Tuesday, August 3, 2021

The good news is I can run it again since nothing has changed. The bad news is I can run it again since nothing has changed -- Mega-fire repost 2



"California would need to burn 20 million acres — an area about the size of Maine — to restabilize in terms of fire"

The sky here in LA has taken on that distinct orange tint. Just as the heat has started to let off, the air is turning bad. Another large fire has broken out in the Angeles Forest. [Emphasis added]

The rugged terrain, access and triple-digit temperatures created difficult and dangerous conditions for firefighters. During a Monday afternoon press conference, officials expressed concern that winds in the coming days would change the direction of the flames, pushing them down the mountains toward foothill communities in the San Gabriel Valley.

If that happens, authorities said the communities that would impacted first would be Monrovia and Duarte. Residents in those areas are being urged to be prepared to evacuate. Bradbury, Azusa, Arcadia and Sierra Madre could also potentially see either evacuation warnings or orders.

"Directly coming into Monrovia or Duarte, no, that area has not burned in 50 to 100 years in some places, so the fuel-loading is high and there is not a natural break from the fuels from previous fires," said incident commander Steve Goldman.
As Elizabeth Weil explains in her Pulitzer-worthy Propublica piece (which we discussed earlier here), this is not just a dangerous but an unnatural situation. [again, emphasis added]
Yes, there’s been talk across the U.S. Forest Service and California state agencies about doing more prescribed burns and managed burns. The point of that “good fire” would be to create a black-and-green checkerboard across the state. The black burned parcels would then provide a series of dampers and dead ends to keep the fire intensity lower when flames spark in hot, dry conditions, as they did this past week. But we’ve had far too little “good fire,” as the Cassandras call it. Too little purposeful, healthy fire. Too few acres intentionally burned or corralled by certified “burn bosses” (yes, that’s the official term in the California Resources Code) to keep communities safe in weeks like this.

Academics believe that between 4.4 million and 11.8 million acres burned each year in prehistoric California. Between 1982 and 1998, California’s agency land managers burned, on average, about 30,000 acres a year. Between 1999 and 2017, that number dropped to an annual 13,000 acres. The state passed a few new laws in 2018 designed to facilitate more intentional burning. But few are optimistic this, alone, will lead to significant change. We live with a deathly backlog. In February 2020, Nature Sustainability published this terrifying conclusion: California would need to burn 20 million acres — an area about the size of Maine — to restabilize in terms of fire.


[Deputy fire chief of Yosemite National Park Mike] Beasley earned what he called his “red card,” or wildland firefighter qualification, in 1984. To him, California, today, resembles a rookie pyro Armageddon, its scorched battlefields studded with soldiers wielding fancy tools, executing foolhardy strategy. “Put the wet stuff on the red stuff,” Beasley summed up his assessment of the plan of attack by Cal Fire, the state’s behemoth “emergency response and resource protection” agency. Instead, Beasley believes, fire professionals should be considering ecology and picking their fights: letting fires that pose little risk burn through the stockpiles of fuels. Yet that’s not the mission. “They put fires out, full stop, end of story,” Beasley said of Cal Fire. “They like to keep it clean that way.”

No comments:

Post a Comment