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Historic California Wildfires Likely to Spread as Lightning and Wind Storms Hit Region

Historic California Wildfires Likely to Spread as Lightning and Wind Storms Hit Region

President Trump signs disaster declaration as firefighters battle blazes that have already claimed over 1 million acres.

President Donald Trump has approved a disaster declaration for California after a series of wildfires in the central and northern sections of the state have incinerated over 1 million acres.

That allows for grants that can help with temporary housing and repairs of homes, loans to help deal with loss of uninsured property, and programs meant to help both individuals and business owners recuperate.

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency earlier in the week.

“Thank you to the President for your partnership and granting this urgent Major Disaster Declaration. California is battling two of the largest fires in our history and has seen nearly 600 new fires in the last week caused by dry lightning strikes. These are unprecedented times and conditions, but California is strong – we will get through this,” said Governor Newsom.

The wildfires are at historical levels: They include second and third largest blazes in the state’s history. It appears that Californians have learned from previous years to take evacuation orders seriously.

Two clusters of wildfires have surrounded the San Francisco Bay Area, after exploding in size over the weekend to become the second and third largest by acreage in the state’s recorded history. California has been hit by nearly 12,000 lightning strikes in just over a week, according to fire officials, the primary cause of the blazes. More thunderstorms were forecast Sunday, further hampering firefighting efforts.

Early widespread evacuation orders have so far helped California avoid the number of deaths caused by large wildfires in previous years, such as 85 people killed in the town of Paradise in 2018. Five people have died in the blazes in the past week, according to California fire officials, with tens of thousands forced to flee their homes.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of being prepared to leave,” Cal Fire Unit Chief Shana Jones said to people living in evacuation zones during a briefing Sunday.

The fires are likely to worsen before they are contained, due to a combination of lightning and wind.

The National Weather Service issued red-flag warnings across large swaths of Northern and Central California that went into effect before sunrise Sunday.

The storms could spark more blazes and cause existing ones to spread rapidly, and that is unwelcome news for firefighters, who are already stretched thin.

Crews on Sunday were battling dangerous fires from the Santa Cruz Mountains to wine country and beyond, using a small break in the weather to get a jump on the conflagrations, many of them ignited by lightning strikes.

…About 1.3 million acres have burned in California in just a month, according to a Times analysis — an astonishing toll so early in the fire season.

At present, over 14,000 firefighters are on the front lines of more than two dozen significant fires and lightning complexes. Newsom has reached out to other states and countries for more resources.

More fire-fighters, engines and surveillance planes are racing in from other states including Oregon, New Mexico and Texas to help. Assistance from what Gov Newsom called “the world’s best wildfire-fighters” in Australia has been requested.

“We simply haven’t seen anything like this in many, many years,” he said, adding that an area the size of the US state of Rhode Island had already burned within California.


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The Friendly Grizzly | August 24, 2020 at 1:12 pm

A family member of mine out there is talking about how this is due to global warming.

    2smartforlibs in reply to The Friendly Grizzly. | August 24, 2020 at 1:16 pm

    Notice how they have no answers just regurgitate the party line.

      Tom Servo in reply to 2smartforlibs. | August 24, 2020 at 2:04 pm

      And like there were never, ever, any fires before the last couple of years. It is just a completely new thing, imagine that.

      just imagine if the enviro’s had allowed undergrowth to be regularly cleared out.

      The Friendly Grizzly in reply to 2smartforlibs. | August 24, 2020 at 2:17 pm

      My best friend is a lefty, but can be talked with, and discussions can be held. The family member is what I call a “package” lefty. Trump is der führer, global warming, Covid we all need masks blah blah, “bankster”, etc. I just dont respond.

    “Global warming”? Is that a euphemism for the Communist takeover of the state of California?

    The streets of Portland, OR and other leftist-run cities are seeing quite a bit of that “warming” too.

    Seriously though, don’t you think California’s radical environmentalist policies contributed to the conditions making these devastating wildfires more likely?

I thought turning off the electrical grid and suing the power company was going to fix all this. Huh. Guess not.

2smartforlibs | August 24, 2020 at 1:14 pm

liberal utopia at work. Interesting how old these failing systems are because the left won’t allow updates

    henrybowman in reply to 2smartforlibs. | August 24, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Just like all those blue state COBOL-based unemployment compensation systems protected by job-security-minded government unions.

All forests burn. It’s part of the natural cycle. In fact, many types of trees depend on frequent low-level fires to kill insects in their bark and make their seeds germinate. When too much undergrowth is allowed to accumulate for too long, that allows the fires to become too hot so that they top out and kill the trees.

People cannot keep the forest from burning forever. In fact, when they try to keep it from burning, they allow too much undergrowth to accumulate, and the resulting huge fire kills the trees.

What people can do is to choose when the forest burns. Frequent controlled burns on calm days in the cool, moist season will control the undergrowth, kill bark insects, and stimulate the trees. If there are no controlled burns, then the undergrowth accumulates and everything eventually burns during the hot, dry summer with Santa Ana winds blowing.

In California and many other places, the clean air regulations make it nearly impossible to get permits for controlled burns. Also, the liability issues are huge. If the foresters do a controlled burn and one house catches fire, they’ll be sued and shut down.
But if a lightning strike causes a fire and 1,000 houses burn, it’s a problem for the insurance companies, not for the forest service. So that’s what usually happens.

Solutions? CA and other states need to make legal exceptions to their clean air provisions to allow more controlled burns. Insurance companies need to insure the forest services for any damage that occurs during their controlled burns. That will save the insurers from the cost of the many houses that won’t burn during the hot, dry fire season.

    Tom Servo in reply to OldProf2. | August 24, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    It’s like you’re saying that if you don’t allow controlled burns, you guarantee uncontrolled burns. Imagine that, what a concept.

    Cache in reply to OldProf2. | August 24, 2020 at 2:28 pm

    “Ours has become a largely reactive culture. We are disinclined to anticipate disaster, let alone prepare for it. We wait for things to happen, and then we assign blame.”

    Ted Koppel, Lights Out, Broadway Books, (2015) p. 14.

    CorkyAgain in reply to OldProf2. | August 24, 2020 at 4:12 pm

    But if a lightning strike causes a fire and 1,000 houses burn, it’s a problem for the insurance companies, not for the forest service.

    Not only the insurance companies, but also the taxpayers in the rest of the country who will end up paying the bill for the federal grants and other programs that come with the disaster declaration Pres. Trump just signed.

      henrybowman in reply to CorkyAgain. | August 24, 2020 at 5:10 pm

      Meanwhile, wildfires here in Arizona are going completely unaddressed due to California having sucked up all of the airborne fire services. Kind of a microcosm of the nation in general, isn’t it?

amatuerwrangler | August 24, 2020 at 1:51 pm

“…taking evacuation orders seriously..” re. Paradise fireof 2018: That fire blew up in the early AM and rolled through the town in record time. There were barely any evac orders, and little if any time to respond to them.

Evacuations should not be “mandatory”; that just insures that the looters will have an easier time of it. Advise people of the need to leave; send a deputy by to reiterate the advisement, coupled with the admonition that “remaining will expose them to injury or death and that no resources will be expended to rescue people who decide to stay. You are on your own.”

The left won’t let people keep their land free of fuel which doesn’t help. They do this “keep it natural but ignore their obsession with carbon footprint… Those maintenance fires do smoke up the air, but the air quality damage from thousands of acres burning unchecked is orders of magnitude greater. They don’t seem to see it.

Lightning storm last night in central Sierra but only little fires quickly stomped out. So far so good.

But yet again taxpayers across the nation are forced bail out Kalifornia for it’s virtue-signalling policy failures… ?

“California wildfires likely to spread.”

Wildfires and BLM Riots have a lot in common.

    n.n in reply to UserP. | August 24, 2020 at 6:41 pm

    Riots? Protests, in following established NYT et al style guidelines.

    BLM = Bureau of Land Management, perhaps, but their hands are tied by special and peculiar environmentalist and Green patron interests.


buckeyeminuteman | August 24, 2020 at 3:14 pm

Maybe I’m wrong. And maybe I’m a cynic ass. But, isn’t most of California dry? Aren’t fires a common thing there, people or no people? The area is prone to fires. Maybe don’t build your houses and your cities where they will eventually catch fire. I don’t really feel bad for these people. Same with people on the coast. Eventually, you’re going to get wiped out in a hurricane. You made that choice. Don’t expect my pity or my tax money to rebuild something that will eventually burn again.

Morning Sunshine | August 24, 2020 at 3:38 pm

I have a friend in the fires south of San Francisco. She is lucky; only her outbuildings burned, but her house is still there. She said that there was no help sent. They were given no official warning; they had had no power for 56 hours, so they had had no news, and the information to leave came from neighbor to neighbor; and there were no fire crews sent to her area until AFTER the fire was past.

    henrybowman in reply to Morning Sunshine. | August 24, 2020 at 5:14 pm

    “they had had no power for 56 hours, so they had had no news,”

    Someone introduce this bint to the latest electronic smart device: the transistor radio.

    There should be one in her car, too, no?

      henrybowman in reply to henrybowman. | August 25, 2020 at 3:16 pm

      I don’t understand the downvotes. Having a transistor radio on hand is not exactly pepper postgrad. Along with flashlights that are not your smartphone.

Imaging,, Forest Management.. (Like We have in the SENC).. No “Wildfires”..

Historic? Recurring.

How about arson? Possibly “terrorist” related (foreign or domestic), according to several people I know, from the inside. Also, it has NOTHING to do with “global warming”…that is just liberal BS. Fires are part of the natural history of the area. Poorly planned, Real estate development has gone on for the last few decades, selling house lots to people in these fire prone areas. The bad development policies and poor management of the forests in these areas…has contributed to these disasters. Follow the arson and money trails…and it is ripe to continue indefinitely….those that rebuild in these areas are just keep setting the stage for disaster!

NO MORE bail outs for bad public planning, policies and cover up of arson…which is only done to hide real causes from the public.