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Author Topic: California is spontaneously combusting  (Read 1032 times)
Khaldun
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on: October 10, 2017, 08:13:32 PM

Well, here's a sad coda to this trip--if you stopped in Santa Rosa on your wine day in Sonoma, you may have been one of the last travellers to see it before it got badly damaged. Current word is that it may be very nearly destroyed on the northern side of the town.
Samwise
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Reply #1 on: October 11, 2017, 02:03:59 AM

Yeah, Northern California is pretty much a hellscape right now. 


"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
Signe
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Reply #2 on: October 11, 2017, 01:11:12 PM

So scary to watch.  Of course, this is the time that my bro in law picks to go to San Fran for work.   ACK!  Good (though scary) pic, Samwise, but tell me what I'm looking at.  Are those robots?

My Sig Image: hath rid itself of this mortal coil.
Samwise
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Reply #3 on: October 11, 2017, 01:30:00 PM

I mean, we all knew Google was gonna lead to Skynet eventually.

SF is fine apart from the smoke, but Santa Rosa and big chunks of wine country are just wrecked.  I think the death count is at 17 so far, lot of people have lost their homes, etc.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2017, 01:31:43 PM by Samwise »

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
pxib
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Reply #4 on: October 11, 2017, 09:33:15 PM

I think more than 1500 buildings destroyed? 70,000 kids out of school. Half the city without power.

Town where I grew up. Good times.

Then there are also major fires near five or six other mid-size cities threatened around the state so there's not enough fire equipment to fight it. The state is sharing the same dozen bombers and helicopters, and they're running out of pump trucks. I think FEMA is trying to coordinate national guard equipment from other states.

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Soln
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Reply #5 on: October 11, 2017, 10:00:48 PM

Has Nija checked in?  Need his hot take on FEMA and all that.
Chimpy
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Reply #6 on: October 11, 2017, 10:25:10 PM

Has Nija checked in?  Need his hot take on FEMA and all that.

I think he is basking in the glow of all the winning going on.

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
Trippy
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Reply #7 on: October 11, 2017, 11:10:56 PM

Driving around the Bay Area today felt like I was back in China with lights required during the day because of the thick fog-like haze around certain parts.
Samwise
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Reply #8 on: October 11, 2017, 11:29:33 PM

I split this since it (a) deserves its own thread and (b) doesn't need to pollute Slay's happy trip memories.

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
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Reply #9 on: October 11, 2017, 11:32:18 PM

If things get too hot there (hyuk hyuk hyuk), come help turn Texas blue.

But seriously, that fucking blows.
Velorath
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Reply #10 on: October 12, 2017, 01:21:57 AM

I picked a good time to take a job in Marin county (in San Rafael though so things are ok here aside from feeling like a pack-a-day smoker when I step outside).
calapine
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Reply #11 on: October 12, 2017, 07:58:41 AM


(click image for full size)

Dumb question: Is there anything California can do against wildfires? In the sense of damage mitigation or reducing occurrence? (I understand wild fires will always be there)
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 08:03:43 AM by calapine »

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01101010
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Reply #12 on: October 12, 2017, 08:12:57 AM

(click image for full size)

Dumb question: Is there anything California can do against wildfires? In the sense of damage mitigation or reducing occurrence? (I understand wild fires will always be there)

They tend to do controlled burns to clear dead brush which can limit the fuel to burn obviously, but when live trees are catching fire, I don't think there is a whole lot you can do at that point but pray for the winds to die down and rain to start. You know, as with every tragic event... thoughts and prayers.

or maybe not build and move to known fire zones (or hurricane coasts, or tornado alley, or flood plains, etc)
« Last Edit: October 12, 2017, 09:13:58 AM by 01101010 »

"I want to watch it all burn in an orgy of smashed Coke machines and weasel rape." - HaemishM
Khaldun
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Reply #13 on: October 12, 2017, 08:27:46 AM

Basically, California's entire ecology is meant to burn. Many chaparral plants don't germinate seeds unless they've burned some (many are also partially fire-resistant, so they don't turn to a crisp before they can spread the germinated seeds). But it's not like burning out too much accumulated forest floor waste in a semi-controlled way--burning scrub brush and chaparral in California doesn't provide all that much protection against a subsequent fire.

The reason the ecology is built that way is basically that California is naturally subject to periodic droughts (so sometimes things are going to be dry) and that you sometimes get fierce dry, hot winds that blow down out of the mountains in a westerly direction. One spark under those conditions and you have a wildfire that can't be contained easily, that you can't make firebreaks to stop.

People can do a few things to be less vulnerable--when I was a kid, people were still building up into areas with dense brush coverage and putting real wood shingles on the houses, which was pretty much the fire prevention equivalent of walking up to Jeffrey Dahmer and telling him that you're sure your kidneys are delicious. Some modest zoning to keep houses out of really dangerous fire zones, some requirement that homeowners clear out brush around their house out to a perimeter, a requirement of fire-retardant materials on roofs, that all helps. But when there's a 40-mile-an-hour hot westerly blowing and it's been dry recently, the only safe house would be one made of concrete and asbestos on an island in the middle of a large river. Maybe. There's really nothing to be done beyond a certain point: if people want to live in California, this is what they are living with.
Chimpy
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Reply #14 on: October 12, 2017, 08:33:36 AM

I have read that this year the fires are exceptionally bad in many areas because last winter was one of the wettest in decades followed quickly by hot/dry conditions so plants grew like mad from all the extra water and then dried out super quickly which added a lot of material ready to burn.

'Reality' is the only word in the language that should always be used in quotes.
kaid
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Reply #15 on: October 12, 2017, 09:12:33 AM

Basically, California's entire ecology is meant to burn. Many chaparral plants don't germinate seeds unless they've burned some (many are also partially fire-resistant, so they don't turn to a crisp before they can spread the germinated seeds). But it's not like burning out too much accumulated forest floor waste in a semi-controlled way--burning scrub brush and chaparral in California doesn't provide all that much protection against a subsequent fire.

The reason the ecology is built that way is basically that California is naturally subject to periodic droughts (so sometimes things are going to be dry) and that you sometimes get fierce dry, hot winds that blow down out of the mountains in a westerly direction. One spark under those conditions and you have a wildfire that can't be contained easily, that you can't make firebreaks to stop.

People can do a few things to be less vulnerable--when I was a kid, people were still building up into areas with dense brush coverage and putting real wood shingles on the houses, which was pretty much the fire prevention equivalent of walking up to Jeffrey Dahmer and telling him that you're sure your kidneys are delicious. Some modest zoning to keep houses out of really dangerous fire zones, some requirement that homeowners clear out brush around their house out to a perimeter, a requirement of fire-retardant materials on roofs, that all helps. But when there's a 40-mile-an-hour hot westerly blowing and it's been dry recently, the only safe house would be one made of concrete and asbestos on an island in the middle of a large river. Maybe. There's really nothing to be done beyond a certain point: if people want to live in California, this is what they are living with.



Kinda funny anecdote my friends out in cali have a small goat ranch. When they first moved in there was a ton of brush around their place and the fire marshals when they did their checkups always were saying they need to cut the brush back more. A couple years later and it is trimmed like a golf course due to some now well fed goats. Fire marshal came out when I was visiting and was looking around and his comment was everybody in these hills needs a goat herd like this one and there would be a lot less fire problems.
jgsugden
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Reply #16 on: October 12, 2017, 11:49:56 AM

We stop the small fires before they can do real damage - but that means there is more material to burn if we get a fire that is out of control.  That results in bigger fires in the end. 

http://www.fire.ca.gov/general/firemaps

If you zoom in on the map the burn zones show up for most of the fire zones.

I miss Good Eats.  *Sniff*
calapine
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Reply #17 on: October 12, 2017, 11:54:52 AM

Thanks Khaldun and No. 106!  Heart  Heart


A couple years later and it is trimmed like a golf course due to some now well fed goats. Fire marshal came out when I was visiting and was looking around and his comment was everybody in these hills needs a goat herd like this one and there would be a lot less fire problems.

F13 in 2020: "Californian GOATocalypse megathread"

(sorry!)

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Samwise
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Reply #18 on: October 12, 2017, 12:10:09 PM

I have read that this year the fires are exceptionally bad in many areas because last winter was one of the wettest in decades followed quickly by hot/dry conditions so plants grew like mad from all the extra water and then dried out super quickly which added a lot of material ready to burn.

This (same thing that produced all the fires further north).  Plus that freaky wind storm we had Sunday night -- 50mph winds, which is fairly unusual here, especially when it's warm and dry.  Perfect for fanning any spark into a quickly spreading wildfire. 

Another of the wonderful perks of climate change...

"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
Ironwood
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Reply #19 on: October 12, 2017, 12:30:34 PM

Chinese lies.

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Brolan
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Reply #20 on: October 12, 2017, 01:19:46 PM

I was vacationing there just back in June.  My wife and I were going through our pictures wondering if the places in them still existed.  Horrible.
01101010
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Reply #21 on: October 12, 2017, 01:48:18 PM

Haven't been back to Northern Cal since 1998. From the maps, looks like the fires are close to where I used to work in Napa.

"I want to watch it all burn in an orgy of smashed Coke machines and weasel rape." - HaemishM
Trippy
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Reply #22 on: October 12, 2017, 02:13:04 PM

Goumindong
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Reply #23 on: October 12, 2017, 03:25:34 PM

I have read that this year the fires are exceptionally bad in many areas because last winter was one of the wettest in decades followed quickly by hot/dry conditions so plants grew like mad from all the extra water and then dried out super quickly which added a lot of material ready to burn.

The brush did yes.

Additionally the recent dry weather in the past few years meant that larger trees were also dry. This is a perfect storm for fire season in the west. There have been a number of large fires in Washington and BC as well, though none close enough to cities to cause as much of an issue as they have in California and most are under control already.
Fraeg
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Reply #24 on: October 13, 2017, 01:19:42 AM

Ughhhh long fucking post that I hit back on ........

In short, live in area, multiple friends have had family evac, know people who have lost it all.  I used to work as a wildlands firefighter in NorCal etc.

here is an album full of pre and during fire pictures that I took Sunday afternoon before all hell broke loose and then again on Wednesday evening.  Most of them are facing west towards where everything has gone up in flames.  


https://imgur.com/gallery/T1b3Y

Sunday afternoon



Wednesday evening



MORDOR



Awesome sculpture outside of one of the wineries in the area... I imagine this bad boy will be just fine *edit* fire is nowhere close, but hey it looks cool why so serious?



*edit* less eye bleeding
« Last Edit: October 13, 2017, 06:35:30 PM by Fraeg »

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Samwise
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Reply #25 on: October 16, 2017, 05:42:12 PM

Fires still burning after one week but are starting to get brought under control thanks to 11,000 firefighters working on containment.  Possible rain forecast for later in the week, which would help a lot.

Current tally is 41 confirmed dead, 200 missing, about $3B in damage.


"Nice attempted blast about my "drinking".  I do enjoy a nice cuppa, but that is because I am a bon vivant of gregarious nature and cheery disposition." - Ab
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