks for 30 years.

Use of the phrase “don’t believe” [the fire caused risk] by the Dept. of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) had to stand in for a clear denial of radiation risk because none of the site’s air monitors had yet been seen by the department. The following words of DTSC’s Nov. 9 announcement were: “There is an air monitoring network around the perimeter of the SSFL site. As soon as access is open we will evaluate the air monitoring stations.” The department seemed to be reading from a script identified by the oceanographer Jacque Cousteau who said, “…before specialists even know what has happened, they rush to the media saying, ‘There’s no danger to the public.’”

The dodgy DTSC language caused outrage and alarm among watchdog groups concerned with cleanup of the SSFL site. University of California-Los Angeles climate scientist and distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology Glen MacDonald, told Democracy Now, Nov. 13: “I would want to see … some monitoring of what was kicked up.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

California’s Deadliest Fire Now Blocking Sun; Temps Drop By 10 Degrees As “Hazardous” Air Chokes Residents

California’s deadliest fire in state history has generated so much smoke that it’s blotting out the sun – which has caused surface temperatures to drop by as much as 10 degrees Farenheit, according to the US National Weather Service.

The smoke from the Camp Fire, which has burned 140,000 acres, claimed at least 56 lives, and is 40% contained, is so bad that anyone in the cities of Chico or Gridley who venture outdoors without a surgical-grade respirator are putting themselves in danger, according to Bloomberg.

Current air quality across much of the region is very poor. Check with https://t.co/XYTBpMFjzh and your local air quality board for more information. #CAwx pic.twitter.com/Rao8t4gvwD

— NWS Sacramento (@NWSSacramento) November 15, 2018

The air in the immediate vicinity of the fire is considered “hazardous” — the worst it can be — and the poorest in the U.S. AirNow has an “unhealthy” rating for the air from Sacramento to Livermore, and it’s only a little better for San Francisco.

The smoke is so thick “it prevents the sunlight from reaching the surface,” said Hannah Chandler-Cooley, a National Weather Service meteorologist in Sacramento. “It prevents surface heating.” –Bloomberg


Will a surgical mask help protect you from smoke? How about a bandana? Nope. You’ll need a special respirator mask – and you’lll need to wear it correctly: https://khn.org/news/for-wildfire-safety-only-particular-masks-guard-against-toxic-particulate-matter/  @KHNews


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Malibu Evacuated As “Apocalyptic” Fire Rages; 75,000 Told To Flee Ventura County

The upscale California town of Malibu has been ordered to evacuate after a raging wildfire jumped the 101 freeway at approximately 5 a.m. and barreled towards the seaside community amid high winds.

MANDATORY evacuation is in effect for the entire area south of the 101 Fwy from the Ventura County line to Las Virgenes / Malibu Canyon, and southward to the ocean, including all of City of Malibu. (Update 6:55 AM) Residents should use PCH to evacuate and avoid canyon roads. -Malibucity.org


Embedded video

Fire has jumped the 101 freeway at Liberty Canyon and is well established on the south side of the freeway.Avoid 101 of commuting, large back-ups behind closure


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WOW: THIS is the 101 Freeway on Friday morning during rush hour with smoke from the coming fire(s) pushed by the high winds.

MALIBU: all of it is under Mandatory evacuation.


…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Paradise Lost: Aggressive “Wall Of Fire” Decimates Entire California Town, “God Help Us”

One year after the deadliest and costliest wildfire season in California’s history, three wildfires have broken out in Northern California. On Friday, the most aggressive of the three fires destroyed most of the town of Paradise, a community with 27,000 residents, forcing residents to frantically flee for their lives. According to USA Today, as strong winds fanned the flames, they also hindered aircrafts’ ability to drop flame retardant on the fire.

In a 24 hour period, the Camp fire surged through the town of Paradise, located in the Sierra foothills, torching some 31 square miles, or 20,000 acres. Panicking residents dropped everything, with some abandoning cars to flee on foot as the fire blocked off escape routs. The state issued a mandatory evacuation order as the smoke from the flames darkened the skyline.

Fire

Two

Residents described being surrounding by a “wall of fire” which left them only minutes to grab what little precious belongings they could before leaving.

“We were surrounded by fire, we were driving through fire on each side of the road,” said police officer Mark Bass, who lives in Paradise and works in neighboring Chico.

Bass evacuated his family and then returned to the fire to help rescue several disabled residents, including a man trying to carry his bedridden wife to safety. “It was just a wall of fire on each side of us, and we could hardly see the road in front of us.”

Sherri Pritchard said she only had time to grab a few pictures before fleeing with her family and dogs, even leaving clothes behind.

“It was crazy, because when we were sitting in traffic people were panicking,” she said. “It was chaos. I couldn’t believe what people were doing.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Massive “Fire Tornado” Blaze Started By A Flat Tire; White House Declares “Major Disaster” In California

One the most destructive wildfires in California history, the Carr fire, is still raging with only about 40% of it contained while elsewhere in the state, especially in the north, fires continue to expand.

Overnight a seventh person was reported killed by the Carr fire as another in the north of the state expanded by 25% overnight, leading the White House to declare a “major disaster” in California in a statement on Sunday morning. President Donald Trump has ordered the release of federal funding for recovery efforts.

The deadly Carr fire has scorched more than 145,000 acres as of Sunday morning; and as CNN reports, the wildfire which began on July 23rd was actually caused by a flat tire.

Photo taken Saturday morning. Via Antionio Paris/Twitter

The CNN report details the Carr fire’s origins in late July — but one of the 17 currently burning across the state:

It happens countless times on roads across America: a vehicle gets a flat tire, usually just a temporary inconvenience.

But on one road near Redding, California, when a tire failed last month on a trailer and its rim scraped the asphalt, the result was catastrophic for an entire region.

The sparks that shot out July 23 from that minor incident, California fire officials said, ignited what is now the sixth-most destructive wildfire in state history.

The Carr Fire blazed a fiery path along Highway 299, lighting up mile after mile of dry brush as it crept up on residential areas.

One man, Ed Bledsoe, lost his wife and two great-grandchildren, ages 4 and 5, within only a 15 minute time frame.

The man’s family were victims of the previously reported “fire tornado,” or what some are calling a “firenado” that ripped through Redding, which produced whirling winds of fire in excess of 143 mph.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘Anonymous’ Greece Takes Down Government Website Over Athens Fire Disaster Response

Cyber group Anonymous Greece have brought down the website of Greek government over the dozens of victims in the Athens wildfires. Access to the website “government.gr” was denied for a period of time and showed “Forbidden.”

As KeepTalkingGreece.com reports, in a post on their Facebook page, Anonymous Greece sent their own message to the disaster. Expressing condolences for the victims, the group blamed the government for the unfair death of  more than 90 people. “Responsibility lies on the government that remained idle at the time of disaster and did not inform the citizens letting them burn alive,” the group argued.

“It is obvious that nobody would have died had the state reacted in time. People didn’t know the fire was approaching and we came to the point to mourn more than 90 dead families and children,” the message read.

The group claimed that “that was the goal” of the government.

The group also criticized the attitude of the Church and especially Bishop Ieremias who claimed three days after the tragedy that the people who died in the fires “with their death they cleaned their sins.”

“Dear Church, instead of offering help to the fire-stricken people you started accusing the citizens. ‘They were burned because of their sins’. What sins did the twin angels have?” the group notes with reference to the 9-year-old twin girls who died in the fires.

“Close to God is someone who offers to his fellow man and helps as much as possible for a better world. Who loves and offers support. You are just  pawns of the state, “the group concluded its message.

The message was uploaded on Sunday evening, the government website was down on Monday afternoon. The group page on Facebook has been closed down, notes newsit.

We Are Seeing Heat And Drought In The Southwest United States Like We Haven’t Seen Since The Dust Bowl Of The 1930s

We Are Seeing Heat And Drought In The Southwest United States Like We Haven’t Seen Since The Dust Bowl Of The 1930s

Despite all of the other crazy news that is happening all around the world, the top headlines on Drudge on Monday evening were all about the record heatwave that is currently pummeling the Southwest.  Of course it is always hot during the summer, but the strange weather that we have been witnessing in recent months is unlike anything that we have seen since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s.  At this moment, almost the entire Southwest is in some stage of drought.  Agricultural production has been absolutely devastated, major lakes, rivers and streams are rapidly becoming bone dry, and wild horses are dropping dead because they don’t have any water to drink.  In addition, we are starting to see enormous dust storms strike major cities such as Las Vegas and Phoenix, and the extremely dry conditions have already made this one of the worst years for wildfires in U.S. history.  What we are facing is not “apocalyptic” quite yet, but it will be soon if the rain doesn’t start falling.

Large portions of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah are already at the highest level of drought on the scale.  In Arizona, things are so bad that wild horses have been dropping dead by the dozens, and now authorities are trying to save those that are left

For what they say is the first time, volunteer groups in Arizona and Colorado are hauling thousands of gallons of water and truckloads of food to remote grazing grounds where springs have run dry and vegetation has disappeared.

Federal land managers also have begun emergency roundups in desert areas of Utah and Nevada.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Foresters vs. Ecologists

Foresters vs. Ecologists

Photo by Andrew Malone | CC BY 2.0

There is a huge difference between the Industrial Forestry worldview and an ecological perspective. Many people assume that foresters understand forest ecosystems, but what you learn in forestry school is how to produce wood fiber to sell to the wood products industry. I know because I attended a forestry school as an undergraduate in college.

Assuming that foresters understand forest ecosystems is like assuming that a realtor who sells houses understands how to construct a building because they peddle homes.

Foresters usually view ecological disturbance from insects, drought, wildfire, and disease as undesirable and indications of “unhealthy” forests. That is why they work to sanitize forests by removing dead and dying trees and attempt to limit with thinning influences like bark beetles or wildfire.

An ecologist sees these disturbance processes not as a threat to forests, but the critical factors that maintain healthy forest ecosystems. Indeed, one could argue that natural mortality processes like drought, bark beetles or wildfire are “keystone” processes that sustain the forest ecosystem.

Where foresters seek to prevent large wildfires through logging/thinning or what can be described as chainsaw medicine, ecologists see large high severity fires as essential to functioning ecosystems.

Where foresters remove shrubs by mastication (chopping them up) to reduce what they call “fuel”, an ecologist sees wildlife habitat. Indeed, one recent study found mastication reduced bird occurrence by half.

Where foresters seek to reduce tree density to speed growth, an ecologist seeks to maintain density to slow growth because slow-growing trees have denser wood that is slower to rot, hence last longer in the ecosystem.

Where foresters justify thinning to preclude wildfires, an ecologist notes that the probability of a fire encountering a thinned stand is extremely low.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

We are all Albertans now

We are all Albertans now

It would be easy–too easy–to point to the wildfires which have devastated huge areas of northern Alberta near Fort McMurray, the hub of tar sands mining in Canada, and say that Albertans are reaping what they have sown. Yes, it’s true that climate change is coming to one of the very areas which is contributing disproportionately to climate change and with catastrophic results.

The source of the current catastrophe is that the boreal forest which surrounds the tar sands has been turned into a tinderbox because of increasingly warm, dry weather that used to be uncharacteristic of this area of Alberta. But, what is happening in Alberta was predicted decades ago to be one of the consequences of unchecked global warming.

Having said all that, we should remember that the warming we are experiencing today is actually the result of greenhouse gases dumped into the atmosphere as of 40 years ago or so. (The analysis cited gives a range of 25 to 50 years, a lag related to what is called the thermal inertia of the oceans.) If this is the case, what Albertans are experiencing today has almost nothing to do with the climate effects of tar sands exploitation since there was very little production from Alberta’s tar sands that long ago.

What this means, of course, is that there will be much worse to come even if today we were to reduce to zero all greenhouse gas emissions and other factors which are raising worldwide temperature.

The problems we are already seeing such as increased flooding in some places; increased drought in others; sea-level rise that is already swallowing islands; the rapid change in climate zones (which affects what we can grow in those zones); and myriad effects on plants and animals around the globe as their habitat shifts or disappears–all of these are just the beginning.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Blowout Week 123

Blowout Week 123

A few careless campers who forgot to extinguish their campfire, or maybe a few kids playing with matches, or a cigarette, or an arsonist, a piece of glass, whatever, have in the last few days done more to bring the global oil market back into balance than OPEC and the rest of the world’s producers put together:

The raging wildfire burning through vast areas in and around Fort McMurray has forced more nearby oilsands companies to shut down their operations and forced staff and output reductions at more far-flung facilities in northern Alberta.

Analyst estimates on Thursday put the total amount of oil shut in from the fires at one million bpd, or roughly 40 per cent of total oilsands production. But the amount of production affected is now expected to exceed those numbers as the fire grew significantly into Friday and as additional companies have reduced production. “When we’re talking about a potential shutdown of up to a million barrels per day, that’s very serious business for the global oil market if it persists,” BMO Capital Markets chief economist Douglas Porter said Friday.

We continue with the usual story mix, including how AGW contributed to the wildfires, industry responses to David Mackay’s comments, Exxon’s novel CCS technology, EU CO2 emissions rise, Indonesia likes thorium, UK short 87,600 nuclear technicians, Belgium hands out iodine pills, EU’s percent renewable numbers not reliable, problems with perovskite PV panels, Saudi Arabia fires Oil Minister al-Naimi, moving day for Halley Base and the world’s first certified climate refugees – from Louisiana.

El Niño and ongoing climate change have both contributed to the devastating Alberta wildfires according to experts. The weather phenomenon has caused much drier conditions than normal, leading to a massive increase in the number of fires in the province.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fort Mac Blaze: Brace for New Era of Infernos

Fort Mac Blaze: Brace for New Era of Infernos

What’s turning northern forests into tinder? Biggest reason is climate change, but that’s not all.

Fort-Mac-Fire

A police officer surveys smoldering devastation wrought by wildfire in Fort McMurray on May 5, 2016. Source: RCMP Alberta.

A sudden shift in the wind at a critical time of day was all it took to send a wildfire out of control through Fort McMurray, forcing more than 80,000 people out of their homes in what has become the biggest natural disaster in Canadian history.

Earlier this week, Darby Allen, the regional fire chief for the area, minced no words when he was asked what might happen now that more than 1,600 homes have been destroyed.

”This is a really dirty fire,” he said. ”There are certainly areas within the city which have not been burned, but this fire will look for them and it will take them.”

The media line now is that fire experts saw this coming five years ago when one of the Flattop Complex fires tore through the Alberta town of Slave Lake in 2011, forcing everyone to leave on a moment’s notice. A report released shortly after predicted that something similar could happen again, and its authors made 21 recommendations to prepare for the possibility.

But fire scientists and fire managers actually saw this coming back in 2009 when 70 of them gathered in Victoria to address the issue of climate change and what impact it was going to have on the forest fire situation in Canada. Each one of them was already well aware that fires were burning bigger, hotter, faster, and in more unpredictable ways than ever before.

”We’re exceeding thresholds all the time,” said Mike Flannigan, who was at the time a research scientist with the Canadian Forest Service. ”We’d better start acting soon.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Welcome To Hell: The Giant Fort McMurray Fire Is The Worst Blaze In Canadian History

Welcome To Hell: The Giant Fort McMurray Fire Is The Worst Blaze In Canadian History

Fort McMurray Fire - Photo by DarrenRDThe gigantic wildfire that has forced the evacuation of the entire city of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta has been nicknamed “the Beast“, and mainstream news reports are telling us that it is now approximately 25 percent larger than New York City.  88,000 people have already been forced out of their homes, at least 1,600 buildings have been destroyed, and smoke from the fire has been spotted as far away as Iowa.  To say that this is a “disaster” is a massive understatement.  Northern Alberta is “tinder dry” right now, and authorities say that high winds could result in the size of the fire doubling by the end of the weekend.  One-fourth of Canada’s oil output has already been shut down, and the edge of the fire is now getting very close to the neighboring province of Saskatchewan.  This is already the most expensive natural disaster in the history of Canada, and officials fully expect to be fighting this blaze for months to come.

At this point, only rain is going to stop this fire.  Canadian authorities insist that they are not going to be able to defeat this raging inferno no matter how many resources they throw at it.  The best that they can hope for is to try to steer it away from heavily populated areas until the rain comes.

Nobody knows precisely how this tragedy is going to end, but everyone agrees that it is going to last for quite some time.  According to the Washington Post, this fire has the potential to keep on burning “for months”…

The images are ones of devastation — scorched homes, virtually whole neighborhoods burned to the ground. And Canadian officials say they expect to fight the massive wildfire that has destroyed large parts of Alberta’s oil sands town for months.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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