Friday, March 6, 2015

Enought Snow and Ice talk Lets Talk Wildfires!

But Wait! One last word for now. I know many of you really enjoy the white covered countryside we have seen since February14 and while the snow brings about a certain calmness and beauty it also bring with it challenges and dangers. I hope all of you have and are doing well and staying safe...

For those who must be on the roads:
     Delay trips at least until the afternoon, if possible.
     Use extreme caution, increase following distance and do not brake quickly. Many vehicles have been observed traveling at dangerous speeds for road conditions.
     Roads that appear clear are likely to have many locations covered with black ice.
     Clean all snow from mirrors and your vehicle.
     Watch carefully for pedestrians walking alongside roadways.

Now for the fires!

Wildfires eat up Forest Service budget, hampering prevention

The cost of fighting wildfires in California and in the western United States has skyrocketed, hampering efforts by the U.S. Forest Service to implement fire prevention and forest management programs, the country’s top natural resources official said Wednesday.
Fire suppression and other firefighting expenses have increased from 16 percent of the Forest Service budget in 1995 to 42 percent in 2014, according to Robert Bonnie, the undersecretary of natural resources and environment for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees the Forest Service.
“The general consensus is that this is a problem and we need to fix it,” Bonnie said Wednesday during a Chronicle editorial board meeting. He said money has been borrowed that was targeted for non-fire-related activities, like landscaping and fire prevention, to pay for fighting fires.
California, which is suffering from a fourth year of drought, is one of the major culprits. At one point last September, 12 major wildfires were burning in the state. Eleven of them were in Northern California. Nearly 6,000 firefighters were employed to beat back the flames.
Catastrophic wildfires expected in Southern Oregon this summer
Record low snowpack amid a second straight drought year has wildland managers bracing for what they consider an upcoming wildfire season in which catastrophic fire in the Cascades or Siskiyous "seems inevitable."
State and federal wildfire experts said Thursday in Medford that they expect mid- and high-elevation forestlands to be prime for generating a 2015 fire season that will start earlier, last longer and likely burn hotter than normal in this area known for summer fires.
With minimal or no snow around places such as Howard Prairie and Mount Ashland, the sun's rays that normally would melt snow and wet the forest instead will be cooking it tinder dry this spring, making slopes more able to carry flames and more susceptible to fire starts caused by lightning downstrikes.

 THE Biggest story with regards to wildfires comes out of South Africa.

Despite Encroaching Wildfires, Cape Town Should Be Safe

Wildfires have been ripping through peripheral parts of Cape Town, South Africa, since Sunday. As of Tuesday, more than 7,000 acres of land had been destroyed, according to NBC. reported that at least five homes have burned, but the fires have yet to claim any lives. City officials are increasingly concerned, however, dispatching hundreds of additional firefighters to combat the flames, according to the Independent.

Bushfires raging through one of South Africa's most popular international tourist destinations have destroyed vineyards and scorched thousands of hectares of spectacular scenery.
Firefighting teams and water-bombing aircraft were in action as the flames swept down Cape Town's southern peninsula, a mountainous spine of land running from the city to Cape Point, Africa's most southwestern tip.
At least two vineyards in the Constantia Valley, below the eastern slopes of Table Mountain, and one further south at Noordhoek, lost vineyards. Steenberg winery general manager John Loubser told Bloomberg that winemakers were concerned that smoke could taint unharvested grapes.

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