California wildfires growing bigger, moving faster than ever

2020-09-10 8:37:00 AM

California wildfires growing bigger, moving faster than ever

California, California Wildfire

California wildfires growing bigger, moving faster than ever

The current California wildfires are only the latest examples of what a half-dozen fire experts agreed is more extreme fire behaviour driven by drought and warming temperatures they attribute to climate change .

SHAREOn Wednesday, a wildfire in Plumas National Forest northeast of San Francisco spread 25 miles in a day and devoured an estimated 400 square miles (1,036 square kilometres),Recently "we have seen multiple fires expand by tens of thousands of acres in a matter of hours, and 30 years or more ago that just wasn't fire behaviour that we saw," said Jacob Bendix, a professor of geography and the environment at Syracuse University who studies wildfires.

"They were rare events, and now they've become commonplace," he said. "It's because these fires are higher intensity."The phenomenon isn't restricted to California. Doug Grafe, chief of Fire Protection at the Oregon Department of Forestry, said it was unprecedented in his state for fires to spread from the crest of the Cascade Mountains into the valleys below, and so quickly, "carrying tens of miles in one period of an afternoon and not slowing down in the evening -- (there is) absolutely no context for that in this environment."

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MIGHT AS WELL DECREASE FIREMEN PAY SEEMS THEY NOT NO HOW TO DO THEIR JOB WHEN C PIX OR VIDEO THEY JUS WALKING AROUND OR JUS STANDING. SO SAD This is so horrific, sad and scary. 🥺🙏🏻 😞 Damn I thought that was just another peaceful protest. genuinely scary

Woman Who Made Gender-Reveal Parties A Thing: Stop These 'Stupid Parties''For the love of God, stop burning things down to tell everyone about your kid's penis,' wrote Jenna Karvunidis. 😱😱😱

Wildfires rage in California, stoked by extreme heat in U.S. WestOfficials in Madera County issued evacuation orders and urged the county’s 157,000 residents to leave if they felt unsafe.

Gusty winds pose continued wildfire threats in CaliforniaWildfires raged unchecked throughout California Wednesday, and gusty winds could drive flames into new ferocity, authorities warned. :( this is heart breaking

Contact Published Thursday, September 10, 2020 1:36AM EDT Flames lick above vehicles on Highway 162 as the Bear Fire burns in Oroville, Calif.was ignited during one such event over the weekend: “Stop having these stupid parties.This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below.Diablo winds in the north and Santa Ana winds in the south were forecast into Wednesday at a time when existing wildfires already have grown explosively.

, on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. It remained only 7% contained on Monday evening amid extreme weather conditions. The blaze, part of the lightning-sparked North Complex, expanded at a critical rate of spread as winds buffeted the region. “If you’re trying to get out of an evacuation area please call 911 for help. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) SHARE SACRAMENTO, CALIF. (It’s not yet clear what color it was in this instance). -- When it comes to California wildfires, it now takes days, not decades, to produce what had been seen as a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. In the past two days, helicopters were used to rescue hundreds of people stranded in the burning Sierra National Forest, where the Creek Fire has destroyed 365 buildings, including at least 45 homes, and 5,000 structures were threatened, fire officials said.

Last weekend, a fire burning in California's Sierra National Forest exploded in size, trapping hundreds of Labor Day holiday campers who could only be rescued by helicopters that made a series of white-knuckle flights into the smoke. Stop having these stupid parties. The outages will impact 172,000 customers in 22 counties, mostly in the Sierra Foothills, PG&E said, adding the shut off was a safety measure due to the extreme high and dry winds. Fire officials said they'd never seen a fire move so fast in forestland -- 15 miles in a day. On Wednesday, a wildfire in Plumas National Forest northeast of San Francisco spread 25 miles in a day and devoured an estimated 400 square miles (1,036 square kilometres), In between those events, a massive fire in Monterey County doubled in size overnight, trapping 14 firefighters who had to deploy their emergency shelters; one was critically injured. “No one cares but you. They are only the latest examples of what a half-dozen fire experts agreed is more extreme fire behaviour driven by drought and warming temperatures they attribute to climate change. Video shared on social media showed firefighters dousing the flames, the air thick with ash and fire embers. Among the most concerning developments is that fast-moving wildfires leave less time for warnings or evacuations. She didn’t call it that at the time, though. "The combination of gusty winds, very dry air, and dry vegetation will create critical fire danger," the National Weather Service warned.

Recently "we have seen multiple fires expand by tens of thousands of acres in a matter of hours, and 30 years or more ago that just wasn't fire behaviour that we saw," said Jacob Bendix, a professor of geography and the environment at Syracuse University who studies wildfires. Hotter temperatures, longer fire seasons and an estimated 140 million dead trees from a five-year drought mean that "fires in California are moving faster and growing larger," said University of Utah fire expert Philip Dennison. “I was just  trying to get my family more involved and excited as my sister-in-law just had a baby,” she said. Mike Flannigan, who directs the Western Partnership for Wildland Fire Science at Canada's University of Alberta, remembers the first report of a fire-created thunderstorm in 1986. "They were rare events, and now they've become commonplace," he said. Karvunidis said in the following years, she noticed the events became more prevalent. "It's because these fires are higher intensity. Two of the three largest blazes in state history are burning in the San Francisco Bay Area, though they are largely contained after burning three weeks.

" A prime example is the Creek Fire, which exploded through miles of drought- and beetle-killed timber, moving so fast that it trapped hundreds of campers in Sierra National Forest south of Yosemite National Park. “Who cares what gender the baby is? I did at the time because we didn’t live in 2019 and didn’t know what we know now ― that assigning focus on gender at birth leaves out so much of their potential and talents,” she wrote on Facebook at the time. "When you have a fire run 15 miles in one day, in one afternoon, there's no model that can predict that," U.S.  In more recent years, gender-reveal events have moved from simple balloon pops, confetti and cakes to more dramatic reveals ― sometimes with dangerous results. Forest Service forester Steve Lohr said. ""The fires are behaving in such a way that we've not seen. The threat of winds tearing down power lines or hurling debris into them and sparking a wildfire prompted Pacific Gas & Electric, the state's largest utility, to shut off power to 172,000 customers over the weekend.

" The phenomenon isn't restricted to California. Doug Grafe, chief of Fire Protection at the Oregon Department of Forestry, said it was unprecedented in his state for fires to spread from the crest of the Cascade Mountains into the valleys below, and so quickly, "carrying tens of miles in one period of an afternoon and not slowing down in the evening -- (there is) absolutely no context for that in this environment." California already has seen a record 2.5 million acres burn and it's only now is entering what traditionally is the most dangerous time for fires. Labor Day weekend brought record-breaking temperatures across the state that exacerbated what already are drought conditions in a large swath of the state. "It was probably the one time you're excited to hear a helicopter," Mueller said.

University of Colorado-Boulder professor Jennifer Balch said measurements of how quickly the hot, dry air is sucking moisture out of fuels are "the highest seen in at least four decades" across major parts of the West. The abundant dry tinder produces more heat energy, which in turn super-heats the air so it becomes more buoyant and creates a strong updraft that condenses with the smoke plume, "creating its own wind to feed that thunderstorm," Flannigan said. The cloud itself is called a pyro-cumulonimbus, which may or may not produce lightning, and strong winds that can pick up burning embers and ignite new fires far in front of the initial blaze. An extreme example in July 2018 spun off what was then only the second documented "firenado," killing a firefighter as he helped evacuate residents from the Carr Fire in the Northern California city of Redding. Yet just this month a fire north of Lake Tahoe spun off at least two and as many as four firenadoes, while the Plumas National Forest fire appears to have produced "a handful" overnight Tuesday, said Neil Lareau, a professor of atmospheric science at the University of Nevada, Reno." Numerous studies in recent years have linked bigger wildfires in America to global warming from the burning of coal, oil and gas, especially because climate change has made California much drier.

The Creek Fire produced at least two firenadoes that appeared to touch down Saturday, he said, one straddling an access road to a popular campground at Mammoth Pool Reservoir where 214 people became trapped. "It's really kind of a testament to the remarkable extremes that we're seeing right now," Lareau said. "It really is kind of this vicious cycle that it gets into, and that's when the fire really takes off and becomes these unstoppable infernos." Two California National Guard helicopters called in to rescue the trapped campers Saturday night found visibility deteriorating so swiftly that the crews opted to load their aircraft "to the absolute maximum" and well beyond normal safety limits in an unprecedented mission. On one trip, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Joseph Rosamond and his three-member crew took on 102 desperate campers in a CH-47 Chinook twin-rotor helicopter designed for 30 passengers. Related Stories.

A UH-60 Black Hawk ferried 22 evacuees in a helicopter with a normal operating capacity of 11 or 12 passengers. The overloaded Chinook slowly climbed to 8,000 feet to clear surrounding mountains and dense smoke. "It was an absolute emergency and people's lives were at stake," Rosamond recalled. "It was pretty dicey. The charts don't go that high.

" Such harrowing escapes are only likely to become more common, the experts said. Columbia University's Williams said California's record heat and record acreage burned already this year are part of a trend that has been accelerating for 50 years due to global warming. "So, while the magnitudes of the current heat wave and the resultant wildfires have been shocking, they're consistent with what scientists have been predicting for decades," Williams said in an email. RELATED IMAGES view larger image This satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) at 15:31 UTC (7:31 a.m.

PDT) on Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, shows brown smoke from wildfires blowing westward, from California's Sierra Nevada to the Coast Ranges, at center to left, and from Oregon at top left, affecting air quality throughout the West. (NOAA via AP) Related Stories .