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Shiloh

The Western US & Canada is Burning

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Although the media continues to ignore over 7,000,000 acres burned or burning in the west at a cost of $150 million a week, I thought this deserved it's own topic. Nothing on CNN's page, nothing on MSNBC's main page, but surprisingly, it led the news for Fox.

 

Portland's air quality is worse than Beijing's because of forest fires.

As the West Burns, the Media fiddles. CNN's front page is all celebrity all the time.

Forest Service Identifies Three Firefighters Killed in Washington Blaze Central Oregon wildfire reaches 55,000 acres, though firefighters see progress overnight

Montana declares state of emergency as U.S. Northwest battles blaze

Central California wildfire grows; spurs thousands to flee

 

Although they like to talk about the drought in California, 60.1% of the west is experiencing moderate to severe drought at the end of July contributing to the massive fires.

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/drought/201507

Evacuation alerts possible as U.S fire nears B.C. border

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When fire chief called for help, and no one was left

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/when-fire-chief-called-for-help-and-no-one-was-left/

 

Whipped by 40- to 50-mph winds, the new blaze on the Spokane Reservation sent up a column of smoke as it churned north toward a rural community of about 2,000 people east of the Columbia River.

The only thing that stood in the way: Stevens County Fire District 2 Chief Rick Anderson and his crew of volunteers.

First, he called surrounding fire agencies for help. They were already overwhelmed by other wildfires.

“Nobody came,” he said.

Next, he called the county.

“Nobody came,” said Anderson, 60, who has been a firefighter in Stevens County since he was 18 and also works as a communications specialist for the sheriff’s office.

Then he called the Washington Department of Natural Resources.

“They had nobody to come help us,” he said.

Finally, Anderson called state emergency management, asking that Washington state declare a mobilization to provide support for the fire.

The good news: “That was immediately granted.”

The bad news: “There was nobody to send me.”

 

 

Interactive map of fires in the US

http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/northwest/interactive-map-wildfires-in-the-u-s/

usfiremap.jpg

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Should we be worried about you, shiloh?

 

I'm not sure if Brr and Ocean are around, but I'm staying indoors right now. The fires are a long way away. But you can see the entire Pacific NW is pretty messed up. They've called up the National Guard and Army, we also had some Canadian firefighters but they may have to go back home if it jumps the border.

 

I don't know if there are other ETFers in Southern BC or other threatened areas.

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We are affected with the smoke/haze over here, more than 1,000 miles away.

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http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/impacts/infographic-wildfires-climate-change.html#.Vd-Z8PRXn78

 

  • The number of large wildfires — defined as those covering more than 1,000 acres — is increasing throughout the region. Over the past 12 years, every state in the Western U.S. has experienced an increase in the average number of large wildfires per year compared to the annual average from 1980 to 2000.
  • Wildfire season is generally defined as the time period between the year’s first and last large wildfires. This infographic highlights the length of the wildfire season for the Western U.S. as a region. Local wildfire seasons vary by location, but have almost universally become longer over the past 40 years.
Panel 2: Rising Temperatures and Earlier Snowmelt
  • Temperatures are increasing much faster in the Western U.S. than for the planet as a whole. Since 1970, average annual temperatures in the Western U.S. have increased by 1.9° F, about twice the pace of the global average warming.
  • Scientists are able to gauge the onset of spring snowmelt by evaluating streamflow gauges throughout the Western U.S. Depending on location, the onset of spring snowmelt is occurring 1-4 weeks earlier today than it did in the late 1940s.
Panel 3: Future Projections
  • The projected increase in annual burn area varies depending on the type of ecosystem. Higher temperatures are expected to affect certain ecosystems, such as the Southern Rocky Mountain Steppe-Forest of central Colorado, more than others, such as the semi-desert and desert of southern Arizona and California. Every ecosystem type, however, is projected to experience an increase in average annual burn area.
  • The range of projected temperature increases in the Western U.S. by mid-century (2040 – 2070) represents a choice of two possible futures — from one in which we drastically reduce heat-trapping emissions (the projected low end of a lower emissions pathway) to a future in which we continue with "business as usual" (the projected high end of a higher emissions pathway).

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Alaska’s terrifying wildfire season

The staggering 2015 Alaska wildfire season may soon be the state’s worst ever, with almost 5 million acres already burned — an area larger than Connecticut. The pace of the burn has moderated in the last week, but scientists say the fires are just the latest indicator of a climatic transformation that is remaking this state — its forests, its coasts, its glaciers, and perhaps most of all, the frozen ground beneath — more than any other in America.

 

This story is about a month old.

 

Current wildfire conditions in Alaska have improved, but it's still burning

http://smoke.arsc.edu/current_fires.html

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I don't know if there are other ETFers in Southern BC or other threatened areas.

My sister lives on an island off Southern BC so I asked her how it looked from her back porch. She said they were on full drought alert, it was smokier earlier in the Summer, and if their island caught fire they'd all surely die. Seemingly few worries otherwise.

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I can attest to the fact that it definitely sucks to be southern BC, smells like a smoker outside and most days see ash and burnt pine needles falling. Its supposed to rain tomorrow and the following week, but even with cooler temperatures it will take days (and substantial amounts) of rain to soak the woods and there is a possibility of lighting in the forecast

 

http://firesmoke.ca/forecasts/BSC00WC04/current/

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Now it's flooding, we had a record rainfall in Oregon in December. But to follow up on the firefighting season, a few disturbing trends:

 

Escape casts spotlight on Washington use of juvenile inmates to fight wildfires
  • Inmate, 16, shoots self in head after escaping Chelan Complex fire work camp
  • Teen survives and state suspends decades-old firefighting program

The next day, 22 August, police found the inmate on a nearby road and attempted to apprehend him. He pulled out a .22 caliber revolver and, after a brief interaction, fired one shot to his head.

The teen survived, but the program that deploys young inmates to help fight wildfires was placed on hold.

Washington has been employing inmates in juvenile detention to fight wildfires for decades. But the teen’s escape has shed new light on the program.

David Ball, a criminal justice lawyer and corrections expert at California’s Santa Clara University, said he was surprised to learn of fire camps for inmates under the age of 18.

“The word about scared-straight boot camps for juveniles is that they don’t do any good,” said Ball. “For most juvenile programs, there are lots of other things for these kids to do, like get their GED and go to counseling. This is really something that I have not heard of.”

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The Washington state government said it was reassessing the juvenile work camps, in light of the events. Two deployed crews had been recalled to their main facilities.

But Jennifer Redman, a probation officer with Washington’s juvenile services, said she was hopeful the state will “get this program back up and running so we can deploy again”.

 

The Prisoners Fighting California’s Wildfires

As climate change makes the role of inmate firefighters in California increasingly crucial, Americans are beginning to ask whether the type of low-level offenders who qualify for the program even deserve to be locked up.

About half of the people fighting wild fires on the ground for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) are incarcerated: over 4,400 prisoners, housed at 42 inmate fire camps, including three for women. Together, says Capt. Jorge Santana, the California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR) liaison who supervises the camps, they save the state over $1 billion a year. This year, California has had over 5,300 wildfires, which is about 700 more than had occurred by this time in 2013, and a thousand more than the five-year average. Now, as the West is coming to the end of one of the driest, hottest years in recorded history, the work of inmate firefighters has become essential to California’s financial and environmental health.

 

Welcome to the new normal...

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Firefighting involves a lot of manual labour such as digging fire breaks, hauling equipment, I don't see a problem with non-violent felons being used to free up firefighters

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There's a difference between weather and climate change.

 

For example, fire season started earlier in 2016, we've seen record temps in April and May in the Pacific Northwest, 20-30 degrees above normal and shattering all records.

 

Leaving out the morality of prison labor. Do the guards get extra hazard pay for being in the middle of a wildfire?

I don't know about this. The prisoners are paid very little.

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There are fires again burning over 10 states. In CA 2 are dead, over 200 homes destroyed in one fire over 60 square miles. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2016/06/27/at-least-2-dead-60000-acres-lost-to-california-wildfires.html

 

Alaska is now experiencing zombie fires. Where they burn underground and reemerge. They were so rare in the past that they weren't tracked.

 

http://grist.org/climate-energy/the-zombie-wildfires-have-awakened-in-alaska/

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Anchorage just dodged a big bullet. There was a fire right over the ridge from hillside, which is now under control thanks to some rain. The odd thing is the officials were oddly quiet about the whole thing. A fire cutting across the Chugach would very quickly shut down all road access to and from the city. Meaning there's no place to evacuate to!

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