Current map of the Bobcat fire as of the time of posting. Yellow burned 12 hours ago, red is burning now. The lines are 20-30 mph winds from the southwest. They can reverse direction very quickly. To the south are Pasadena, Altadena, and several other cities. many are prepping for evacuation. Fire is zero percent contained. It has consumed most of the San Gabriel Wilderness area.
Once again California is on fire.
Already posted about the Lake Fire that burned about 20 miles north of us.
The LNU Lightning complex fire burned to within a few miles of my daughter’s home in Fairfield. There’s the CZU and SCU Lightning Fire Complex. Those 3 complexes (collections of lightning started fires that merged together) burned almost a million acres. About 2.2 million just this year. That’s a significant percentage of the state of California up in smoke.
Then there’s the Creek Fire which blocked an evacuation route and trapped a group of campers against Shaver Lake. A number of injuries including burns and broken bones were reported. Some were rescued by helicopter. Others escaped when the fire burned past the road and they were allowed out ten at a time. So far it has burned 160K acres.
Down by Yucaipa, the 7k acre El Dorado fire was started by a smoke bomb set off at a gender reveal party. (And they weren’t wearing masks either.) What doubly f*cking idiots!
This is a record-breaking fire season and it is far from over. All National Forests are closed for the duration. Fire season doesn’t end until the first major precipitation of winter. That used to be early November, then it moved to late November. Lately, it hasn’t been until late December.
So the climate appears to be changing. Nothing can stop that now. We could zero out carbon emissions tomorrow and it would still change for years before reversing. That ain’t gonna happen any time soon short of spectacular breakthroughs in energy production. Even then, the less developed portions of the world will continue to dominate carbon emission. We need to prepare for the inevitable consequences of climate change.
Calfornia needs to step up its firefighting game. We need to own our own super scoopers, not lease them from a company in Canada well after the fires have started. We need to proactively take out vast areas of pines killed by the bark beetle due to climate change stress. We need to get serious about water conservation and stop worrying about big lawns and public landscaping and golf courses. Time to make xeriscaping mandatory.
The increase in temperature and reduction in precipitation is our problem. I’m thinking that megalopoli in the desert aren’t an optimal solution to city placement and that farming reclaimed desert is not a great idea. LA and maybe Phoenix will need to shrink or truly vast international water projects will need to be built. Or huge nuclear desalination plants built.
The agricultural giants that are the San Joaquin Valley and the Imperial Valley may have to rethink how they do business. Agriculture is far and away the biggest user of water in the state.
I expect over the next few decades that Pines will surrender to Oaks and they in turn will surrender to either chaparral or dry grasslands. The chaparral will surrender to scrub and scrub will become desert. Now, we have 2 kinds of deserts out here, “high” desert, such as the Mojave, and “low” desert such as the Colorado. Low desert is hotter and drier. Will the high desert lose its Joshua trees only to be replaced by yuccas? Will the low desert turn into something akin to the Sahara? Who knows?
Every area that is burned will be repopulated by plants that are more tolerant of heat and aridity. That this will happen thru most of the state is inevitable. Some of that Jeffrey Pine forest may return as grey pine and some of that oak savannah may become just plain grassland. (We can hope it is grassland amenable to the California poppy. 🏵️) That’s just how nature works.