One of the most striking signs of climate science denial is what you read on denier blogs during major events. Or rather, what you don't read. Anthony Watts lives in Chico California. In his home state at the moment, all you will read about, and if what we experience in Australia is any indication, all you'll see on television and hear on the radio are reports of the devastating fires. But not on the "most read" climate conspiracy blog in California, WUWT. Not a word.
Visit the website of the LA Times and read the stories, made all the more heartbreaking by the matter of fact manner in which the reports are written.
Living in a state that is also one of the worst in the world for wildfire (we call them bushfires), I can relate only too well.
My heart goes out to the people caught up in the Valley Fire and the Butte Fire in California. The latest reports from the LA Times are brutal:
Valley fire (as of 6:30 a.m.)
- 61,000 acres burned
- 5% contained
- 13,000 people displaced
- 400 structures destroyed
- 1,255 fire workers
- 4 injured firefighters
- 1 confirmed death
- 71,063 acres burned
- 30% contained
- 10,000 people displaced
- 6,400 structures threatened
- 35 homes, 79 outbuildings destroyed; 4 structures damaged
- 4,409 fire workers
- More than 6,000 homes evacuated
With warming, it's not just the area burnt, it's the ferocity of fires. And the difficulties of fighting them. In some cases, the firefighting aircraft can't fly because of cloud and smoke cover. It's difficult for the firefighters to know exactly what is burning where. It's easy to forget that if you stay to protect your property, the water might not flow. Or a fireball will erupt. Shallow dams are no protection in a fierce firestorm. And if you change your mind and decide to leave because the fire is too big and fast and fierce, the road might be blocked by fallen trees. All these things happened here, too, a few short years ago. People don't know if they've a home to go back to or not, and too many don't.
And don't forget how hard it is to breathe when there's thick smoke all around. It gets in your eyes and your lungs. (Every fire plan pack should have face masks, proper ones, as well as water and protective clothing (cotton and wool, not flammable plasticky stuff, and decent boots)).
Have your fire plan ready, leave early and be safe, people. Fire is deadly.