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Old 2020-09-01, 20:10   #4038
ewmayer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kriesel View Post
California hasn't burned enough. For about a century. https://www.propublica.org/article/t...anybody-listen
Good article, esp. w.r.to the DoD-style private-contracting business model and the attendant perverse financial incentives. And our governor much prefers speechifying about these things - much as he did with "holding PG&E to account" - than actually doing anything that might upset his big-$ donors, which include - ta da! - the likes of PG&E, and in the case of the wildfires also the real estate lobby, which has been promoting the idea of getting back to nature and building wood-structure dream-home in the back country for decades. The news media dutifully trot out stats about acres-burned, %-containment, and in almost every case now, structures threatened/destroyed.

Fri-Mon in my Marin county neck of the woods were a nightmare, visibility under a mile, under a pall of dense fog, but not of water-vapor but of acrid woodsmoke, which seeps into everything. Today still smoke-smelly but wind shift overnight moved the main smoke plume over some other poor suckers.
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Old 2020-09-01, 23:43   #4039
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I recall hearing a lot about the policy of suppressing all fires -- and what folly it was -- during the Yellowstone Park fires of 1988. The policy had been adopted after the "blow-up of 1910." I remember seeing and smelling the thick smoky haze from the Yellowstone fires and seeing the blood-red full moon during August that year, when there was an eclipse of the moon. It wasn't the eclipse that turned the moon red -- that only happens during totality, and that eclipse was only partial. Besides, the moon looked red the previous night and the next night, too.

The fires were near the Wyoming-Montana border. I was in the Detroit area.

Even by then, Interior had adopted a "let it burn" policy for fires that didn't threaten lives or property.

For fires in mountainous area, there is an eerie phenomenon of intense rain seemingly targeting the burned area, causing another terrifying phenomenon, the "debris flow." I read about this in the John McPhee book The Control of Nature, in the section Los Angeles against the Mountains, which was first published in the September 26, 1988 issue of The New Yorker.

Rains inundated the Waldo Canyon Fire burn area in 2013, a year after the fire. Manitou Springs was clobbered by a debris flow out of Williams Canyon, and had other flooding problems due to the previous year's fire. There was video of a black geyser erupting from the street. It may still be on YouTube.
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Old 2020-09-02, 14:56   #4040
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As an alternative energy involved engineer from way back, I can't help but wonder how things might be different if the forest floor fuel were strategically gathered up for use in power plants, cofiring with fossil fuel in a well chosen ratio. (As a local ancient power plant was modified to do for decades.) Reducing drawdown of fossil fuels, and creating firestop lanes.

All that forest floor litter is going to produce CO2 one way or another. If left to decompose it will also produce a lot of atmospheric methane, which is far more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. If burned off in a wildfire, forest fuel will produce a rapid pulse of CO2 and soot and other carcinogens. Better to run it through controlled combustion that's less dirty and can actually have pollution controls applied.

Last fiddled with by kriesel on 2020-09-02 at 14:58
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Old 2020-09-02, 18:22   #4041
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr Sardonicus View Post
I recall hearing a lot about the policy of suppressing all fires -- and what folly it was -- during the Yellowstone Park fires of 1988.
Take a listen to thos episode of 99% Invisible
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Old 2020-09-02, 21:36   #4042
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ewmayer View Post
Fri-Mon in my Marin county neck of the woods were a nightmare, visibility under a mile, under a pall of dense fog, but not of water-vapor but of acrid woodsmoke, which seeps into everything. Today still smoke-smelly but wind shift overnight moved the main smoke plume over some other poor suckers.
Said slight-relief-bringing wind shift lasted only a few hours, hills 1-2mi west of me again vanished behind a curtain of smoke by around noon, more or less the same since then. Despite rising containment numbers on the big fires - most now over 60% - today is day 5 of utterly toxic outside air. What a year.
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Old 2020-09-04, 23:38   #4043
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Old 2020-09-05, 14:59   #4044
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Old 2020-09-10, 11:35   #4045
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Old 2020-09-12, 12:54   #4046
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followup story on the Beirut port blast, with some impressive photos and graphics https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...explosion.html
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Old 2020-09-13, 22:16   #4047
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kriesel View Post
followup story on the Beirut port blast, with some impressive photos and graphics https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...explosion.html
Hmmm, I was a cadet aboard an American flag cargo ship in 1974 that docked on the south side of the basin just to the west of the explosion. Timing is everything....
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Old 2020-09-15, 13:16   #4048
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A man here in the Netherlands was prosecuted for driving under the influence of alcohol, but has now been acquitted after proving that he suffers from auto-brewery syndrome.
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