Remember when I recently reported that California was poised to establish rules prohibiting the sale of diesel- and gasoline-fueled vehicles all in the name of reducing carbon emissions?

The Wine Country Wildfires have incinerated this year’s goals for such emissions. It appears that the air pollution from the state’s many infernos have produced as much pollution in 2 days than the entire output of its cars during an entire year!

In just the past two days, fires in California’s wine country are thought to have produced as much small particulate matter as all the vehicles in the state produce in a year.

“It’s a lot,” said Sean Raffuse, an air-quality analyst at the Crocker Nuclear Laboratory at University of California in Davis.

Although the early estimates are rough, Raffuse said the fires in the wine country have probably produced about 10,000 tons of PM 2.5, an air pollutant that’s the main cause of haze in the United States.

By way of comparison, it takes the approximately 35 million on-road vehicles in California a year to generate a similar amount of PM 2.5, Raffuse said.

I have long chronicled the struggles of California businesses to comply with and operate profitably under the onerous regulations of the California Air Resources Board. Sensible regulations are wonderful, but the wildfires demonstrate how impractical it is to eliminate the emission of carbon dioxide and other carbon-based molecules to infinitesimal levels.

Furthermore, the ash and smoke have spread to other states…so, technically, California is the now biggest air polluter in the region (unless the Yellowstone Supervolcano erupts soon).

Air quality data from the Environmental Protection Agency showed a large plume of dense smoke stretching from the central California coast, across the northwest corner of Nevada and into southern Oregon and Idaho on Wednesday.

Air quality forecasts in Reno, San Francisco and Sacramento predicted varying degrees of unhealthy air throughout northern California and Nevada.

Some Californians may end up enjoying the smoke a bit more than others.

Deadly wildfires in Northern California are burning up marijuana farms in the so-called Emerald Triangle.

Blazes have destroyed a number of farms in Mendocino County right before legal recreational sales begin in California.

Cannabis business owners who lose their crops have little reprieve.

“Nobody right now has insurance,” said Nikki Lastreto, secretary of the Mendocino Cannabis Industry Association. “They might have insurance on their house, but not on their crop.”

It turns out that the state’s citizens do face consequences for violating federal rules. Marijuana growers can’t obtain business insurance because federal law prohibits marijuana, so financial institutions can’t support their operations.

This is the deadliest spate of wildfires in California’s history since records have been kept. So far, 31 people have died and at least 3,500 homes and businesses have been destroyed. Officials are bracing for an expansion of the fires, because Northern California is expecting wind gusts up to 45 mph, with nearly non-existent humidity.

“It’s going to continue to get worse before it gets better,” state fire Chief Ken Pimlott said Wednesday.

The 22 fires spanned more than 265 square miles, many of them completely out of control. Modern, strategic attacks that have kept destruction and death tolls low in recent years just haven’t worked against its ferocity.

Prayers are going out to everyone impacted by these blazes.


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