The Wine Country Wildfires may end up being Brown’s lasting legacy.
Since President Trump has been elected, California Governor Jerry Brown acts like he is the President of California instead of a state official.
Brown’s recent executive acts and rhetoric have chiefly attempted to create a “climate change” legacy that will last after his final term as governor concludes. For example, Legal Insurrection has covered:
- Brown organizing an international climate change conference in San Fransisco next year, trying to resurrect the Paris Climate Accord on a state level.
- Brown signing his own climate agreement with China.
- Brown joined the United States Climate Alliance in defiance of the withdrawal from the United Nations climate agreement.
I suspect that the Wine Country Wildfires will turn out to be Brown’s Katrina, the legacy for which he will truly be remembered. The death toll in these devastating blazes has already hit 23, and 315 are now reported missing.
Firefighters are simply fighting to contain the infernos and save lives, and many California residents are already registering concern over the origin of all the blazes. There has been speculation that downed power lines or arson may be the reason why 17 fires broke out in such quick succession.
“Why we had so many big fires, the investigation will give some indication on that,” J. Keith Gilless, dean of the College of Natural Resources at the University of California, Berkeley said on Tuesday.
Scott L. Stephens, a professor in the College of Natural Resources, said that falling power lines and arson are both being considered. All of the fires seemed to ignite between midnight and 2 a.m. Monday, when winds were the strongest, he said. Branches or trees could have fallen on the lines or the lines themselves failed, he said.
“And the other one is arson of course, and I know that’s being looked at too,” he said.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration indicates that lightning strikes may have sparked the fires.
“Dry, hot conditions which have been problematic for much of the west coast this summer erupted into flames after a series of lightning strikes,” NASA said. “October is always a difficult time in California for wildfires, but this year, the wildfire eruptions seem extreme even to the most seasoned Californian. The deadly combination of lightning, winds, and hot weather which dries the landscape into tinder is all it takes to set off a wildfire that will consume thousands and thousands of acres in just a few short hours.”
According to the National Weather Service, a flash of lightning most often appears in a flicker-like motion, but sometimes lightning can flash in a continuous flow of electricity. In the latter flash, the lightning heats up an object and can cause it to ignite.
No matter the ultimate cause, 2017 was anticipated to be a potentially bad wildfire year, because recent rains led to more growth in drought-impacted areas…but not enough to leave enough moisture to make ignition difficult. Instead of focusing on infrastructure, security, and disaster preparedness, Brown’s effort went to becoming an international climate change star.
Additionally, he vetoed a bipartisan bill in 2016 aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires from overhead electrical lines.
The author of the measure — passed unanimously by both houses of the Legislature — now says the governor missed out on a chance to tackle one of his state’s longstanding vulnerabilities: massive wildfires endangering residential communities. But the governor’s office and the California Public Utilities Commission say the bill duplicated efforts already underway among the CPUC, Cal Fire and utilities like PG&E.
California accounts for nearly 90 percent of American wine production and is the fourth largest wine producer. So far, 14 wineries of the 1200 in this state have been destroyed. However this list, like the death toll, is likely to increase.
California will be electing a new Governor in 2018. A smart candidate would make preventing this type of disaster from occurring again a centerpiece of the platform, instead of pandering to eco-activists.
Meanwhile, the Wine Country Wildfires are likely to be Brown’s lasting legacy.DONATE
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