Northern California wildfires may have killed hundreds of giant sequoias as they swept through groves of the majestic monarchs in the Sierra Nevada, an official says.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Christy Brigham, head of resource management and science for Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks.
The lightning-caused KNP Complex that erupted on Sept. 9 in the park, Brigham said.
More than 2,000 firefighters were battling the blaze in sometimes treacherous terrain. On Wednesday afternoon, four people working on the fire were injured when a tree fell on them, the National Park Service reported.
The four were airlifted to hospitals and “while the injuries are serious, they are in stable condition,” the report said. It didn’t provide other details.
The KNP Complex was only 11% contained after burning 134 square miles of forest. Cooler weather has helped slow the flames and the area could see some slight rain on Friday, forecasters said.
The fire’s impact on giant sequoia groves was mixed. Most saw low- to medium-intensity fire behavior that the sequoias have evolved to survive, Brigham said.
However, it appeared that two groves – including one with 5,000 trees – were seared by high-intensity fire that can send up 100-foot flames capable of burning the canopies of the towering trees.
That leaves the monarchs at risk of going up “like a horrible Roman candle,” Brigham said.
Two burned trees fell in Giant Forest, which is home to about 2,000 sequoias, including the General Sherman Tree, which is considered the world’s largest by volume. However, the most notable trees survived and Brigham said the grove appeared to be mostly intact.
In one grove, Dickman counted 29 sequoias that were “just incinerated,” he told CNN.
“There were four of those that had burned so hot that they’d fallen over,” he said.
The 152-acre fire was 75% contained.
Imagine if Zuckerberg and the media spent as much energy and time covering the climate emergency, our planet, our dear Gaia, as they do the former president and hateful, divisive rhetoric. Imagine. Two senators, two, tied to fossil fuel and special interests, dark money, may proclude our ability to change this awful climate trajectory. Zero compassion for Earth and humanity’s future. They. Do. Not. Care. Only power, greed, self-interest. I live in Idaho. Our elected leaders do not represent their constituents, only the GOP and their lobbyists. They will do nothing. -dayle
“Then shall all the trees of the forest sing for joy before the Lord.
1 Chronicles 16:33
‘To make a prairie it takes a clover and one bee.’
“I used to think that environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are
and to deal with these, we need a cultural and spiritual transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”
-James Gustave Speth, environmental lawyer and advocate
Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.
World Resources Institute
Since 1989 David Suzuki has been calling for action and urgency.
“Transformational paradigm shift:
That respect for nature and interdependent with it must be our top priority.”
Nature was our touchstone and our reference pint and dictated the way we interacted with it. But as economics and politics have increasingly come to dominate our decisions and actions, we have lost our sinse of place in the world and our reverence for nature.
Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.
-Chief Seattle, 1854
“For the first time in a decade, more people left California last year for other states than arrived.”
- Climate scientist Zeke Hausfather said: “People who have lived in California for 30, 40 years are saying this is unprecedented, it has never been this hot, it has never been this smoky.”
California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), on Friday: “California, folks, is America — fast forward.” (ABC’s “This Week”)
San Francisco this past week.
[Photo: Nick Otto for The Washington Post, via Getty Images]
‘A line formed last Saturday outside a newly listed home for sale in Meridian—they had people lined up in the streets and in their cars all day. I was told by a neighbor that the house went under contract with four full-cash offers the same day.
The asking price: $540,000.
“Idaho dodged a bullet this year,” one climatologist said. “It’s hard to not expect that Idaho’s time will come soon.” Idaho is up there with California as the state in the lower 48 that has the most fire in general.”
Whether Idaho wildfires will prove to be as destructive and fatal as those in neighboring states remains to be seen, but experts say they’ll almost certainly burn more of our state than they have in years past.
Part of Idaho’s exploding wildfire problem is that we got a little too good at putting fires out. That created an excess of fuel, even in places like Idaho’s forests, which are less inclined to burn than the Great Basin that stretches into Southern Idaho.
“The warming and drying climate is basically exposing that legacy of fire suppression,” Abatzoglou said. “We often talk about these forests having a deficit of fire, and the warming and drying climate is making us pay that debt back.”
‘Officials and health experts urged residents to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary, keep doors and windows closed, and use fans and air conditioners to keep air circulating in their homes.’
Mask usage in the U.S. has landed at 45%.
A screaming, spreading wake-up call
All the biggest threats to America — most of them predicted, if not known, well in advance — are unfolding before our eyes, in real-time, in unmistakable ways, Axios CEO Jim VandeHei writes.
Why it matters: It’s as if God or the galaxy, or whatever you believe in, are screaming for politicians and the public to pop our bubbles and pay attention — and believe our eyes.
Misinformation: Every day brings new stories of other nations manipulating social media — and Americans refusing to believe scientists or experts about factual news, coronavirus prevention, global warming, vaccines and established truth.
Think about the number of educated people in your own life who share fake stories or believe B.S.
Racial reckoning: Protests in America are the biggest since 1968, after literally decades of warnings about needed policing and economic reforms.
Social media has illuminated the injustices, and exacerbated the anger.
Global warming: It’s nearly impossible to find a scientist who doesn’t agree that a warming planet has contributed to the wildfires destroying big slices of California, Oregon and Washington.
“Combined, the states have seen nearly five million acres consumed by fire — a land mass approaching the size of New Jersey,” the N.Y. Times reports.
The record-setting blazes have been “made worse, scientists say, by the climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil. Such disasters will only become worse as the planet continues to warm.”
Let this sink in: 18 of the warmest 19 years have occurred since 2001, according to NASA. We just experienced the warmest decade ever. And six of the biggest 20 fires in California historyare burning now.
A fast-rising China: Every year, China grows bigger and more powerful, most recently seizing control of Hong Kong and trying to buy allies at U.S. expense.
Xi Jinping said this week that China’s progress in fighting the virus, including reopening schools, has “fully demonstrated the clear superiority of Communist Party leadership and our socialist system.” (N.Y. Times) This is the message Beijing is spreading to other world leaders and their own people, as China seeks to displace America as the great global power.
The pandemic: Our response, infection rate and death count show in irrefutable terms that America, despite the best universities and innovators, is far from the top in controlling the coronavirus.
What’s next: The good news is that America still produces and attracts many of the world’s brightest minds.
Somehow, these minds need to reclaim a shared definition of truth, and help adapt our biggest institutions to combat fast-growing collisions of politics + technology/science + misinformation.
In Oregon, dozens are reported missing; officials prepare for ‘mass fatality incident’
Dr. Anthony Fauci/CNN & MSNBC:
Dr. Anthony Fauci said it could be the end of 2021 before life gets back to how it was before Covid-19.
“If you’re talking about getting back to a degree of normality which resembles where we were prior to Covid, it’s going to be well into 2021, maybe even towards the end of 2021,” Fauci said Friday.
A vaccine will help, but there are caveats, Fauci said in a series of interviews Friday.
A coronavirus vaccine by Election Day? Probably not. Here’s why
Fauci has said repeatedly that it’s possible at least one of the vaccines being tested could get emergency authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration by the end of this year or early next year. But it won’t be available to everyone immediately.
“By the time you mobilize the distribution of the vaccinations, and you get the majority, or more, of the population vaccinated and protected, that’s likely not going to happen to the mid or end of 2021,” he told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell.
One stumbling block — keeping the vaccines cold. Most of the experimental coronavirus vaccines must be kept frozen. Speaking during a Friends of the Global Fight webinar earlier on Friday, Fauci said, “One of the things that’s always an issue is the cold storage issue, and the ‘cold chain’ that is so often required.”
Plus, people are not always doing what they should do to control the spread of the virus, even now, Fauci said.
“When you’re dealing with a situation that requires behavioral change, we in the United States have a significant issue that I’m very disappointed in,” Fauci said during the webinar.
“It was stunning to me … that in some states and cities and counties, you would see television clips of people crowded indoors at bars, which is a superspreading event if you ever saw it.”
Young people may think they are not going to get dangerously ill, and get careless, Fauci said.
“But what they forget is their societal responsibility to not propagate the outbreak because if they get infected, they’re likely going to infect someone else who then might infect someone who really is vulnerable and will have a serious severe consequence.”
After record low flu season in Australia, US hopes for the same
And people are spreading misinformation, making the virus even harder to fight.
Fauci also cautioned that just because coronaviruses are in the spotlight, people should not forget the flu.
“The one thing I’ve learned throughout the years is don’t put anything past the flu — don’t take anything for granted.”
Flu Vaccine Finder