Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Just Another Wildfire

It's not that I don't sympathize with Arizona. I do. Wildfires this massive are a genuine hell on earth. It's just that I've lived through worse.

Arizona's Wallow Fire has burned over 311,000 acres, destroyed 10 buildings, and as far as I can tell, killed no one. Their Horseshoe Two Fire had burned 104,000 acres and six buildings. Then there is the relatively tiny Murphy Fire, only 50,000 acres.
Arizona's Wallow Fire
Arizona also saw the Rodeo-Chediski Fire in 2002 burn 732 square miles.

In 2003, the Cedar Fire burned 273,000 acres through suburban San Diego. Thirteen people died, 2,232 home and 588 other buildings were destroyed as the wildfire burned Tierrasanta, Scripps Ranch, Poway, Alpine, Julian, and points in between. I remember the smoke being so thick you could look at the sun directly, at noon, without any protection, and see sunspots.
Two other fires raged at the same time (the Paradise and Otay Fires) that killed two and burned 222 homes. San Diego had huge firestorms in 2005 and 2007 as well. The summer of 2008 saw thousands of fires raging the length and breadth of California burning 1.5 million acres (2400 square miles), an area the size of the state of Delaware. There was a number of other fires in November of 2008. Add in the Station Fire north of Los Angeles in 2009 (160,000 acres).

Elsewhere in the US
Oregon had the Biscuit Fire in 2002 burn a half-million acres. Alaska had over 6.6 million acres (the size of Massachusetts) in 2004. Georgia/Florida had the Bugaboo Fire in 2007 total over 660,000 acres and be the largest wildfire in both state's histories. Utah, also 2007, had  their largest historic wildfire - Milford Flats Fire 360,000 acres.

And the World
Greece, in 2007 and again 2009, had massive wildfires rage across their small country. In Russia in 2010, fires burned large areas of the country. A killer heatwave in Russia has been blamed.
Russian forest fire, Aug. 2010
Australia seems to have annual bushfires that get worse and worse every year. In 2009 bushfires burns 1.1 million acres and killed 173 people. Bolivia, in 2010, had 25,000 fires swept across their country burning over 3.7 million acres (the size of Connecticut).

The point of this long rendition is that these many, growing wildfires are a natural effect of global climate change. They are really nothing special or newsworthy anymore. Like hurricanes in Florida and killer tornadoes in Kansas, fire is just another consequence of humanity being careless twits poisoning our only planet. Either choose to do something about it or stop whining.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Say, I know what we can do to deal with this problem: how about we cut taxes for rich people.