Monday, August 17, 2015

CALIFORNIA - The Wild Fires

"Why California’s fires are burning longer and harder" PBS NewsHour 8/13/2015


SUMMARY:  High temperatures, unpredictable winds and extremely dry conditions caused by the relentless drought have made managing this summer's blazes particularly challenging and unpredictable in California.  The NewsHour's Cat Wise reports from Lake County, one of the state's hardest hit areas.

WOMAN:  Is there a fire by you?  Someone just called one in.  And they said they’re seeing flames and black smoke.

CAT WISE (NewsHour):  Rancher Lonne Sloan is keeping a close eye on the horizon these days.  For the past week, Sloan and her husband, Larry, have been on the front lines of wildfires raging across California.  Their 340-acre ranch, near the town of Lower Lake, went up in flames last Wednesday during one of the state’s biggest fires so far this year called the Rocky Fire.

WOMAN:  This was our equipment shed.  And the fire started over the hill.

CAT WISE:  The Sloans, who managed to save their home with the help of nearby fire crews, estimate they lost about $150,000 worth of equipment, most of it uninsured.

WOMAN:  And this was my horse trailer that is melted.  I compete professionally in parades.

CAT WISE:  Their property, like so many in the area, is now a moonscape totally devoid of any vegetation, a sign of the intensity of the blaze that went through here.

The Rocky Fire began July 29 and burned nearly 70,000 acres and 43 homes.  It’s now almost fully contained.  But on Sunday, a new wildfire, called the Jerusalem Fire, broke out nearby and quickly began spreading.  It’s now about 30 percent contained, and has burned more than 20,000 acres.

The fires are burning in hilly terrain with heavy brush known as chaparral.  High temperatures, unpredictable winds, and extremely dry conditions in the area have been a bad mix for firefighters.

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