Climate change & Wildfires: More Wildfires To The Western U.S., Will Affect Tens Of Millions Of People

Climate change in the Western U.S. means more intense and frequent wildfires churning out waves of smoke that scientists say will sweep across the continent to affect tens of millions of people and cause a spike in premature deaths. That emerging reality is prompting people in cities and rural areas alike to gird themselves for another summer of sooty skies along the West Coast and in the Rocky Mountains — the regions widely expected to suffer most from blazes tied to dryer, warmer conditions. “There’s so little we can do. We have air purifiers and masks — otherwise we’re just like ‘Please don’t burn,’” said Sarah Rochelle Montoya of San Francisco, who fled her home with her husband and children last fall to escape thick smoke enveloping the city from a disastrous fire roughly 150 miles (241 kilometers) away. Other sources of air pollution are in decline in the U.S. as coal-fired power plants close and fewer older cars roll down highways. But those air quality gains are being erased in some areas by the ill effects of massive clouds of smoke that can spread hundreds and even thousands of miles on cross-country winds, according to researchers.

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Climate change? More like poor forrest management practices...👎

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4 minutes ago, pinto said:

Climate change? More like poor forrest management practices...👎

Lift your head out of the sand...

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It’s called nature. Prepare for it because you cannot control it... Climate models have proven that well enough.

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4 minutes ago, Pavel said:

Lift your head out of the sand...

Wildfires happen every year---it is a part of life. As I know, wildfires are called normal everyday things  all over the world

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Scientists have said last year’s heatwave, which led to increased mortality rates, a dramatic decline in crop yields, the shutdown of nuclear power plants and wildfires inside the Arctic Circle, was linked to the climate emergency. 

'Hell is coming': week-long heatwave begins across Europe

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jun/24/hell-is-coming-week-long-heatwave-begins-across-europe

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Fire is a natural element that causes disturbance in an ecosystem. Ecosystems are generally both prone to and adapted to disturbance, i.e., they are resilient within a range of natural variability. Changing climate that creates conditions that exceed the bounds of natural variability has greater disturbance effects, to the point of fundamentally altering how an ecosystem exists. Land use practices can do the same thing. An ecosystem will adapt, but the organisms dependent on stability within that ecosystem face the consequences.

The arguments "disturbance is natural" or "disturbance is unnatural" are irrelevant, because once you are seeing disturbances beyond the range of natural variability, ecosystems are already adapting thru change. Being able to recognize and understand how ecosystems are changing and what trajectories these changes will take is moreso with our abilities as human beings than it is for any other organism within an ecosystem. Whether or not one perceives actual value in these abilities really depends on how long a view one is taking.

Sustainability is, by definition, the ability to sustain within the natural pattern of variability. As fires are becoming more severe (there is not doubt on this one in the western U.S.- ask any wildland firefighter who can remember thinking 1994 and then 2000 fire seasons were of epic proportions- they will tell you, those kind of seasons are now the norm), the sustainability challenge for the human members of the ecosystem is in developing resiliency to these changing conditions.  How can you do this and still provide for growth opportunity for individuals and civilization? There's the rub... M. King Hubbert was far wiser than most people give him credit for.

 

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Forest fires would be a lot less intense if the fuel load were removed from the forest floor  (and there were judicious thinning of the woodlands as well).  To accomplish that, you would hire all those 25 million Mexicans and Salvadorans that want to find work inside the USA, so get them a special forest-worker visa and off they go with chainsaws.  As to the wood product, that gets converted into pellets for those pellet stoves, which can be distributed to the rural poor who are (very) short on heat.  Pellet stoves do give off aromatics, but at least the soot aspect of the burning is largely eliminated. 

All that fuel load is the result of sixty years of forest-management policy of "zero burn."  Today forests are allowed to have low-level fires as part of the natural forest environment,  but the big problem is transitioning back to a natural low-burn cycle.  There is now so much accumulated fuel load that any attempt to do a controlled burn will get away from the foresters and cause a massive conflagration. 

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(edited)

26 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

Forest fires would be a lot less intense if the fuel load were removed from the forest floor  (and there were judicious thinning of the woodlands as well).  To accomplish that, you would hire all those 25 million Mexicans and Salvadorans that want to find work inside the USA, so get them a special forest-worker visa and off they go with chainsaws.  As to the wood product, that gets converted into pellets for those pellet stoves, which can be distributed to the rural poor who are (very) short on heat.  Pellet stoves do give off aromatics, but at least the soot aspect of the burning is largely eliminated. 

All that fuel load is the result of sixty years of forest-management policy of "zero burn."  Today forests are allowed to have low-level fires as part of the natural forest environment,  but the big problem is transitioning back to a natural low-burn cycle.  There is now so much accumulated fuel load that any attempt to do a controlled burn will get away from the foresters and cause a massive conflagration. 

You misspelled forest-mismanagement

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7 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

Forest fires would be a lot less intense if the fuel load were removed from the forest floor  (and there were judicious thinning of the woodlands as well).  To accomplish that, you would hire all those 25 million Mexicans and Salvadorans that want to find work inside the USA, so get them a special forest-worker visa and off they go with chainsaws.  As to the wood product, that gets converted into pellets for those pellet stoves, which can be distributed to the rural poor who are (very) short on heat.  Pellet stoves do give off aromatics, but at least the soot aspect of the burning is largely eliminated. 

All that fuel load is the result of sixty years of forest-management policy of "zero burn."  Today forests are allowed to have low-level fires as part of the natural forest environment,  but the big problem is transitioning back to a natural low-burn cycle.  There is now so much accumulated fuel load that any attempt to do a controlled burn will get away from the foresters and cause a massive conflagration. 

Pre massive fossil fuel production and consumption, there used to be wildfires/forest  from Central/Western plains and prairies all the way out to the Western States , Rockies etc and these fires would span across several days and burn for months and months, natural cycle, now with the population explosion and people having the ability to buy and build wherever they want (wildland-urban interface has exponentially exploded), more and more people are living in the path and locations of nature induced fires. In many of the recent Western fires (atleast last 10-12 yrs), humans cause was the main factor.

Over this past decade I have lost many properties across the West and South from these fires, nature induced and human caused.

No one can control these, we can only work to mitigate some threats and build accordingly as best as possible to be able to give some protection to some degree, just like people living in flood plains, flood prone areas, coastal hurricane areas, earthquake prone zones etc.

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There's another element to forest mismanagement in the US and western Canada. You see, a bunch of eggheads got together and decided the roads the logging companies put in were "unnatural" and bothered the wildlife. So, as part of logging the companies were obligated to UTTERLY DESTROY the roads they had just built. Now, in the old days (pre Clinton, who pushed this policy), when there was a forest fire, they looked on their maps for the nearest logging road, and drove right in with their heavy equipment and rapidly created fire breaks and put the fire out.

Now they have no roads, so engage in completely useless water and chemical bombing and put countless brave smoke jumpers in harm's way with useless polaskis as their primary weapon. 

BTW my friend's game cameras clearly indicate that wildlife LOVES the roads on his private forest land. The animals aren't stupid, the roads are low calorie expended alternatives to slogging their way through thick underbrush and dead fall. 

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Fort mcmurray learned how how to deal with forest fires. You can see it on Google maps. The entire city is surrounded by a fire break 300 meters wide. Bulldozed and berms of dirt. 

 

The cities sentimental feelings about leaving the land natural and undisturbed went up in flames along with 1/3 of the city in 2016. 

 

This year a small grass fire started near the highway 1 km from town probably from a cigarette. The fire trucks had it out within 10 minutes. Then  after it was already out They water bombed it a few times for good measure/ the plane was already in the air and loaded so put on a show for the plebs I guess. Bounties were posted on the radio for the person who flicked the butt.

Wood buffalo dont like forest fires yo. 

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Of course the millions of acres of standind dead pine, for decades, due to pine beetles has nothing to do with this....

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On 6/25/2019 at 6:46 PM, Keith boyd said:

the plane was already in the air and loaded so put on a show for the plebs I guess

Good to see that the Canadians of Fort McMurray are getting realistic about protecting their homes.  Now, as to that water bomber, presumably a CL-215, once loaded with water it will be way over the maximum landing weight, so they have to drop that water or they risk structural failure of the aircraft on landing impact.  So, they just go drop it! As you say, a great show for the locals. 

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3 hours ago, Douglas Buckland said:

Of course the millions of acres of standing dead pine, for decades, due to pine beetles has nothing to do with this....

The real problem is (yes, the beetle damage) that there is no coherent program to harvest that timber and remove the fuel load from the forests.  That staggers me.  That wood has a good market, yet is effectively abandoned, mostly because the locals cannot get their act together to rapidly expand the harvesting.  They are like deer in the headlights.  Especially in Western Montana. 

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2 minutes ago, Jan van Eck said:

The real problem is (yes, the beetle damage) that there is no coherent program to harvest that timber and remove the fuel load from the forests.  That staggers me.  That wood has a good market, yet is effectively abandoned, mostly because the locals cannot get their act together to rapidly expand the harvesting.  They are like deer in the headlights.  Especially in Western Montana. 

Its the same in CO, NM and AZ and as a private land owner/rancher etc you have a hard time getting permits to remove these dead explosive fire fodder trees. You have private landowners with thousands and thousands of acres of land with essentially super explosive giant fire logs waiting to be ignited and forget about the state and federal lands . Over the past 18 years I have seen first hand these fires devastate hundreds of thousands of acres of private, state and federal lands and destroy thousands  of homes and cost lives. Look at the lives of all the fire fighters that were lost in AZ a couple of years ago.  All you can do is "fire mitigation" around your "home" in an urban-wildland interface area. Even the aerial fire fighting comes too late, not at the first sign of a fire but they wait till it blows out of control, they maybe changing those tactics now.

 

https://gazette.com/news/colorado-springs-based-global-supertanker-deployed-to-california-fires/article_e5833822-e46d-11e8-9ff4-636242ddc506.html

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/747_Supertanker

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Exactly! That beetle killed wood is in demand for furniture and looks good when finished.

That said, the beetle kill is so extensive in the mountain west that the volume exceeds the available market. Much of it could be made available for firewood but much is inaccessible. 

Again, it needs to be addressed since one lightning strike can easily set off thousands of acres of dead pines.

Nothing at all to do with supposed 'climate change'.

 

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3 hours ago, Douglas Buckland said:

Nothing at all to do with supposed 'climate change'.

Yep.  Last year, NY Times blamed Trump.

 

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