Anyone who lives in north California should know
how potentially hazardous the current fire situation is.
The one part of the story that hasn't been emphasized enough, is that the large fires burning in Trinity and Lake counties have occurred with low winds conditions, not what would normally be considered fire weather.
The very low moisture levels of both forest and Chaparral due to the drought mean that the current fires are behaving in an unprecedented fashion, for fires not fed by high winds.
Which suggests some pretty unpleasant possibilities for what could
happen if the late-season winds arrive, as expected.
Full audio interview at the link.
http://ww2.kqed.org/science/2015/08/11/ ... -scenario/
Cal Fire Chief’s Nightmare Scenario
It comes down to this: the next couple of months.
Lately Northern California has captured national headlines with fast-moving blazes such the Rocky and Jerusalem Fires in the coast ranges about 100 miles north of San Francisco.
Unlike many epic fires in the California record, which were largely driven by wind, in the fires burning north of the Bay Area, “There really is no signifcant wind,” says Cal Fire Director Ken Pimlott. “It’s all being driven by the condition of the vegetation.”
Which is to say, not merely dry, but four-year-drought dry. Pimlott says Cal Fire measures the potential burn intensity of vegetation throughout the state, and is currently seeing “record levels” of that metric, known as the Energy Release Component.
“It’s just creating explosive growth rates,” he says.
The Jerusalem Fire went from 100 to 5,000 acres almost overnight. But the worst may be yet to come.
As summer gives way to fall, the winds typically shift and dry winds from the east sweep across California, turning an already sizzling fire season into a potential blast furnace...
In this interview with KQED, Pimlott talks about fire behavior, busting budgets, boots on the ground, and his confidence in the state’s ability to confront an ever-expanding fire season.
We start with what crews on the fire lines are saying about these aggressive, fast-moving fires in the north state:
More links, Wildfire blog, incident map, Fed and State incident directories:http://wildfiretoday.com/http://www.geomac.gov/viewer/viewer.shtmlhttp://inciweb.nwcg.gov/unit/3/http://cdfdata.fire.ca.gov/incidents/incidents_current