Th3 Core

Why We Are Here => Water Cooler => Topic started by: littleman on November 09, 2018, 01:20:04 AM

Title: California burning again
Post by: littleman on November 09, 2018, 01:20:04 AM
https://m.sfgate.com/california-wildfires/article/Evacuations-ordered-across-Butte-County-as-Camp-13374840.php

We're like 190 miles away and I can smell and see the smoke.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on November 09, 2018, 03:30:51 AM
Ran to the bluff today and it looked smokey and I wondered if there was a fire. Winds *are* out of the NW right now, though, so it could be.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: rcjordan on November 10, 2018, 12:10:16 AM
/r says this was taken while trying to escape the Paradise fire.

https://i.imgur.com/3CwV90i.gifv
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on November 10, 2018, 01:49:09 AM
That video is incredible.

The air quality is extremely poor here today, they passed out masks at the kids school.  Its been looking like sunset all day long, everything has an orange hue.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on November 10, 2018, 02:29:49 AM
There's a firm that came up here and felled a bunch of dead trees, chipped debris and did a significant portion of the work that allowed our neighborhood to survive our fire this summer.

I just found out that 20 of them lost their homes in the Camp fire and the crew chief did not lose his home, but his whole extended families lost theirs.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on November 10, 2018, 02:39:02 AM
That's too bad.  So many sad stories coming out.

Here is a satellite photo of Camp Fire (https://i.redd.it/el0657q5sdx11.jpg)

Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: Rupert on November 10, 2018, 11:06:29 AM
Seriously, this seems the most out of control this year, or have I not been listening properly?
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on November 10, 2018, 07:34:01 PM
I think they are the fastest moving and I also think they are the most urban, which makes things seem worse and makes it actually worse.

Fast moving: the two fires burned 100,000 acres in a day. Our big fire burned 96,000 acres between July 13 and Aug 20, and a fairly sizable amount of that acreage was burned on purpose by the firefighters.

Seems worse: a hospital burned down! From the perspective of fire behavior, a hospital is a the same as a warehouse which is the same as a barn which is the same as a forest. But from a perspective of shock and loss and human tragedy, that's a lot worse, so a lot more media.

Actually worse: when a fire breaks out in a very rural area and the first few hundred firefighters show up, they basically just defend the important structures and let the fire run until they get more support. When it breaks out in a heavily inhabited area, they have to have a very different strategy and it makes it complicated to figure out where to draw lines, what to defend and what to let go.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: DrCool on November 12, 2018, 05:25:43 PM
Not sure if you guys know Declan Dunn but he has been in the affiliate and online marketing industry for as long as any of us. He lost his house, his pets, and the only thing he has are the clothes on his back. Lost pretty much everything in the fire. Rare that you see a whole town destroyed like this.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: buckworks on November 12, 2018, 09:42:54 PM
Declan Dunn was a big motivator for me when I was just getting started as an affiliate.

Sad to hear!
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on November 16, 2018, 01:52:15 AM
I don't know Declan, but he seems like a nice guy.  I hope he rebounds alright.

 
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on November 16, 2018, 08:27:55 PM
Quote
PARADISE, Calif. — The wildfires that have laid waste to vast parts of California are presenting residents with a new danger: air so thick with smoke it ranks with the dirtiest in the world.

On Friday, residents of smog-choked Northern California woke to learn that their pollution levels now exceed those in cities in China and India that regularly rank among the worst.

In the communities closest to the Paradise fire, an apocalyptic fog cloaked the roads, evacuees wandered in white masks and officials said respiratory hospitalizations had surged. Nearly 200 miles to the south, in San Francisco, the smoke was so thick that health warnings prompted widespread school closings. Even the city’s cable cars were yanked from the streets.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/16/us/air-quality-california.html


Quote
The smoke from California's deadliest fire is so thick that it's blotting out the sun and lowering surface temperatures by as much as 10 degrees Fahrenheit (6 Celsius), according to the U.S. National Weather Service.

https://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Smoke-from-California-fires-is-so-bad-that-it-s-13395205.php
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on November 17, 2018, 07:16:33 PM
Quote
‘‘Of the hundreds of persons who visit the Pacific slope in California every summer to see the mountains, few see more than the immediate foreground and a haze of smoke which even the strongest glass is unable to penetrate.’’

-- CH Merriam, 1898, cited in Stephens, "Prehistoric fire area and emissions from California’s forests, woodlands, shrublands, and grasslands" (Forest Ecology Management, 2007).

Unpleasant though it may be, Californians are going to have to get used to lots more smoke. Most Californian's are used to the unnaturally low mount of fire and smoke that characterized the 20th century. That low amount of fire, however, was historically off the charts and entirely the product of human tinkering in the ecosystem.

If you look at acres burned, we find...

2018: 1.7 million so far
2017: 1.2 million
Average since 2000: 705,174
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_California_wildfires

But what was the average acreage burned before 1800, according to the best estimates of forest ecologists?

4,5 million acres per year on average (Stephens).

So our "bad" fire years in the 21st century are burning roughly 1/3 of what an average year burned pre-1800. Our average year is one sixth of what the California ecosystem expects and needs to stay healthy.

In addition to all that, throughout most of the 20th century, those numbers were much, much lower. For example, in Yosemite the pre-1800 average is estimated at 15,000 acres per year. From 1931 to 1971, a total of 4,700 acres burned. That means that for 40 years, we were letting burn roughly 1% of the historically normal burn acreage. I don't know how that corresponds to the state as a whole, but I bet it's similar.

We've now reached a point where we've pushed suppression-based management way past the breaking point. What we've been doing is equivalent to solving floods by never letting any water flow out of the dam. When it springs a leak, we patch it. Every year, we add another couple meters to the dam to hold in this year's flow. After 100 years, you end up with a lot of very tall, very dangerous dams.

And then of course, this is all compounded by people (like me) moving into the Wildland Urban Interface, warmer climate causing longer fire seasons, and so forth.

What we're seeing this year is what we should expect for the foreseeable future. We completely borked the ecosystem and now we're finding the old adage is true: Nature bats last.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on November 18, 2018, 01:55:25 AM
Its weird to think of this as the new normal -- even weirder to think that this was the normal not that long ago.  My wife and I were talking about how many days out of the year we would deal with smoke filled skies before considering a relocation.  Right now we think the limit is sitting at about a month spread over the year.  I learned that the local schools shut down when the air quality hits 200.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on November 18, 2018, 05:35:45 AM
Another one for you

Quote
On the following Sunday, the 8th of said month [October, 1542], they drew near to the mainland in a large bay which they called Baya de los Fumos, because of the many smokes which they saw on it. Here they held a colloquy with some Indians whom they captured in a canoe.
https://www.kcet.org/shows/lost-la/why-did-a-1542-spanish-voyage-refer-to-san-pedro-bay-as-the-bay-of-the-smoke

The normal state of California in Aug - Oct for thousands of years was smoky skies. The clear skies of California late summer and fall are the outlier, not the norm.

Not to be all doom and gloom (so to speak), but I think the more people who understand this, the more realistic and practical our conversation about fire will be.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on November 18, 2018, 08:06:21 PM
It isn't really the smoky skies that bother me, its more the dangerous air quality and having my kids complain about sore throats and stinging eyes. 

This morning I've hacked our central heating to run as a fan with a top grade air filter -- hopefully that does some to clean up the indoor air.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on November 18, 2018, 08:13:13 PM
Check out this video from the NYTs, its pretty incredible.
 (https://int.nyt.com/data/videotape/finished/2018/11/1542551548/california-smoke-map-video-900w.mp4)
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: Travoli on November 18, 2018, 08:22:53 PM
Really cool video, littleman
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on November 19, 2018, 01:40:10 AM
its more the dangerous air quality

Definitely. If it were just the visual aspect, like fog, I wouldn't mind so much. When I say "smokey skies," I am thinking mostly of the PM2.5 reading, the itchy eyes, the persistent headache, the scratchy throat, the inability to go for a run without doing as much damage as smoking a pack of cigarettes... the whole wonderful mess.

We bought two high-end Austin Air Healthmate filters. They are incredible and will make *indoor* air quality excellent. But it feels like you're in a fortress against nature, afraid do anything outdoors that causes you to breathe deeply and suck that PM2.5 deep into the lungs.

I'm not saying I like it. I'm just saying that we probably have to get used to it or leave. And as I've mentioned here before, for the last 3-5 years, every year during fire season we start having conversations about leaving California.

Ironically, for me, the fear of burning down (source of considerable stress most years), is probably gone for at least five years. The fire chief says probably 10. So suddenly, I'm more comfortable than I've been in a while.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: Mackin USA on November 19, 2018, 12:23:13 PM
Very cool video LM
Shows NC getting smoke from the Left Coast  >:(
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on January 23, 2020, 01:20:01 AM
Why isn’t California using more prescribed burns to reduce fire risk? (https://arstechnica.com/science/2020/01/why-isnt-california-using-more-prescribed-burns-to-reduce-fire-risk/)
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: rcjordan on January 23, 2020, 01:56:28 AM
Everybody hates prescribed burns.  Even poor AU is having a hard time coming to grips with the need to do what the aborigines did and set the brush on fire.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on January 23, 2020, 02:53:56 AM
Actually, most people around here like them. I mean, we hate the smoke and it's stressful - the Big Meadow Fire was caused by a prescribed burn that got out of control - but most of my neighbors are disappointed that a major prescribed burn on our border keeps getting scrubbed.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on August 20, 2020, 11:33:56 PM
From Yesterday (https://www.esa.int/ESA_Multimedia/Images/2020/08/California_on_fire?fbclid=IwAR2MSgoOZ2n09etbZvVHo-_q1fdd78LGloW6DKv2g4tEoeNEQUO_flU-CTM):
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: rcjordan on August 21, 2020, 01:00:40 AM
We're trapped! Californians face the dual nightmare of wildfires, coronavirus
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/20/californians-face-the-dual-nightmare-of-wildfires-coronavirus.html
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on August 21, 2020, 06:51:49 PM
We're in the middle of that plume. Today it cleared - stars last night and blue sky this morning... but overnight a fire broke out about 30 air miles away (50-60 road miles). Now it's getting really smoky.

I honestly would not care all that much if we didn't have our little rental property. In fact, it wouldn't even be that bad if our guests coming in were from California, but the next ones are from WI and NC. They are always surprised to find out that it might be smoky during their trip. Our contract says, "There is a high chance of smoky skies July through September and it could happen in other months too. If this prospect bothers you, we strongly recommend you purchase "Cancel for any reason" travel insurance. None of them do.

As I told a friend this morning, being in the lodging industry during fire season in CA is like being a webmaster for clients with a gambling sites who are shocked that three months a year they are being subjected to daily attacks and every year they threaten to switch providers if you can't stop the attacks, and then forget about it until next year.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on August 21, 2020, 08:36:32 PM
Yeah, you are getting hit twice; once by Covid-19 and again by the fires.  Looking at purpleair.com last night parts of California were at 900, just insane.

We got lucky and there was a breeze of the coast last night and I was able to open the windows for a bit.  The air didn't start getting smoky again until early this morning.

Even with the windows closed smoke is seeping into the house.  I figured out a way to turn on our central heating fan without the gas furnace.  Running the fan pumps the air through the filter and is cleaning up the air pretty nicely.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on August 22, 2020, 01:11:52 AM
>>900

We've been in the 40-60 range, actually a bit lower where we are compared to where the monitors are based on my subjective Eye on the Sky analysis.

Right now PM2.5 is at 32, which is actually not even a bad day in Los Angeles. Strangely, Ozone is high, which is rare for us. At least Ozone kills Covid ;-)

Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on August 22, 2020, 08:24:12 PM
Its been fluctuating a lot right here.  We've gotten into the healthy range (<50) but also as high as 300.  Sitting at 200 right now.   The local fairgrounds is doubling as an evacuation center and a covid-19 testing center now.  As of yesterday there were 560 fires and only 12,000 for the whole state.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on August 23, 2020, 02:52:38 AM
12,000 firefighters?

Just had a gorgeous day up in Tuolumne Meadows. No smoke. Ten miles away as the crow flies, we could look over (and eventually drive through it) and it was pea soup.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on August 23, 2020, 08:08:39 AM
Yeah, 12,000 firefighters.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: rcjordan on August 23, 2020, 12:29:16 PM
The Future Is Grim in California - The Atlantic
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/08/californias-disasters-are-a-warning-climate-change-is-here/615610/
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on August 23, 2020, 10:16:49 PM
I think all the time about how long we should live here in order to sell our house and move before things become unsustainable. The thing is, almost nowhere west of the Mississippi is truly sustainable except perhaps in the Pacific Northwest. That is one of the conclusions of "Cadillac Desert," which was written in the 1970s, before climate change was even a factor. He made the case that a century of research showed that the American West was living through a mild, wet period and it would all come crashing down when the climate returned to more historical norms.

Now we see that it isn't returning to historical norms at all, it's moving to something we haven't seen since the emergence of modern humans, let alone since the European invasion of the American West.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on August 23, 2020, 11:54:44 PM
PS - here's some food for thought as you think about how bad these fires are.

Last I read (about 3 days ago), we were at just under over* a million acres burned this year. It could easily double and reach 2 million, possibly even breaking the 2003 record (2 million acres burned).

That's bad, right? Well, fire ecologists best estimate is that the average fire year pre-1800 was 4.5 million acres. That is the level of fire that the California ecosystem "expects" each year, barring human intervention. In other words, in our *worst* fire years, we only burn less than half the acreage that the ecosystem has evolved to expect.

*Over 1 million acres burned since July
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-08-22/more-than-a-million-acres-have-burned-in-california-since-july-as-monster-fires-rage-around-bay-area

2020 now has the 2, 3, and 9 biggest fires in recorded California history (and 8 of the top ten are from 2012 or later... a bad sign).
https://www.fire.ca.gov/media/5510/top20-acres.pdf

What is probably quite different from the fires for 300 and 500 years ago is the intensity. 300 years ago the landscape saw frequent fires and, of course, cooler temperatures and more regular rains, so the fires were probably mostly low-intensity. Plus you didn't have 35 million people living in the state.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: Brad on August 24, 2020, 10:37:29 AM
> unsustainable

This applies to California but also to the rest of the nation too:  we need to reign in suburban sprawl.  The amount of resources used and the impact on the environment makes our current sprawl very costly.  Especially in CA.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on August 24, 2020, 03:48:19 PM
Looking at purpleair.com last night parts of California were at 900, just insane.

A friend keeps telling me it's the best, but when I look at the readings of the $250 PA sensors and the map of $10,000 to $50,000 sensors on Airnow.gov, the numbers on Purple Air are 2-3X higher. Currently, at my house, we have clear blue skies and a webcam about 3 miles away is showing clear blue skies. The PA sensor which is on a direct line between me and said webcam is showing levels of 181. The Airnow sensors in the region are mostly showing levels in the 70-90 range and when I look at webcams near those sensors, it looks a LOT worse than here.

I don't trust the Purple Air numbers
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on August 24, 2020, 05:50:08 PM
Fair enough.  The scale may be off, but I do find their data very useful.  It shows the relative air quality of the local area in much greater detail.  We could see the smoke approaching and when it is getting better.  The data seems to correlate with what is going on outside visually and olfactorily.

The Airnow.gov data covers a lot of square miles per sensor, the sensor that covers our area is three towns away.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on August 25, 2020, 12:06:12 AM
Just realized - Purple Air defaults to AQI and the local monitors report in micrograms per cubic meter. So I was comparing two numbers, one in pounds and one in kg (actually worse b/c the AQI scale is non-linear). Doh!!

This guy has an interesting article about using Purple Air and AirNow together.

https://thebolditalic.com/understanding-purpleair-vs-airnow-gov-measurements-of-wood-smoke-pollution-562923a55226
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on August 25, 2020, 09:01:53 PM
More on PurpleAir vs. Air Now.  These are snippets from a conversation my wife had with her brother and his wife.  The brother has a PhD in chemical engineering and his wife has a PhD in environmental engineering.  They were having a parallel conversation over the family chat group.

Brother:
Quote
...purpleair only monitors particulate matter (PM) and not other pollutants, such as ozone. That's ok for the fires because we're mostly concerned about PM. On other days when smog or other pollutants are a problem, then purplenow won't help you much. The true AQI is made up of 5-6 different components; PM is just one of them.

Sister in law:
Quote
Other reasons for discrepancies between purple air and air now are the frequency of measurements. Purpleair is basically minute timescales and airnow gives two predictions: “current” (based on multiple hours or more frequently for wildfires of previous data) and “daily forecast” (based on last 24 hrs). Purpleair describes this here under Averaging Time.

https://www2.purpleair.com/community/faq#!hc-how-do-purpleair-sensors-compare-to-regulatory-particulate-matter-sensors

Purpleair misstates some of the comparison to Airnow saying those numbers are all 24hr average which isn’t true for the “current” reading. One can read the “Nowcast” part here by EPA:

https://www.airnow.gov/aqi/aqi-basics/using-air-quality-index/

There are also technical differences in the measurements between Purpleair and regulatory agency that make the numbers different, though the safest is to act as if the higher number is correct.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on August 25, 2020, 11:30:48 PM
Thanks. A friend and neighbor was saying maybe we should get one, which is why I was poking around.

I found this helpful too.
https://climatechange.ucdavis.edu/what-can-i-do/making-sense-of-air-quality-sensors-an-aqi-explainer/

The key bit about Purple Air

Quote
I asked Anthony Wexler, director of the Air Quality Research Center at UC Davis to explain... Wexler said there are some very small particles its sensors can’t access. So the program uses an algorithm to estimate the current PM2.5 concentration, a part of the AQI. This helps explain why there are slight differences between the various “Conversion” types: “LRAPA” uses calculations from the Lane Regional Air Protection Agency, while “AQandU” estimates are from the University of Utah.

I tried to nail down Wexler on which conversion layer I should be clicking on for the best estimate, but he said that, ultimately, they are all an educated guess designed to give users a good sense of how healthy or unhealthy the current air quality is.

“They’re making a guess about the total concentration from part of the total story,” Wexler said. “It’s an intelligent guess, but it’s a guess.”

And the part that is most relevant to me personally and my buying (or rather not buying) decision:

Quote
In the meantime, Wexler said common sense is one of the most powerful sensors. He typically doesn’t even look at the AQI maps as part of his day, even during these smoke-ridden ones.

“I look outside and I go, ‘Oh geez, it smells like smoke, dammit.”
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on August 26, 2020, 04:55:42 PM
>> unsustainable

Video format, but great visuals on California's water problem.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I821oI3Ezjs
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on August 26, 2020, 08:41:05 PM
All my water fears in 9:32. Actually, half my fears. If he had added 3 minutes focused on my own little community, that would cover it.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on August 27, 2020, 08:23:35 PM
From the Calfire daily update

Quote
Since the lightning siege that started on Saturday, August 15, 2020, there have been nearly 14,000 lightning strikes. During this time-period, there have been more than 700 new wildfires, which have now burned over 1.35 million acres. The significant acreage burned makes the fires collectively larger than the State of Delaware. In this siege, there have been 7 reported fatalities and nearly 1,890 structures destroyed.

A strong marine layer has returned, and continues to extend further inland which has helped raise relative humidity and lower temperatures in some areas. Gusty winds can accompany the marine layer however, challenging firefighting efforts. There was good humidity and temperature recovery overnight which reduces fire behavior. Warmer conditions are expected over the weekend. Isolated thunderstorms are still possible in the upper portion of northern California and the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range. The rest of California will experience a return to a warm and dry weather pattern.

https://www.fire.ca.gov/daily-wildfire-report/
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on August 28, 2020, 01:56:30 AM
Quite an odd circumstance that the two larges fires in California's history are happening at the same time and they are both in the Bay Area where so many people live.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: grnidone on August 31, 2020, 02:45:51 AM
My sister is in Petaluma, and has had her bug out bags in the van for her and her family if she has to leave.

She is sick of being inside the house on quarantine with her husband and two kids, and NOT being able to let the kids play outside to burn off energy because the air quality is so bad.

She is OVER IT ALL.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on August 31, 2020, 03:21:32 AM
Jen was just commenting on how the orange moon is very pretty.  We're all very fatigued by the double restriction of smoke and covid.  You should tell your sister to get some El Roy's (https://www.yelp.com/biz/el-roys-mexican-grill-petaluma-2) to go.  It won't fix anything, but it will make it slightly more tolerable.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on August 31, 2020, 06:34:11 PM
Ice cream consumption is way up nationally and I think our household may be single-handedly responsible for 0.01% of the increase. I believe it helps considerable offset the health effects of Covid mania and smokey air.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on September 02, 2020, 09:52:38 PM
>“I look outside and I go, ‘Oh geez, it smells like smoke, dammit.”

That stops working after about a week.  We've all lost our sense of smell.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 03, 2020, 01:31:21 AM
Do you have a good air filter? Or a few of them? This time around it hasn't been so bad, but there have been times where we've fun a filter and thought, "It's not so bad," and the you step outside.

Currently, the PM2.5 is not too bad here (in the 20s on most monitors), but visually it seems pretty smoky.

Just think what California will be like if we ever get back to the pre-1800 levels of fire. We'll probably never see that again, but we're going to need a lot more fire over the next 20-30 years, so what we're seeing these last few days is likely to be typical skies for much of the summer in the future as it was in the past. I doubt there's the political will to burn as much as we need to, but I see a big change since I first started doing fire education talks 10 years ago and now. People are starting to realize that we can't suppress our way out of this.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: nffc on September 03, 2020, 05:44:13 AM
>air filter

I have these in Hanoi where the air quality can be a little challenging, expensive but very good

https://www.lg.com/us/air-care-solutions/lg-AS560DWR0-air-purifier
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: DrCool on September 03, 2020, 03:37:06 PM
>“I look outside and I go, ‘Oh geez, it smells like smoke, dammit.”

We get some pretty decent smoke blowing through here most years from fires in the middle of the state. If I can look down the road and see Mt. Spokane I know it isn't too bad. If I can't see the mountain I know the air quality is bad.

Or if I fire up the smoker and can't distinguish the good smoke coming from there vs. the bad smoke in the air I know it is bad.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on September 03, 2020, 07:40:13 PM
We have filters and they work, but the problem is that our place is a bit drafty and smoke was seeping in at a faster rate than the filters were able to clear out.  Usually having a drafty house isn't really a problem here with the mild weather year round.  It peaked a couple of days ago.  That orange moon I mentioned earlier was actually a shade of red -- very cool looking, but a bit disconcerting because we knew it was caused by massive amounts of smoke.  The air quality is much better today.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 04, 2020, 12:04:25 AM
Wildfires Hasten Another Climate Crisis: Homeowners Who Can’t Get Insurance
Quote
Insurers, facing huge losses, have been pulling back from fire-prone areas across California. “The marketplace has largely collapsed,” an advocate for counties in the state said.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/02/climate/wildfires-insurance.html

Quote
The result is a dilemma for governments. Either let rates rise, squeezing homeowners, or take the chance that more insurers will pull back from vulnerable areas, as many across the West are doing already. Without insurance, banks won’t issue mortgages, making homes harder to buy or sell.

The challenges are especially pronounced in California, where regulations lean toward consumer protection. The state forbids insurance companies from setting rates based on what they expect in future damages. Insurers are allowed to set rates only based on prior losses.

Regulators also forbid insurers from passing along the costs of buying their own insurance, which they do to soften the blow of unexpectedly big losses. As wildfires get worse, those costs for insurers are going up as well.

Both rules were designed to guard against higher rates. But in the age of climate change, insurers say those rules have prevented them from keeping up with wildfire damage.

My insurance costs about 1.4% of the cost to rebuild my home - as a homeowner, that seems high, but if I look at it from the perspective of an insurer, that seems low. Short of major changes in the way people view fire, manage forests, set air quality rules in California cities, determine responsibility for fires and so forth, I can't imagine my house lasting 71 years without being destroyed by fire.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 06, 2020, 07:57:32 PM
And again... 6:45pm the Creek Fire broke out 45 miles south of us. It has already covered about a third of that distance, burning 36,000 acres in the first 14 hours. The videos are horrifying.

Warning: NSFC (not safe for children)

Great work by fire fighter, sheriffs departments and National Guard, who decided that in some circumstances there are more important things than social distancing
https://twitter.com/ChiefNGB/status/1302632718208045058?s=20

https://www.cnn.com/2020/09/05/us/california-mammoth-pool-reservoir-camp-fire/index.html

Insane video of campers at Mammoth Pools. If you are a Catholic of a certain age, you'll recognize these images. It's what you were taught to expect if you were bad.
https://twitter.com/blkahn/status/1302641414501814279?s=20

Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on September 06, 2020, 08:03:19 PM
Is there a recent previous burn in between you and the fire that might act as a buffer?
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 06, 2020, 09:06:59 PM
Yes. It's headed toward Wawona and that means it should hit the 2017 Empire footprint to the north of town, the 2018 Ferguson footprint west and north and the 2017 Railroad footprint west and south.

But to the southeast, which is where this fire is coming from, Wawona has no recent burn history. So we're most likely fine and Wawona is probably not in great danger, but it's scary. Nick Nausler, a fire meteorologist had this on Twitter:

"Based on MODIS data, the #CreekFire is 115,000+ acres now and probably closer to 125,000 acres. A 24-hr, 115k+ acre "plume-dominated" run in timber is nearly unprecedented. Surreal to watch it yesterday and think it was going to burn 30k-50k acres and then see 115k+ #CAwx #CAfire"
https://twitter.com/NickyNaus/status/1302592911956013061?s=20

There's some incredible stuff on Twitter....

"Scary footage of pyrocumulus "column collapse" earlier this AM. This occurs when there is temporary interruption in sustained fire updraft strength & air falls rapidly back toward surface--similar to thunderstorm downburst. Extremely dangerous conditions. #CAwx #CAfire #CreekFire"
https://twitter.com/Weather_West/status/1302629728352755717?s=20

The first is so big, so hot, turning so much embodied wood energy into heat energy that on the satellite imagery you can see lightning strikes in the smoke plume caused by the smoke plume itself. This is completely insane
https://twitter.com/weatherdak/status/1302671067257819141?s=20

Here it's like liate evening. The photo-sensor lights on the neighbors' driveway are on and it's silent - no birds, no squirrels.... nobody active.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on September 07, 2020, 01:03:12 AM
That footage is incredible.

For those who don't know, we are having a heat wave at the same time making it very dangerous for the fire fighters.  The local temperature hit 107°F/41.67°C today. 
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: rcjordan on September 07, 2020, 01:27:49 AM
Los Angeles records city's highest temperature ever on record - ABC News
https://abcnews.go.com/US/los-angeles-records-citys-highest-temperature-record/story?id=72855640
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 07, 2020, 02:03:44 AM
>>we are having a heat wave at the same time making it very dangerous for the fire fighters

I was just talking to a friend who is one of the NPS people involved with the fire response and he said one of the fire chiefs said, "It's going to be a wild ride for a few days." Resources are stretched thin, the terrain is very rugged (yesterday the fire was burning from 3000 feet to 9000 feet), the foliage humidity levels are extremely low, there are record temperatures and there are winds.

This fire was at a reported 50,000 acres, but satellite imagery suggests more like 100,000 acres and they have 450 firefighters and 12 engines.  So for 150 square miles, and rapidly becoming 200, they have basically three firefighters per square mile. It's not become a Type 1 incident, which means resources will be flowing in rapidly especially as the other big fires are winding down, but usually they don't make much headway on a fire like this until they get to about 3000 firefighters and 50 aircraft. With anything under 1000, they are just trying to save lives and protect critical infrastructure.

And... everyone south of us is on evacuation watch. We're on the border. I spent the day leafblowing the roof, gutters, any corners where things accumulate, cutting brush that I've been planning to cut for a month. I'm not worried, since we're pretty well protected because of recent fires, but those are all things that I should be doing monthly anyway, so why not now.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: rcjordan on September 08, 2020, 07:40:51 PM
Town of Malden, Washington, has been destroyed in a Labor Day firestorm
https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/malden-washington-has-been-destroyed-in-a-labor-day-firestorm/ar-BB18OF2l
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 08, 2020, 08:16:30 PM
Wow. That's terrible.

Given that we're just getting warmer and dryer, I'm afraid these events will become more and more frequent.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: DrCool on September 08, 2020, 09:45:54 PM
>>Malden, Washington

About 35 miles away from here. Crazy how quickly that one moved. It was really windy on this side of the state yesterday and even up through Idaho and Montana. We took the kids for a drive yesterday and saw quite a few trees down. On the way home we hit a lot of smoke from fires burning out west of us. The winds are uncharacteristically blowing the smoke to the west today though. We normally have a westerly wind but it has changed directions. 
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: rcjordan on September 08, 2020, 09:51:25 PM
>really windy on this side of the state yesterday

Hurricane-force winds kick up Oregon, Wash. wildfires | KATU
https://katu.com/news/local/hurricane-force-winds-kick-up-oregon-wash-wildfires-09-08-2020


The latest: Hurricane-force winds slam Utah, topple hundreds of big trees, knocking out power for 170,000 - The Salt Lake Tribune
https://www.sltrib.com/news/2020/09/08/wild-winds-slam-northern/
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: Mackin USA on September 09, 2020, 11:48:06 AM
YOSEMITE GLOWS ORANGE AS FIRES RAGE
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: rcjordan on September 09, 2020, 01:15:25 PM
>>>Malden, Washington

Doc, what vegetation is that area?  I thought that eastern WA was very arid and trees were sparse.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 09, 2020, 02:57:15 PM
>>YOSEMITE GLOWS ORANGE AS FIRES RAGE

That must have been Sunday. That day was incredible. The air quality was actually Good and I went for a run. The freshest air we have had in three weeks. If felt super nice. The superheated plume was sending the smoke up to 15,000 and the falling ash was to the east of us.

Today, most of Yosemite glows grey. For your viewing pleasure so you all can enjoy the stunning beauty of Yosemite, I attach for you these gorgeous views of
 - El Capitan from Tunnel View, with Half Dome and Cloud's Rest in the background A pine tree at the Tunnel View parking lot.
 - Half Dome from Ahwahnee Meadow Ahwahnee Meadow with the faint outline of Washington Column and Royal Arches
 - The view from Turtleback Dome (my house is just out of frame in the upper left)
 - Badger Pass ski area
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: DrCool on September 09, 2020, 03:47:00 PM
>>vegetation

That area is mostly wheat fields but Malden is down in a little valley that has a decent amount of trees. Here is some good drone footage that shows what the area is like: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=356158465564774

Looks like most of the trees were spared. But when the grasslands are burning the wind can spread the fires very quickly. The fires just out to the west of Spokane are mostly grass fires. Anywhere north of here is mostly forest. The fire burning in the middle of the state is mostly grass land and farmland too. There have been a few major forest fires in the Chelan/Wenatchee area over the past few years but it seems like most of the fires this year are grass.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on September 09, 2020, 05:08:14 PM
Looks like Mars out there today.  This photo was from about 30 minutes ago.  This is my youngest attending class on her computer, it isn't bright enough to light up the room even though she is sitting next to a window.  No filter, it is really that dark and pumpkin orange.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: DrCool on September 09, 2020, 06:26:10 PM
>>pumpkin orange

I have seen some other Bay Area friends posting similar pictures today. Never seen a color like that from the smoke before.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 09, 2020, 06:43:36 PM
>>Mars

A friend who is a rigger in the East Bay said it was 11am and he was still working with his headlamp on. Like nighttime dark

You're in SF proper right?
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on September 09, 2020, 07:55:29 PM
No, I'm about 20 minutes south of SF.  It's snowing ash now.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on September 11, 2020, 02:49:58 AM
Worth a read:
https://www.reddit.com/r/LifeProTips/comments/iqd44x/lpt_what_to_do_if_its_too_late_to_evacuate_from/
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: Drastic on September 11, 2020, 11:39:13 AM
This has to be rough in middle of the pandemic over there. If I didn't have outside activities now, I think I'd lose it.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: DrCool on September 11, 2020, 04:24:27 PM
Looks like the winds are changing and a big mass of smoke from California and Oregon is supposed to move in here tonight and tomorrow.

https://wasmoke.blogspot.com/2020/09/smoke-alert.html
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 11, 2020, 04:51:05 PM
Best satellite images to see what's headed your way: zoom.earth

Best I've found anyway
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on September 11, 2020, 07:31:09 PM
>I think I'd lose it.

It is pretty hard on the kids.

>move in here tonight and tomorrow.

Get your air filters/purifiers ready.


Thanks for posting zoom.earth Ergo.  I'll be sharing that.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: rcjordan on September 11, 2020, 11:02:33 PM
California Can’t Afford To Wait for Climate Action
https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/09/california-cant-afford-to-wait-for-climate-action.html

I'll add that nowhere have I seen even a whisper about Cali's old fire/dry history EG posted.  If the west is cycling back to dryer climate then it is really going to hit the fan.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 12, 2020, 01:47:09 AM
>>Cali's old fire/dry history EG posted

This article does a good job of explaining how the climate problem interfaces with the legacy problems caused by mismanagement.
https://www.fresnobee.com/opinion/opn-columns-blogs/marek-warszawski/article245573785.html
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 12, 2020, 02:43:01 AM
Satellite time lapse of NCal and Oregon.  Let it load....

http://rammb.cira.colostate.edu/ramsdis/online/loop.asp?data_folder=loop_of_the_day/goes-16/20200909000000&number_of_images_to_display=200&loop_speed_ms=120
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 12, 2020, 09:33:41 PM
Also, this is interesting from one of the smaller fires in the park

Quote
The fire has a 70% active perimeter burning in pockets of accumulated dead and down logs and is creeping and backing with isolated single tree torching along the active perimeter. When conditions are favorable, firing operations are occurring to help bring the fire’s edge to natural containment lines. Fire crews are utilizing unmanned aircraft systems for aerial reconnaissance and mapping, infrared detection (IR), and aerial ignition. This type of aerial ignition aids fire personnel by gaining depth along natural containment lines in areas otherwise too dangerous for firefighters to hike.

In other words, they are flying drones with incendiary devices and dropping them in areas where they think it would be too dangerous to send in a fire crew with drip torches.

I know a friend who was on a helitack crew sometimes got to man the ping-pong ball machine gun, where they fly over and launch ping-pong-ball-sized incendiary devices along the burn line, but that is obviously expensive and it doesn't work during an inversion because you don't have the visibility to safely fly manned aircraft (let alone launch incendiary devices without being able to see where they are going).
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: gm66 on September 12, 2020, 11:29:15 PM
You can defeat intense flames with directed beams of high voltage electricity, there was research done on this 15 years or more ago but i never heard much after that, with today's LIPO batteries you could make a great flame-killer, the old research resulted in a directed electric spike that snubbed out the flame, which is weirdly the opposite that Nikolai Tesla did, he used the weak EM field of the flame as a magnetic snubber.

Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 12, 2020, 11:57:17 PM
But you have to realize that this is over hundreds of thousands of acres. I doubt there's enough electricity in the grid to handle that.

This is why, for the most part, they don't use water to fight wildfires except for the occasional hotspot. There's just no way to deliver enough water or retardant to make a big difference. Those giant drops are merely to cool down the hottest spots so the hand crews can get in there to dig lines and conduct "firing operations."

There's no magical technology that does much on a wildfire.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: gm66 on September 13, 2020, 12:30:39 AM
There's no magical technology that does much on a wildfire.

Good point i wasn't thinking of the scale just the effect.
Let's think on then.

Fire needs air, how can we quickly deprive a large area of terrain of oxygen?

1. Vacuum bombs, they use the surrounding air to combust and generate a huge explosion but obviously pulverise all that lies below, so only useful in sections where there are no buildings.

I have no number 2 yet.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 13, 2020, 04:25:40 PM
So a fire during a temperature inversion is basically a giant vacuum bomb. It starves itself of oxygen and slows itself down. The bad part of that is the smoke is so heavy that you can't bring in air support.

But let's say your vacuum bomb works, or maybe a massive nitrogen bomb that pulls all the O2 out of the air. You have to realize that the fire area is still chock full of animals and sometimes people.

People see the dramatic images and they really misunderstand what is happening. There are two things to know about these images.
1. They are cherry-picking the absolute hottest parts of the fire.
2. Look closely. Many of these are taken in relatively low light. It makes it look like the fires of Hell, but these are relatively long exposures.

It is true that fires will sometimes make long, hot runs. But if you hike through a burn area shortly after a fire, what you'll see is
 - large areas where all the big timber is still standing
 - relatively small areas of total devastation, which are always the ones that show up in the news pictures.

The giant fire that almost took out our house in 2018 had frightening photo after frightening photo in the news, but about 90% of the burn area was low-intensity.

Then there's the more germane problem. We do want to protect lives, property and infrastructure, but we do NOT want to put these fires out quickly. The simple fact is that even this year California will not burn enough to even reach historical burn averages that were typical for thousands of years before the era of fire suppression.

Why do we want these to burn?

Selfish reason: low-intensity burns often are better than high-intensity burns rarely. Low-intensity burns do almost no damage to life, property or infrastructure. You can outwalk them if you have to. Easily. They might take a month to grow to 10,000 acres.

Eco reasons
 - many species in the Western US depend on fires. Locally, that would be giant sequoias, knobcone pine, golden eardrops, congdon's sedge and many, many more. Without fire, these species literally would go extinct.
 - fires create open areas that allow other species to thrive. After our fires, where the forests opened up, we had huge blankets of hyacinth (unbelievably beautiful), star tulip, pretty face and others.
 - these blooms create all kinds of seed crops for songbirds and small critters who then support the larger predators.
 - the "fire followers" are essential for supporting other animal populations. Studies in Montana (https://www.montananaturalist.org/blog-post/how-do-wildfires-impact-deer-elk/) have shown that, "on winter ranges where fires have not burned for more than 20 years, an acre of winter range will typically yield from 30 to 120 pounds of forage [for elk]. On winter ranges that burned in the last year or two, however, the production typically jumps to 200 to 3000 pounds of forage per acre—over a 20-fold increase in forage production."

We actually need MORE fire in California and the Western US, not less. But we need more of the fire that helps protect us. As an index, we typically burn about 1-2 million acres per year in California. This year has broken the record and it goes down with 2003 as the only year in recorded history when we will burn 2 million acres. This year we could hit three million by the time we see the first rains.

But for perspective, before 1800, and AVERAGE year, not a record, was 4.5 million acres. So double our *record* year. But, and here's a critical piece, roughly 50% of that was intentional burning by Indians (and yes, our local tribal council asks that we use their tribal name or call them Indians, not Native American, First Nations or whatever). The Indians, of course, did not have aircraft and fire engines, so they protected their homes in the obvious way. They burned around their homes every year. This they did not just for safety, but because it encourages the growth of oak trees (their major food source, over half their calories), dogbane (necessary for making thread/rope they usef to make baskets which, in turn, were necessary for collecting, storing and cooking food), and just in general promoted meadows, which support populations of game animals and, as we might say today, are the repositories of diversity in the eco-system.

So in short, not only do we not have the magical technology tool for putting out fires, we don't even WANT it. What we want and need is
 - much more fire in California. Fire ecologists estimate we have to burn at least 20,000,000 acres in the next few years to get on top of our problem
 - more human-started, low-intensity fire in general
 - and maybe some great new tech that would make protecting infrastructure and property easier.

I have mixed feelings about the last one. If we get too good at that, it just convinces more fools like me to build in high-fire areas. I was so ill-educated on fire when I moved here over 17 years ago. Totally clueless.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: Brad on September 13, 2020, 05:01:56 PM
> build in high-fire areas

That's the rub, we keep building residences out in the country on land we know is going to burn eventually, and then we have to commit millions of dollars in firefighting equipment not to mention risk the lives of firefighters, just to save somebodies house that should not have been built there anyway.

Then it burns, and gets rebuilt and we do it all over again. 

We have to stop permitting new homes being built and rebuilding homes that burn.   
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 13, 2020, 05:56:40 PM
>>We have to stop permitting new homes being built and rebuilding homes that burn.

Yes, we are facing a crisis similar to flood insurance, which only exists because it has been propped up by the feds.

Of course, the problem is that most of the land in the West *is* high-fire-risk. There are, of course, places like San Fran that have been rendered less risky with massive amounts of concrete. But there is almost nowhere in California that is naturally low-risk for fire.

The alternative is to approach rural building like we do urban building. It used to be that cities burned all the time - San Francisco, Chicago, London, Geneva, and many others all burned down at one time or another. Then we created codes that make it harder for cities to burn down.

The talk in the fire community is "resilient landscapes." With a combination of intelligent building codes and tightly enforced fire clearance codes, you could make it so that a fire can sweep through an area and not do major damage. That is how the Indians managed the land.

There are obstacles there too. For example, it means no trees in your yard within 60 feet of the house, and no dense trees within 100 feet. It means that the 10 feet or so around your house must have no growing things, no firewood storage, no gas or snowblower or lawnmower storage. On small lots, that means no trees in a whole subdivision. People really hate that. They dream of a mountain home surrounded by pine trees, but that's the sort of thing that only made sense for about 50 to 100 years of human history, and those years are over.

Then the enforcement end is hard too. It's private property and as it stands right now, authorities do not have the right to "search" a property for violations without a warrant. So there are actual constitutional issues there.

And there's just the cultural problem. The Rough Fire took place in an area for which I was doing marketing at the time. One of the hotels was destroyed (not one of ours) and the owner was irate. He said firefighters with engines sat there and watched it burn and did nothing to save it.

The thing is, I had driven by there a month earlier and said to my wife, "If a fire come, that guy is f###ed." He had massive amounts of uncleared brush. There was no way to get a fire team in there, but he had the utterly unrealistic expectation that despite is gross (in fact, criminal under California code) negligence, he still had the right to ask firefighters to risk their lives.

People have completely irrational views. I have a neighbor who told me that "we always do the right thing and rake up our pine needles" and she had trees *touching* the house on three sides.

A second-home owner told me that all he sees in the city is concrete and that he would rather have his second home burn down than cut down the trees touching his house. He doesn't realize it's like the herd immunity problem. If 20% of the homeowners think like him, we're all at risk.

And then there's me. I have one of the most protected houses in the neighborhood (I would have said the most, but after all the bark beetle dieoff, a couple of the worst houses are among the best, having lost 69 trees on a quarter acre in one case). I still have three trees. They are all limbed very high off the ground and set off a long distance from other trees. And honestly, if every lot looked like that, we would be fairly fire safe. But it is both logistically and emotionally hard to drop a perfectly healthy 140-foot high tree because it might catch on fire some day.

So I think like many of our problems, it is solvable, but we lack the political will to make the hard choices we need to make to solve it. And even if we did have the will, it would take time. If we took every measure we could today, the fire problem in the West is going to get worse for the next 20 years. No way out of that.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: Brad on September 13, 2020, 07:29:53 PM
> insurance

This will be the starting point, when it just becomes impossible to buy fire insurance outside of carefully designated areas.

I suspect the same will happen with flood insurance and coastal development first (hurricane bait properties) and eventually chronic flood prone areas everywhere.  The federal support will get phased out over a few decades.

> private property  inspections

Make that a condition of the insurance policy then you have a contractual right to inspect or the insurance gets canceled.
 

Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 13, 2020, 09:10:48 PM
Actually, the insurance industry is where all the enforcement is. It is the only weapon in the arsenal right now.

I think there should be some areas designated, and I live in one of them, where in event of a total loss, insurance pays out cash, but does not cover rebuilding.

The part I haven't worked out, though, is what happens in a community like mine if 150 houses get wiped out and 50 are still standing? We already have extremely high costs for water and sewer and such. If you take away 75% of the rate payers, what happens to the remaining 25%? At a certain threshold, you would have to effectively condemn an entire community, even though there might be dozens or hundreds of undamaged houses still standing.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: DrCool on September 14, 2020, 03:08:17 PM
>>headed your way

Air quality has been pushing 500 here over the weekend. Never quite saw it crack the 500 mark but it has been in the 480s and 490s (499 was the highest I saw) for the past couple days. Down to the low 400s right now. It doesn't smell particularly smokey but it is very hazy out. Schools that were open have closed and some businesses have shut down as well.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 14, 2020, 04:17:54 PM
People just don't get it.

Quote
Almost every day, North Lake Tahoe’s emergency dispatch sends fire crews to put out bonfires on the beach, charcoal grills in residential neighborhoods or campfires smoldering beneath towering pine trees.

In a single week in the middle of August — when a lightning storm ignited wildfires across the state — 15 wildfires were reported to the U.S. Forest Service in Lake Tahoe. Of those 15 fires, 11 were caused by humans and four from lightning.

https://www.sfgate.com/renotahoe/article/Tahoe-emergency-crews-respond-illegal-fires-15533700.php

>>500

We had a couple days like that. It's brutal. Right now we're 229 mcg/m^3, which is about a 285 AQI. Not 500, but not a festival either.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: DrCool on September 14, 2020, 08:15:49 PM
Here is a good look at what we have to look forward to this week:

https://i.imgur.com/L3tDmIA.gifv

Looks like the smoke will be sticking around for a few days.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: gm66 on September 14, 2020, 09:40:14 PM
Dear US cousins, stop building homes made from matchwood and get some good old-fashioned British bricks in there.

Stops external fires AND tornadoes!
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 14, 2020, 10:09:56 PM
Dear US cousins, stop building homes made from matchwood and get some good old-fashioned British bricks in there.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/photos-from-california-wildfires-reveal-lessons-for-b-c-1.4905324
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on September 14, 2020, 10:18:10 PM
>Dear US cousins, stop building homes made from matchwood and get some good old-fashioned British bricks in there.

If you were from here you'd know why we don't do that.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: rcjordan on September 14, 2020, 10:29:43 PM
3d print with gunite on a wire matrix. Separate the structure from the foundation with sheets of teflon.  Tile floors, tile roof.

Even so, we'd pack enough combustible furnishings, decor, and whatnot crap that a good number of them would still burn, 
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: Brad on September 14, 2020, 11:47:40 PM
> combustible furnishings

Windows and roofs.  You can have fire resistant siding like cement board, but all to often one of the windows fails and from then on the flames can spread from drapes and furnishings.  We had that happen here homes about 20 feet apart.  Both homes sided in cement board which really helped contain the blaze.  But the house next door from where the fire started went up when the vinyl windows failed and flames got inside the second structure.

The other thing is burning stuff landing on the roof so a fireproof roof sure helps.  Tile works and I'm wondering if a steel roof would work.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: buckworks on September 15, 2020, 02:14:49 PM
No matter what your roof is made of, make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 15, 2020, 09:42:19 PM
I've been on my roof weekly with a leaf blower. After the Ferguson Fire, we had embers on the roof and in the gutter, but very little debris, so the house is still here.

Another key is inside corners in the building that create eddies and catch flying leaves and such. And finally, tight screens on all vents.

You can put all the stucco and tile and steel you want on a building, but if you don't do these things, it's all for naught.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 16, 2020, 01:20:28 AM
Apparently Sauron lives in California (Mackin believed this already of course) and is prepping for the attack on Canada, then Ireland and the UK, belching out smoke from the fires of Mount Doom the Sierra Nevada to blot out the sun across the free world.

I think he's making a mistake by opening a second front with Hawaii though. I'm afraid he'll be spreading the Nazgul too thin.

(http://th3core.com/talk/water-coolerextra/california-burning-again/?action=dlattach;attach=3737;image)
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: Brad on September 16, 2020, 10:49:18 AM
Climate change and migration in the US

Quote
Once-chilly places like Minnesota and Michigan and Vermont will become more temperate, verdant and inviting. Vast regions will prosper; just as Hsiang’s research forecast that Southern counties could see a tenth of their economy dry up, he projects that others as far as North Dakota and Minnesota will enjoy a corresponding expansion. Cities like Detroit; Rochester, New York; Buffalo and Milwaukee will see a renaissance, with their excess capacity in infrastructure, water supplies and highways once again put to good use.

Long article but very interesting.

https://www.propublica.org/article/climate-change-will-force-a-new-american-migration
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on September 16, 2020, 05:47:25 PM
Oh sigh... mostly news that I've heard before, some as far back as Cadillac Desert (1986), but it's still depressing. Maybe more so in that so little has been done. If we had acted rationally when the problems were first elucidated, the fixes would have been fairly painless. Forty years of obstruction, delay and false narratives funded with millions and millions of dollars from Exxon and the Koch Brothers have backed us into a terrible corner.

Quote
Part of the problem is that most policies look only 12 months into the future, ignoring long-term trends even as insurance availability influences development and drives people’s long-term decision-making.

This is a major reason for not being able to get fire insurance. Regulators only let insurance companies base premiums on past payouts. But it is so clear we have entered an era when past payouts are a poor indicator of future payouts. Meanwhile, the hefty $8000 price tag on my insurance is almost certainly deeply underpriced. That price basically is a bet by the insurance company that my house will not burn down in the next 50 years. That seems absurd. The fair-market price of my insurance is probably $12,000 per year, maybe $16,000, which starts to make moving back to Vermont look awfully attractive.

My whole retirement strategy at this point is based on having enough foresight to get out before property here becomes impossible to sell due to running out of water (very hard to predict, could happen tomorrow), lack of insurance (thus can only sell to cash buyer who can self-insure) or general fear about fires, water, insurance.
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: littleman on December 31, 2020, 01:22:42 AM
California must burn more of its forests to save them. Is the public ready? (https://www.sfchronicle.com/california-wildfires/article/California-must-burn-more-of-its-forests-to-save-15829961.php)
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: rcjordan on December 31, 2020, 02:35:15 AM
>ready

No.

related, East Coast

"Fire suppression played a critical role on the longleaf's decline. Fires clear and fertilize ground that longleaf seeds must touch to sprout. Properly timed, they also spark seedlings’ first growth spurt. And, crucially for the entire ecosystem, they kill shrubs and hardwood trees that would otherwise block the sun from seedlings, grasses and wildflowers."

Restoring Longleaf Pines, Keystone of Once Vast Ecosystems
https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2020-12-30/restoring-longleaf-pines-keystone-of-once-vast-ecosystems
Title: Re: California burning again
Post by: ergophobe on December 31, 2020, 02:48:01 AM
>> Is the public ready?

No, but significant progress made in the past year.