Posts Tagged ‘Fires’

Just a taste of the area I used to patrol when I was with the ODF in firefighting days.  We drove up to a spot that makes Michiganders nervous.  Bohemia Mountains, these are… and they are way more rugged than you would think.  This is about 6000 feet elevation (just shy of).

My stomping grounds_smallI experienced actual physical bodily pain when driving down and away from them.  Sigh.

My stomping grounds2_smallEastern Oregon is a little easier in spots and not so heavy on the huge trees, but their fires are frickin’ hot, too.

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Popular Science sometimes means not having to say you really thought it through.

Ok, so that was a bit harsh.  I like Pop. Sci.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong:  Blotting Out the Sun

Filling the stratosphere with sulfur aerosols could cool the globe, but it could also cause widespread drought and destruction – Jamie Sneddon

Well, I’ll tell you what could go wrong.  According to the logic of Al Gore, by cooling the Earth we could make it warmer. Why the hell not?  By warming it we’re making it colder, he has as much as said so.

But in my heart of hearts, I agree with Sneddon, that actively seeking to change the albedo of the Earth isn’t something one f***s around with lightly.

And LiveScience where sometimes there’s cool neat stuff and sometimes there’s pure idiocy, they actually uttered this about forest fire severity and the correlation to global warming:

While it’s melting glaciers and creating more intense hurricanes, global warming also seems to be heating up forest fires in the United States. In western states over the past few decades, more wildfires have blazed across the countryside, burning more area for longer periods of time. Scientists have correlated the rampant blazes with warmer temperatures and earlier snowmelt. When spring arrives early and triggers an earlier snow-melt, forest areas become drier and stay so for longer, increasing the chance that they might ignite.

It misses the most glaringly evident root cause of what is making wildfires worse, burning more areas for longer has been correlated with not letting regular fires clear out the undergrowth, so when there IS a fire it’s hot enough that the largest trees don’t survive – they die.  You can’t hardly wade through the stuff.  And when it dries it dries completely and it burns extremely hot.

There’s absolutely no doubt that hot weather increases the risk of fire – that’s a no-brainer – but to try to pin fire duration on “global warming” without mention of the other man-made problem, which is caused by the fact that we can’t leave well enough alone, is misleading at best and deceptive at worst.

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Now, I get a little bit squeamish when he uses the word heroes to describe firefighters but I get the sense in which he means it. As one who has fought forest fires, I think he paid a very nice tribute.

Mosey on over and check out Michael Ramirez, who has gained my gratitude and respect. Very thoughtful cartoon.

A fellow firefighter friend of mine, Scott Blecha, was a fellow lifeguard in college as well. More specifically he was a Smokejumper, which in my opinion is like the equivalent of a Ranger or Commando. He was one of the 14 who died on Storm King. They ran as hard as they could, a few made it out and some of them with some burns, but others were not able to crest the ridge before it crowned out. It is doubtful that even fire shelters (sometimes affectionately referred to as shake-n-bake shelters) would have helped in this instance, so explosive was the fire in the trees once it flashed. Scott died trying to help others make it to safety. The real tragedy was he had proposed to his fiance a few weeks prior to this fire.

I take it back. There are heroes.

– LK

Another good Ramirez cartoon.

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