California fire prompts evacuations; Oregon blaze balloons

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  2 weeks ago  •  9 comments

By:   The Associated Press

California fire prompts evacuations; Oregon blaze balloons
A rapidly growing wildfire south of Lake Tahoe in California forced the evacuation of a mountain town and the cancellation of an extreme bike ride through the Sierra Nevada.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T



SAN FRANCISCO — A rapidly growing wildfire south of Lake Tahoe forced the evacuation of a mountain town and the cancellation of an extreme bike ride through the Sierra Nevada, leaving thousands of riders and spectators stranded Saturday and rushing to flee the area.

The Tamarack Fire, which was sparked by lightning on July 4, exploded overnight to about 10 square miles and was burning six miles south of Markleeville, a small town close to the California-Nevada state line. It has destroyed at least three structures, authorities said. A notice posted on the 103-mile Death Ride's website said several communities in the area had been evacuated and ordered all riders to also evacuate immediately.

Kelli Pennington and her family were camping near the town Friday so her husband could participate in his ninth ride when they were told to pack up and leave. They had been watching smoke develop over the course of the day, but were caught off guard by the fire's quick spread.

"It happened so fast," Pennington said. "We left our tents, hammock and some foods, but we got most of our things, shoved our two kids in the car and left."

1626476830021_nn_emc_western_wildfires_210716_1920x1080.jpg

Large wildfire scorches Oregon


Saturday's ride was supposed to mark the 40th anniversary of the Death Ride, which attracts thousands of cyclists each year to ride through three mountain passes in the so-called California Alps.

Afternoon winds blowing at 20 to 30 mph fanned the flames as they chewed through bone-dry timber and brush.

Meanwhile, the largest wildfire in the U.S. — burning in southern Oregon — grew significantly overnight as dry and windy conditions took hold in the area, but containment of the inferno more than tripled as firefighters began to gain more control along its western flank, authorities said Saturday. The fire was still burning rapidly and dangerously along its southern and eastern flanks, however, and authorities expanded evacuations in a largely rural area of lakes and wildlife refuges.

A red flag weather warning, signifying strong winds and hot, dry conditions, remained in effect through Saturday evening.

"This fire is large and moving so fast, every day it progresses 4 to 5 miles," said Incident Commander Joe Hassel. "One of the many challenges that our firefighters face every day is working in new country that can present new hazards all the time."

Extremely dry conditions and heat waves tied to climate change have swept the region, making wildfires harder to fight. Climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

In southern Oregon, fire crews have dealt with dangerous and extreme fire conditions, including massive "fire clouds" that rise up to 6 miles above the blaze. The Bootleg Fire has destroyed at least 67 homes and 117 outbuildings.

It has forced 2,000 people to evacuate and is threatening 5,000 buildings, including homes and smaller structures in a rural area just north of the California border. Containment of the fire more than tripled Saturday thanks to better conditions on the western edge of the fire that allowed crews to drop water and fire retardant on flames and secure fire breaks.

The National Weather Service warned of possible thunderstorms stretching from the California coast to northern Montana on Sunday and that "new lightning ignitions" are likely because of extremely dry fuels across the West.

Firefighters said in July they were facing conditions more typical of late summer or fall.

The Bootleg Fire grew to 439 square miles Saturday and was just one of numerous fires burning across the drought-stricken U.S. West, as new fires popped up or grew rapidly in Oregon and California.

There were 70 active large fires and complexes of multiple fires that have burned nearly 1,659 square miles in the U.S., the National Interagency Fire Center said. The U.S. Forest Service said at least 16 major fires were burning in the Pacific Northwest alone.

The Associated Press


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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  Kavika     2 weeks ago

I have friends, sons and daughters of friends that are wildfire fighters most have been positioned in Ore and CA. 

This is only going to get worse, firefighters are saying the Ore, Bootleg fire will not be out until Oct or Nov.

 
 
 
evilgenius
Professor Participates
1.1  evilgenius  replied to  Kavika @1    2 weeks ago

Also because of the quantity of fire and smoke the air quality over much of the north, including here where I live, is piss poor. It's been so bad that people with respiratory issues are being advised to stay indoors as much as possible. 

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Kavika   replied to  evilgenius @1.1    2 weeks ago

Northern MN is in a drought situation currently. The DNR declared that half of MN was in severe drought conditions. 

The three deadlist wildfires in US history took place in MN and WI. Two in MN, the Hinkley Fire and the Cloquet Fire the other in WI..

I've heard above the air quality there, EG. Not a good sign at all.

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Expert
1.2  1stwarrior  replied to  Kavika @1    2 weeks ago

Kavika - I managed a couple wildland fire teams while working for DoD in coordination with USFS/DOI, mostly in the South - Florida/Georgia/Ala/MS/etc.  

Each year, we would conduct our preventive methods of clearing underbrush, burns, replanting and rerouting of growth.  Our targets, primarily, were the Yellow pine forests which, when going, are more than a bitch to slow or stop.

Also, each year, at our annual conferences, we would advocate, strongly, that the West and NE start utilizing the prevention methods that the NATIVE AMERICANS used to reduce the potential for such devastation now being experienced by those to sections of the U.S.  Their excuse???  "We don't have the money to manage our crews/equipment/resources" - which is true.  The states, after years and years and years of facing wildland fires understand the need to support the wildland fire programs, but, the legislatures in those states place a very, very small amount of attention on the need/requirement for preventative forestry - until the "Big" one hits as they are doing now.

Hell, talk to the Hot Shot crews - they'll back it up 1000%.

Until that changes, the devastation will continue - and it ain't climate change - it's pizzpoor management - and that's a fact.

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.2.1  Kavika   replied to  1stwarrior @1.2    2 weeks ago

California is now starting to employ the methods used by NA's and have contacted various tribes to help in understanding and education. To date the management of forest has been piss poor.

and it ain't climate change

Going to disagree with that, the climate is changing as it's done for millions of years and humans have and are adding to the speed and increasing devastation of the change.

 
 
 
Snuffy
Junior Quiet
1.2.2  Snuffy  replied to  1stwarrior @1.2    2 weeks ago
The states, after years and years and years of facing wildland fires understand the need to support the wildland fire programs, but, the legislatures in those states place a very, very small amount of attention on the need/requirement for preventative forestry.

I believe it's more than just not paying attention to the needs. I feel they are very much aware of the problem but their bigger problem is what to do to get re-elected. And pissing off environmental groups who constantly fight in both legal courts and public courts of opinion over spotted owls or salmon is a larger problem for re-election than the burning down a third of a state. It's so much easier to just point to climate change and/or act of god for the fires.  Get in front of cameras to show your support for the hot-shot crews out on the fire line and you've shown your in front of the issue and a caring elected official,  so it's back to business as usual after that. Just keep kicking the can down the road because it's gonna impact your re-election chances, and if you don't win re-election it's still not an issue because now it's the problem for someone else.

Our politicians have long since forgotten that they work for us. 

 
 
 
Snuffy
Junior Quiet
1.2.3  Snuffy  replied to  Kavika @1.2.1    2 weeks ago
Going to disagree with that, the climate is changing as it's done for millions of years and humans have and are adding to the speed and increasing devastation of the change.

Yes, I agree with that.  The only constant standard for climate is that it is changing.  How much humans have added to the speed is always going to be debated, as much as how well or poorly we have handled forestry management. 

 
 
 
1stwarrior
Professor Expert
1.2.4  1stwarrior  replied to  Snuffy @1.2.2    2 weeks ago

That is really funny - in the South, there are a number of threatened/endangered species that have benefited expressly from the forestry management programs.  Example would be the Red-cockated woodpecker in the Florida panhandle that was almost on the verge of extinction.  They thrive on old growth yellow/pine.  When the management program was put in place in coordination with USFS, Georgia Paper and FL Power and Light, the habitat within 100 miles of our installation (Tyndall AFB) had 12 viable mating pairs.  Within five years, the population had grown to at least 100 mating pairs.

That's how it works.  Get rid of the trashy waste/dead/dying bushes, allowing only new growth of the natural habitat - and it'll thrive.

 
 
 
Greg Jones
Masters Expert
2  Greg Jones    2 weeks ago

 Extremely dry conditions and heat waves tied to climate change have swept the region, making wildfires harder to fight. Climate change has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.

There is no credible scientific evidence that this opinion is true. Just another uninformed non-scientist hack spreading the boilerplate lies of the Holy Church of Climate Change

 
 
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