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A Double Whammy
By Ernest Stewart

"The fire is expected to have significant activity and growth, current strategic constraints include lack of access to areas of the fire, very hot and dry weather, critical fuels and changing winds. ... In total, all evacuations impact over 12,100 citizens living in over 5,156 residences." ~~~ Cal Fire

Currently, there are more than 9,300 firefighters battling at least 21 wildfires, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, or Cal Fire.

The largest inferno, the 'Rocky Fire,' has already incinerated 70,000 acres in three counties. It is only 5% contained and is feeding on the state's drought to grow, Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant said.

"This has been a very fast-moving wildfire with the dry conditions, and the weather not really cooperating with us over the past week," Berlant told CNN affiliate KCRA.

The Rocky Fire was burning in Lake, Yolo and Colusa counties northwest of Sacramento. More than 12,100 people in more than 5,100 structures were under some type of evacuation order or advisory as of Monday afternoon, according to Cal Fire.

Almost 2,000 fire personnel, 180 engines, four air tankers and 19 helicopters are battling that blaze.

According to Cal Fire, "across the state, more than 160,000 acres have been torched by current ongoing fires."

Things are bad enough with most of California forests about to burn to the ground; but guess what, it could even get worse!

Forests play an important role as "carbon sinks" by absorbing and storing CO2 emissions. However, when they catch fire and burn, they release carbon back into the atmosphere! Now, a new study finds that that droughts are expected to become more frequent with climate change.

The findings, published this week in the journal Science, show that forests don't recover as quickly after a drought as had been previously thought, indicating a need to adjust climate models.

Researchers gathered tree ring data from over 1,300 sites across the globe to measure growth in periods after severe droughts that've occurred since 1948, finding for the majority of the forests they studied, "trees suffered years-long effects post-drought."

The researchers write: "We found pervasive and substantial 'legacy effects' of reduced growth and incomplete recovery for 1 to 4 years after severe drought."

They found it took an average of 2 to 4 years for the trees to resume normal growth, with the first-year growth happening about 9 percent more slowly than expected, and five percent more slowly the second. This is in contrast to previous ecosystem models that had assumed a quick recovery after drought.

"This really matters because in the future droughts are expected to increase in frequency and severity due to climate change," stated lead author William R.L. Anderegg, an assistant professor of biology at the University of Utah. "Some forests could be in a race to recover before the next drought strikes," he said.

What's the bottom line in terms of the impact on climate change?

Just looking at semi-arid ecosystems, these "legacy effects" would mean 1.6 metric gigatons of carbon dioxide over a century. A press release for the study says that amount is "roughly equal to one-fourth of the entire U.S. emissions in a year."

"If forests are not as good at taking up carbon dioxide, this means climate change would speed up," Anderegg said. It's always something, huh?

Finally, Barry has seen the light on global warming, and would like to do something about it. Trouble is, with his popularity in the House and Senate, not to mention the bribes from the folks that are causing global warming, there's not a snowballs chance in Hell any meaningful legislation will cross his desk before he leaves office in January 2017. And, unless Bernie is elected, there's no chance of that happening in the near, to distant, future, either!


09-26-1947 ~ 07-30-2015
Thanks for the music!

04-17-1954 ~ 07-31-2015
Thanks for the laughs

05-27-1943 ~ 08-02-2015
Thanks for the music!

10-23-1922 ~ 08-03-2015
Thanks for the film!

04-22-1925 ~ 08-05-2015
Thanks for the film!


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Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2015 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for 13 years was the managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. Follow me on Twitter.

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Issues & Alibis Vol 15 # 32 (c) 08/07/2015