Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Climate Change and the Rim Fire

Rim Fire, Tuolumne County
Building off of yesterday's post on drought and water, a post on the fire that has captured the Nation's attention seems appropriate. But before I dive into what's happening with the Rim Fire, check out this 90 second overview from the folks at Climate Desk on why 2013 has been such a busy fire season:

Now that you're armed with a little background...the Rim Fire is a brush fueled fire started just outside of Yosemite National Park, and over the course of its 8 day life it has grown into the 7th largest in CA history having burnt 179,481 acres. One of the factors contributing to the conditions that are currently allowing the Rim Fire to thrive is the fact that last winter was among the driest on record for California creating the tinderbox conditions that provide a fertile environment for fire to spread. The fire is only 20% contained and its growth is threatening not only a key reservoir for San Francisco but also a power station that provides power to many in the bay area. The map below (courtesy of illustrates the rapid spreading and the serious threat it poses to the Hetch Hetchy reservoir which supplies roughly 2.6 Bay Area residents with water.

With costs approaching $20 million in the fight against this raging inferno, the fact that it's threatening infrastructure a major metropolitan area relies on, and it looks this serious from space, should be a wake up call to all of us that something is seriously wrong. This is not the first time this year that fires have posed a significant risk to life and property and if there are measures we can take, then we should start today.

Overview map of the fires currently burning in the US:
Courtesy of the US Forest Service

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