Colorado wildfire debris washed into rivers, causing the water to run black. The fires destroyed over 250 homes and 84,000 acres (84k acres = about 6 Manhattans).
Posts tagged wildfire.
More tangible examples of climate impacts.
Western Fires Kill Thousands of Cattle
Across the West, major wildfires are wreaking havoc this summer on the region’s economically fragile livestock industry. In areas such as remote Powder River County, Mont., ranchers says they could be grappling with the devastation for years to come.
Hay is in short supply. Hundreds of miles of fence and numerous corrals and water tanks must be rebuilt. Thousands of head of displaced livestock are being shipped to temporary pastures. Similar scenes are playing out in Oregon, New Mexico, Colorado, Wyoming and Idaho. Including Montana, the value of the six states’ cattle industries approaches $9 billion annually.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news-Western-Fires-Kill-Hundreds-of-Cattle-072712.aspx
“The root of America’s wildfire crisis goes back a century, to the “Big Blowup” of 1910, which burned 3 million acres in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana and Idaho. After the Big Blowup, American philosopher William James wrote of extinguishing wildfires as “The Moral Equivalent of War,” suggesting that American youth be conscripted into an “army enlisted against nature.” The U.S. Forest Service complied, eventually implementing an “out by 10 a.m.” policy toward all wildland fires. But in snuffing out every wildfire, managers interrupted one of the forest’s most important processes for maintaining its own health — the regular, small fires that clear out dead timber and fire-prone vegetation from woodlands. In some forests, this suppression of the natural fire cycle effectively stockpiled a century’s worth of fuel, creating explosive forests prone to burn big, fast, and hot. We’re seeing the results right now in Colorado and across the West.
Homebuilding at the edge of the forest has also exploded in recent decades, providing wildfires with new and volatile ignition sources. Census data I analyzed with the I-News Network showed that between 2000 and 2010, more than 100,000 people moved into Colorado’s most flammable forests, as marked on the state’s “red zone” map.
But the greatest impact on the most recent wildfires may well be the changing climate. “What we’re seeing really is a window into what global warming really looks like,” said Princeton University geosciences professor Michael Oppenheimer during a conference call with reporters in the days after the Colorado firestorms. “It looks like heat. It looks like fires.”
And it looks like drought. By June, Colorado’s mountains had just two percent of their normal snowpack for that time of year; with snow, streams, and forests drying up early, fires ignite weeks or months earlier.”
Solid story by a former Colorado forest wildfire firefighter at On Earth
Even among once-skeptical firefighters and usually cautious scientists, there’s little doubt anymore: poor forest management and rapid development primed the West for epic fires, but global warming lit the fuse, and this devastating season has been the result. Kicking off an occasional series, former forest firefighter Michael Kodas looks at the confluence of factors that sparked record-breaking blazes across his state of Colorado, while journalist Dick Manning, a long-time chronicler of wildfires in Montana, laments our lack of preparation, even though we’ve seen this disaster coming for decades.
Wildfires in Eastern Oregon kill hundreds (perhaps thousands) of cattle, burns hundreds acres of prime land.
Quick read at only four pages. Can’t tell if the models include bark beetle infestations.
2010 fire-climate paper shows strong East-West difference in fire trends in 21st Century. (West burns.) Temperature to become prime driver of fire. Abstract:
Recent bursts in the incidence of large wildfires worldwide have raised concerns about the influence climate change and humans might have on future fire activity. Comparatively little is known, however, about the relative importance of these factors in shaping global fire history. Here we use fire and climate modeling, com- bined with land cover and population estimates, to gain a better understanding of the forces driving global fire trends. Our model successfully reproduces global fire activity record over the last millennium and reveals distinct regimes in global fire behavior. We find that during the preindustrial period, the global fire regime was strongly driven by precipitation (rather than temperature), shifting to an anthropogenic-driven regime with the Industrial Revolution. Our future projections indicate an impending shift to a temperature-driven global fire regime in the 21st century, creating an unprecedentedly fire-prone environment. These results suggest a possibility that in the future climate will play a consider- ably stronger role in driving global fire trends, outweighing direct human influence on fire (both ignition and suppression), a reversal from the situation during the last two centuries.
NASA/GISS O. Pechony1 and D. T. Shindell
The Falmouth Beach Resort Hotel, a Best Western hotel, on Gyllynvase Beach in Falmouth, Cornwall. Started burning around midday on Monday 30th April 2012. All Residents, Guests and Staff were evacuated safely. With the weather in Falmouth today the Emergency Services have been having a hard time trying to control the blaze. They are expecting the roof to collapse after structural damage. The fire is thought to have been caused by building work on the roof.
Colorado Republican *defeats* additional fire protection funds as 6 simultaneous, unprecedented wildfires threaten tens of thousands of residents. Why? ›
“U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., under pressure from his Republican colleagues, changed his vote on a fire-prevention measure at the last minute.
The congressman’s change of heart helped kill Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s amendment that would have dedicated more federal resources to fire prevention, especially in areas impacted by pine beetle infestation; required National Park System stores to retail only products made in America; and made sure a GOP lands package honored sovereignty agreements with Native American tribes.”
Click through. Stunning photographs of recent wildfires in the southwest.
The sky turns a brilliant orange as smoke from the High Park Fire fills the sky near Laporte, Colorado, on June 10, 2012.
See more. [Image: Reuters]
Bruce Finley of the Denver Post covers the toxic side of fighting wildfires. Great article, tightly written with a solid presentation of the facts. Praise be, good journalism lives!
With retardant’s potential threat to wildlife and water, authorities ponder limiting its use
The hundreds of thousands of gallons of red slurry that air tankers are dropping on Colorado forests to shield mountain houses from wildfires has a downside: It is toxic. Laced with ammonia and nitrates, it has the potential to kill fish and taint water supplies.
BREAKING: The raging High Park fire has jumped the Poudre River at Stevens Gulch and is racing up a drainage toward the Glacier View Meadows neighborhood.
At 5:15 p.m., Larimer County issued an immediate evacuation order for the Glacier View Meadows neighborhood.
The High Park fire has now burned more than 52,000 acres northwest of Fort Collins, fire managers said. (Photo by Karl Gehring, The Denver Post)
Wildfire season is well underway. Based on the number of acres burned in 2012 to date, this year is running below the 10-year average (1,012,419 acres compared to 1,546,333 acres). What’s notable though is that although there have been fewer fires (24,062 this year-to-date versus 33,755 for the 10-year average), a few are giant beasts.
Decent, but sparse, article connecting wildfire to climate change.
It’s a simple concept - the triangle of fire. Oxygen, fuel and heat are the corners: remove one, I was taught in school, and you stop the fire. So, it follows that if you increase these essential ingredients there will be more fires - and with climate change models predicting hotter, drier weather for some regions, the models are also predicting more wildfires.
In this photo, a Sikorsky S-64 Aircrane firefighting helicopter drops water on a hotspot burning close to homes near Horsetooth Reservoir in northern Colorado. Residents near the fire in High Park have been evacuated from their homes as fire services attempt to bring a wildfire under control. Lightning sparked the blaze, says the US Forest Service who also report that this is the one of the largest fires in Colorado history burning 17,500 hectares so far.
Another wildfire, this time in Colorado near Denver.
A northern Colorado wildfire 60 miles away wrapped Denver in a pungent cloud of smoke for several hours Tuesday and complicated the aerial offensive against the spreading mountain blaze, which has killed one person and destroyed more than 100 structures.
Image: Bob Pearson / EPA
Breaking: Lockheed P2V Tanker plane crashed while fighting the nation’s largest wildfire in the Gila Mountains New Mexico. Quick facts:
- Two crew dead
- Started by lightning
- Major drought and gusty windy conditions
- 240,000 acres burned. Expected to burn for up to two more months.
- 1,200 firefighters currently fighting the fire
- New Mexico’s largest wildfire in history
- Nation’s largest wildfire in 2012, possibly this decade.
- Status: 17% contained
- Location: Gila National Forest