Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Mega-blazes: California fire season now year-round

Bloomberg: California's fire season used to start in August and end by Christmas. Now it lasts year-round, and the number of blazes across the state may double this year. Drought, heat, electrical storms and 60-year-old forest- management policies have all contributed to a threat of fire that exists every moment for residents of the most populous U.S. state. Firefighters are currently battling three wind-whipped blazes that have burned hundreds of homes near Los Angeles.

“We are in the mega-fire era,” said Ken Frederick, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in Boise, Idaho, and a former firefighter with 13 years on the lines. “California has definitely been the epicenter of wildfire activity this year.”

More than 1.42 million acres have burned in California in 2008, up from 1.16 million last year, according to state and federal statistics. The 9,603 fires this year compare with 5,961 in 2007 and have cost at least $464.5 million to fight, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection figures….

Santiago Fire in Foothill Ranch, Orange County in 2007, shot by Alex Miroshnichenko, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License

No comments: