New York Times, on California’s drought and its effect on wildfires

NY Time fire article
NY Times article article about California’s drought and the effect on wildfires. (click to enlarge)

The New York Times has a visually stunning article about the drought in California and its effect on wildfires. It was published about four days before record-setting rain in the south part of the state caused flooding and a bridge washout on a heavily-travelled Interstate Highway. This one rain event, however, will not turn around the drought, or have any lasting effect on the trees and brush that have already died due to lack of water.

The article was written by Haeyoun Park, Damien Cave, and Wilson Andrews. The photos are by Zackary Canepari. If you enjoy seeing awesome photos, especially of wildfires, check it out — preferably on a computer with a large monitor.

Thanks and a tip of the hat go out to Roy.

CAL FIRE says vegetation conditions are the worst on record

Redding, CA sunset CAL FIRE engines.
Sunset in Redding, California enhanced by smoke from the Eiler Fire, August 10, 2014. (Click to see a larger version.) Photo by Bill Gabbert.

Below is an excerpt from an article at Capital Public Radio:

…CAL FIRE says the timing of this year’s rains and four years of drought will combine to make fire conditions in 2015 the worst on record.

“We measure the fuel moisture content of all of the vegetation -the brush and the trees and we track that over the course of time and compare it month to month each year,” says Ken Pimlott, Director of CAL FIRE. “And we put it through formulas and determine how much energy and how much heat it will put out when it’s burning. And we have seen -we saw it last year and we will see it again this year- we’ll be reaching records for potential heat output for times of the year that would normally not be burning in those conditions.

CAL FIRE Director Ken Pimlott urged homeowners to clear space and conserve water.

“We don’t have water to water lawns and unnecessary landscaping. So, what that means is, is you need to  remove that vegetation as it dries. We don’t want your dry lawn and your dry brush to contribute to more of the fire hazard. So, stop watering your lawn and remove it.”

Thanks and a tip of the hat got out to Barbara.

Wildfire briefing, May 8, 2015

Fighting wildfires from the air — Is it cost effective?

An article at KCRA in Sacramento raises the question about the effectiveness of using aircraft to fight fires, and mentions a study being conducted that is collecting data that may help provide answers.

Firefighters on Coronado National Forest prepare for the fire season

Nogales International profiles two 10-person hand crews on the Nogales National Forest in Arizona, that when combined form the only 20-person crew on the Forest.

California drought kills 12 million trees

Below is an excerpt from an article in The Guardian:

An astonishing 12.5m trees have died in California, unable to survive a harsh fourth year of drought, according to a US government study. The news of the massive tree die-offs came this week, after the United States Forest Service, a Department of Agriculture agency, released the results of an aerial survey it undertook in April over 8.2m acres of forest. The survey was organized three months ahead of schedule.

“The special early season aerial survey was prompted by knowledge of the worsening drought situation and reports from field crews that copious amounts of new mortality had appeared after the regular survey was flown in July of 2014,” explained Jeffrey Moore, a biologist with the agency who was one of the surveyors on the expedition…

Another copy of the May 5 Drought Monitor that we posted earlier today:

Drought Monitor May 5, 2015