California Drought, Forest Fires And Greenhouse Gas Effects

As most of you probably know, California is in the 4th year of a massive drought…Rainfall has been negligible, even in the usual wet winter months and huge areas of California, especially in the Northern wooded areas and down South by LA have been severely affected….In today’s SF Chronicle for Monday, August 3 the front page headlines were “Lake County Fire Doubles.” Some 12,000 people had to be evacuated and 24 homes were burned to the ground….My family in Lake County just recently moved out, thank goodness and are out of harm’s way, at least for this particular disaster!

This personal brush with disaster has really increased my concerns about global warming as a whole, it is perhaps THE most significant issues of our day…I have spent time visiting Lake County many times over the last 5 years, so this recent fire really brought the issue home to me, converting it from an abstract concept to a visceral, emotional reaction of fear and concern…I live in San Francisco, and it is a city of stone and concrete and obviously safe from forest fires, but the ramifications of climate change will eventually impact us all…

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In Lake County, California alone, which is a small county, some 54,000 acres were scorched near Clear Lake, a popular fishing, boating, and camping recreational area….The power of the fire is awesome….According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection; “The fire….burned all night long at an explosive rate. Within a 5 hour period, this fire consumed 20, 000 acres…That’s a historic, unprecedented amount of acreage burned by a fire in such a short amount of time.”

“This fire is the biggest but only one of four forest fires burning in Northern California right now…Almost 2,000 firefighters set out with help from 19 helicopters, 56 bulldozers and four air tankers that drop water on the fire to get a handle on the blaze while other resources, including air support from the California National Guard, poured in from around the state….Spokesmen from the Forestry Department stated that “The grass, the brush, the trees-they are tinder dry….You add a little wind to it, and that’s allowing this fire to be explosive in size.”

“About 6300 more structures continued to be threatened while 12,00 people were impacted by mandatory and voluntary evacuation orders…Many nervous, frightened residents had to take shelter at nearby local high schools as they feared for their lives and worried about their property, their beloved pets and helpless livestock…

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Statewide, almost 9,000 firefighters are battling about two dozen major wildfires, mostly in Northern California…Jerry Brown, the Governor of California, declared a state of emergency Friday to free up additional fire fighting funds to help battle the blazes feeding on the state’s landscape that has been devastated by four years of drought”….At least one firefighter has died already….

We all know that forest fire are natures way of controlling it’s habitat, but this particular batch of forest fires are especially virulent and these deadly forest fores we are undergoing now are directly related to the emission of green house gasses, polluting the atmosphere….According to my Google sources, “On average, more than 100,000 wildfires, also called wild land fires or forest fires, clear 4 million to 5 million acres (1.6 million to 2 million hectares) of land in the U.S. every year.”

However, “In recent years, wildfires have burned up to 9 million acres (3.6 million hectares) of land. A wildfire moves at speeds of up to 14 miles an hour (23 kilometers an hour), consuming everything—trees, brush, homes, even humans—in its path. “Enormous fires pump a large amount of carbon dioxide quickly into the atmosphere,” “This can complicate efforts to understand our carbon budget and ultimately fight global warming.

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Carbon dioxide emissions from fires pose a significant challenge as policymakers focus on limiting greenhouse gases because of concerns over climate change. Fires are likely to become more frequent and widespread as temperatures warm around much of the globe, which means that more carbon dioxide may be released into the atmosphere. The fires could complicate efforts to rely on forests to help absorb carbon dioxide.”

A recent study shows that: “It found that over time, the planet is running a surplus of energy at the surface, causing global air and ocean temperatures to increase with a wide variety of mostly negative impacts…Before this study, scientists already knew that the energy balance was tilted in the direction of a growing surplus, but they lacked precise measurements at the surface. The researchers were also able to trace this energy surplus mainly to man made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases through the burning of fossil fuels.

The global average carbon dioxide concentration is close to 400 parts per million, up from 280 parts per million at the start of the industrial revolution. Carbon dioxide concentrations are now higher than they have been throughout all of human history, and they are increasing at a rate of about 2.1 parts per million per year, according to the study. Each spring, plants pulled more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, temporarily lowering amounts detected at each station, only to release more of the gas back into the air in the fall.

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Death Toll Passes 100 As Bushfires Sweep Through Victoria...CHRISTMAS HILLS, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 09:   Burnt out carsare seen following the bushfires that swept through the region on February 9, 2009 in Christmas Hills, Australia. Victoria Police have revised the bushfire disaster death toll to 131, the worst in Australia's history. (Photo by Lucas Dawson/Getty Images)fires29

So what happens when there are no more trees or plants left, such as these massive forest fires in California which are destroying acres upon acres of greenery, to convert the carbon dioxide back into oxygen? It is a simple, natural fact...Trees and plants, through photosynthesis, absorb carbon dioxide and convert it into oxygen for us to breathe… Without our trees and plants, we will all suffocate, humans, animals, even the greedy 1%…Nobody  is immune from nature’s wrath!

Unfortunately as the green house gas emissions continue to pollute the atmosphere and make the weather whack all over the world, (even the Pope agrees with this scientific fact!) the uber greedy 1% and their Republican shills and spin doctors in Congress continue to make excuses and shift the blame for these extremely aberrant world wide weather patterns to natural causes….This is of course a blatant lie, and the majority of governments across the world are trying to band together and limit, control and eventually ban green house gases permanently…

This is not theory, this is not even an issue open to debate or discussion anymore, greenhouse gas emissions MUST be severely curbed or stopped immediately or we will all of us, the human race, perish…And to think, we will have done it to ourselves through inaction, indifference, and ignoring the insane greed of the 1% to squeeze out a few more millions of dollars for themselves! Even the dinosaurs were not that stupid!

Just leave it like it is right now

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