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Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3968
Joined: 2004
How big? How bad?
9/11/2020 9:16:33 PM
In case there are some who still haven’t connected to this, huge swaths of the US west coast is burning.

How big, you ask. Well, in California alone some 2.2 million acres. Converted, that works out to something like 3,437.5 sq.miles. Or 8,903 sq.km. Take your pick. For our European members, imagine 20+% of Denmark in ashes. And these are just the California fires; Oregon and Washington State are also alight.

How eerie, you might wonder? I hope the journalists are wrong when they talk about what Nuclear Winter might be like. You can look for your own shots of San Francisco, or can check these. Not, however, these are shots from Sept 09; things have got worse since then: [Read More].

How impactful, you may consider? Well, I have moderate COPD, so I watch various sites for weather information, including Windy.com and Canada’s official weather site. Weather Canada has an Air Quality Health Index (AQHI) reported hourly. The scale is kind of odd, running from 1-11 (or, actually, from 1-10, with a 10+ added for “extreme” conditions.) “1” is lowest; “10” is highest; 10+ is literally an extreme add-on meaning “great hazard”.

I live in Victoria, BC. MHOer DT lives in Santa Rosa, CA. To put that distance into a European perspective, Victoria is a little further away in air distance from Santa Rosa (1103 km/685 miles) than Berlin is from London (932 km/ 579 miles). When I rose this morning at 06:30, I faced an AGHI of 10; that rose to 10+ by 07:00, and has remained “extreme” to this moment (16:45). I live 1 km from waterfront, and cannot see it. The haziness is apparent over less than 60 metres. We don’t have the orange skies of San Francisco; I guess most of the heavy particulates have descended. But the situation in BC is directly linked to US fires: Quote:
Greater Victoria
Smoky Skies Bulletin - September 11, 2020

The Regions of BC highlighted on the map are being impacted or are likely to be impacted by wildfire smoke over the next 24 to 72 hours. The bulletin has been extended to include more regions over the weekend. Smoke impacts due to long-range transport from wildfires in the western United States have already been observed in some areas of Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, and portions of the Interior. Smoke forecast models indicate the potential for a significant push of smoke into BC throughout the weekend. The anticipated smoke trajectory indicates that the areas impacted will grow to the north and east as the weekend progresses with the most widespread impacts expected on Sunday. Areas at higher latitudes, such as Prince George, may have smoke passing through the region aloft.

I left the Prince George reference in, because it is a further 612 km/380 miles north of Victoria.

How bad is the situation? Well, it’s pretty shitty for the folks of CA, OR and WA, and will be for some months at least. I worry about DT, just as my daughters worry about friends living in CA. I’m not going to preach ecological issues, because many don’t want to hear “that old number again”. But I will make two or three comments:
• human “requirements” have emptied the aquifers which have fed urban and agricultural development in CA over he past 80 years.
• it is becoming more difficult to dissociate human activity from what we continue to see as “natural disasters”.
• when wild-fires can impact areas as far as 1000+ miles, it is impossible not to consider them ecologically, and irresponsible not to consider what might be done by humans to reduce what is increasingly looking like an annual event.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G

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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
G David Bock
Lynden WA USA
Posts: 480
Joined: 2020
How big? How bad?
9/12/2020 6:23:22 PM
Forest/wild fires are an annual event and have been ever since humans settled the West, and began to keep records. Number and extent vary from year to year.

The common and recent trope is to say it's evidence of "climate change" or "global warming". First issue here is that all too often these are imprecise terms since they don't have pre-qualifier distinctions of "Human-caused(Anthropogenic)" or "Natural". 9 times out of 10 this seems to be due to either ignorance or disinformation(intent), or both.

While a more illustrative example should show the data of the past 100+ years, this near 40 year old graph will show that annually the number/extent in the USA can vary substantially;



Admittedly, the graph tends to show an upward trend, but as I recall from those going back covering 1900 to 1980 the fires of the first half of the 20th century were even more destructive. This is mostly because resources and tech to fight fires has improved greatly during the post WWII era.

Some excerpts from the link providing the above graph;
....
As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by people, according to the U.S. Department of Interior. Some human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris, downed power lines, negligently discarded cigarettes and intentional acts of arson. The remaining 10 percent are started by lightning or lava.
....
2020: From January 1 to September 8, 2020 there were 41,051 wildfires compared with 35,386 wildfires in the same period in 2019, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. About 4.7 million acres were burned in the 2020 period, compared with 4.2 million acres in 2019.
....
2019: In 2019 there were 50,477 wildfires compared with 58,083 wildfires in 2018, according to the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC). About 4.7 million acres were burned in 2019 while there were 8.8 million acres burned in 2018.
....
2018: In 2018 there were 58,083 wildfires, compared with 71,499 wildfires in 2017, according to the NIFC. About 8.8 million acres were burned in 2018, compared with 10 million in 2017.
....
https://www.iii.org/fact-statistic/facts-statistics-wildfires
[Read More]

An interesting comparison is one of the forest/wildfires from 110 years ago, "the Big Burn";
....
The Great Fire of 1910 (also commonly referred to as the Big Blowup, the Big Burn, or the Devil's Broom fire) was a wildfire in the western United States that burned three million acres (4,700 sq mi; 12,100 km2) in North Idaho and Western Montana, with extensions into Eastern Washington and Southeast British Columbia, in the summer of 1910.[1] The area burned included large parts of the Bitterroot, Cabinet, Clearwater, Coeur d'Alene, Flathead, Kaniksu, Kootenai, Lewis and Clark, Lolo, and St. Joe national forests.[2]

The fire burned over two days on the weekend of August 20–21,[3][4] after strong winds caused numerous smaller fires to combine into a firestorm of unprecedented size. It killed 87 people,[5] mostly firefighters,[6][7] destroyed numerous manmade structures, including several entire towns, and burned more than three million acres of forest with an estimated billion dollars' worth of timber lost.[2] It is believed to be the largest, although not the deadliest, forest fire in U.S. history.[8] The extensive burned area was approximately the size of the state of Connecticut.[2]

In the aftermath of the fire, the U.S. Forest Service received considerable recognition for its firefighting efforts, including a doubling of its budget from Congress. The outcome was to highlight firefighters as public heroes while raising public awareness of national nature conservation. The fire is often considered a significant impetus in the development of early wildfire prevention and suppression strategies.
....
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Fire_of_1910
[Read More]

One suppression strategy has been to clear, sometimes control burn, the brush and undergrowth of forests which can become kindling in late Summer after having dried out. Unfortunately, "environmentalist" lobbying has blocked these efforts in recent years(decades).

Map showing the area affected by the 1910 Big Burn;



https://wildfiretoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/1910_fires_map.jpg
[Read More]

https://duckduckgo.com/?q=the+big+burn+1910+idaho&t=newext&atb=v234-1&iax=images&iai=http%3A%2F%2Fwildfiretoday.com%2Fwp-content%2Fuploads%2F2010%2F03%2F1910_fires_map.jpg&ia=images
[Read More]
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden WA USA
Posts: 480
Joined: 2020
How big? How bad?
9/12/2020 6:34:11 PM
I'll agree it's gotten a bit "shitty" the last couple of days. We just got home from a near week long road trip to Spokane,WA and Kalispell, MT (to see some of the kids and grandkids) on Tues. evening and during that time we were there the skies had been mostly clear and blue. Had a slight hint of the fires when seeing haze to the North while driving across Eastern Washington on Tuesday afternoon.

Since then the "overcast" has set in and there are smoke hazard warnings on the weather sites. Near annual event and expectation. We are keeping the windows closed and fortunately heat has dropped from high 80sF to mid-high 70sF, but still a pain of sorts.

Along with better forest/wildland management to reduce fuel loads, more resources and quicker response to suppress and extinguish would help. Unfortunately, some of the "wiser" (guv'mint)management persons of forest/wildlands tends to support the theory of "letting it burn" is better for those lands/"environments".

(bangs head against wall)
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3968
Joined: 2004
How big? How bad?
9/12/2020 9:45:50 PM
Sounds as if Oregon, at least, has had some relief today, with reduced winds and increased humidity. God bless! Any relief is welcome.

Today, I have not ventured outside. Projections from this morning suggested a broad sine wave of Air Quality shifts, but they never developed. With each 2-hour reading the result was 10+. I have not so much as seen a hint of the sun, which would be a norm in November but a rate event in Sept. Two hours ago, the fog horns turned on; Strait of Juan DeFuca needs assistance for shipping. Yet when I check weather maps, Victoria has no clouds. That leads me to believe this is not “overcast”, a term to describe cloud cover, but smoke. And although Lynden is no that far away from me, I will admit that this kind of “overcast” is faced increasingly often. Nobody takes it lightly; it is not a weather event, it’s a fire consequence.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.
G David Bock
Lynden WA USA
Posts: 480
Joined: 2020
How big? How bad?
9/12/2020 10:47:46 PM
Just FWIW (if I had the time, might counter-point the ACC/AGW aspects), and note from nearly two years ago;
Six trends to know about fire season in the western U.S.

Lately, it feels like we’re hearing about wildfires erupting in the western United States more often. But how have wildfire occurrences changed over the decades?

Researchers with the NASA-funded Rehabilitation Capability Convergence for Ecosystem Recovery (RECOVER) have analyzed more than 40,000 fires from Colorado to California between 1950 to 2017 to learn how wildfire frequency, size, location, and a few other traits have changed.

Here are six trends they have observed in the western United States:
....
https://climate.nasa.gov/blog/2830/six-trends-to-know-about-fire-season-in-the-western-us/
[Read More]
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
G David Bock
Lynden WA USA
Posts: 480
Joined: 2020
How big? How bad?
9/12/2020 10:53:33 PM
Who are the arsonists setting rural fires in Washington State?
By
Glen Morgan -
September 10, 2020
....
Updated to include photo of SR 167 arsonist, and additional articles on this topic – see end of articleRead the article – Obviously not all fires are arson. Not all arsonists are part of the Antifa gang (although a distressingly large number of them seem to like burning things down).

Recently, there have been a rash of rural brush fires in Washington State, including some significant fires in the Bonney Lake area, forcing mass evacuations in the local neighborhoods and rural communities in that area. The volume of these fires is not typical for Western Washington. Unlike California and Eastern Washington, Western Washington tends to be blessed with ample rain, lower average temperatures, fewer lightning strikes (see map here), and fewer widespread forest fires which tend to be more common in arid parts of the Western United States. However, it appears that a distressing number of these fires are not accidents, and willful arson is the cause. Who are these arsonists, and is it an organized effort?
....
For example, earlier on Thursday, September 10th, the State Patrol arrested a Puyallup man who had started a fire along State Route 167 at North Meridian. Apparently, according to this story, this genius was livestreaming on Facebook the fire he had just started, and apparently he had been reported earlier in the day walking along the highway with a lighter. Ok, there are weirdos out there, and there always have been, so one firebug doesn’t mean we have a rash of arsonists patrolling rural areas (although some law enforcement sources are warning about coordinated attacks as reported here). However, according to one report (linked here), it looks like this guy was associated with Antifa (see here as well). He might already be out on a $1,000 bail (although some are reporting this is from an earlier arrest, and he was also arrested for another crime and is currently detained by Pierce County). He may not be alone in his pursuit of the “mostly peaceful” revolution, which seems obsessed with arson as a “mostly peaceful” tactic of their movement.
...cont'd...
....



https://www.wethegoverned.com/who-are-the-arsonists-setting-rural-fires-in-washington-state/
[Read More]

BTW, Bonney Lake and Graham are part of the state close to my hometown, Enumclaw. So know this area well and down there once or twice a month, though about 120 miles south of here.
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TANSTAAFL - There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch
Brian W
Atlanta GA USA
Posts: 1105
Joined: 2004
How big? How bad?
9/13/2020 12:04:02 AM
[Read More]
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"Take it easy. But take it" - Tom Morello's mom.
Brian Grafton
Victoria BC Canada
Posts: 3968
Joined: 2004
How big? How bad?
9/14/2020 11:21:39 PM
Brian W., thanks for that detailed satellite shot.

All I might point out is that IIRC it was from Sept 10, the day before the huge weather shift took effect. The smoke patterns are now quite different.

It’s hard to believe that of the top ten cities in the world, at least four of them were on NA’s west coast. SF got top billing, with Vancouver CA second. But at least Seattle and Portland were also in the top ten. Actuaries may want to play with smoke impact over whatever timeframe they believe significant, but I’m breathing this stuff, and it ain’t pleasant according to my time-frame.

Small additional story. Vancouver is a wannabe Mega-city, and argues that the GVA (Greater Vancouver Area) includes something in the order of a couple of million people. One of my daughters lives in the historic BC city of New Westminster, undeniably part of the GVA. New West as, some 150 years ago, considered as the possible Provincial Capital. It sits just east of the delta to the Fraser River, and has a growing maritime industry and is becoming a fine satellite city. My daughter owns a condo in the heart of the “old” city, just three blocks from the Fraser River. And on Sunday night, a huge part of the historic river bank burst into flame. It is still burning today.

I don’t think there is much concern of the fire spreading, but it is large enough for concern. What continues to burn may well have seen tall ships tied down for cargo trans-shipping. The main burn is now continuing in the old, creosoted pilings of 100-year-old dock. Creosote is a nasty, now-banned marine preservative coating used extensively into the 1970s. Crude-based, it is a perfect target for fire. So the fire may run a few more days, spewing chemical toxins into the already challenging air.

[Read More]

I’m not for a moment suggesting that DT’s challenges aren’t more demanding or more concerning, or that the disaster happening in the three Pacific states are not frightening in scale or impact. I guess I’m just wanting to suggest that “California wild fire” has taken on a new meaning, and that “atmospheric impact” is huge.

Cheers. And stay safe.
Brian G
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"We have met the enemy, and he is us." Walt Kelly. "The Best Things in Life Aren't Things" Bumper sticker.

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