I'll show that to my firefighter pal, that should raise some interesting questions.
A massive pair of fires burning on either side of Clear Lake, about 100 miles north of San Francisco, exploded to nearly 230,000 acres Saturday night, making the conflagration among the largest on record in California and the most pressing of 17 large wildfires across the state.
(ANTIMEDIA) — Wildfires in California are burning hundreds of thousands of acres as tens of thousands of firefighters, some who have traveled from as far as Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand work to contain the blazes. Even prisoners have been enlisted to fight the fires (at a rate of $1 per hour plus $2 per day).
Donald Trump’s administration has moved to have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration take control of California water management under the official rationale of fighting the state’s rampaging fires, saying that the water “should be prioritized for wildfire response instead of endangered species protections,” ABC News reported on Wednesday. Of course, state officials say that there is more than enough water to fight the fires.
The Commerce Directive announced a directive on Wednesday ordering the National Marine Fisheries Service, a sub-agency of NOAA, to “facilitate access to the water needed to fight the ongoing wildfires affecting the State of California.” That more or less cuts California Fish and Wildlife, which works with the NMFS to regulate state waters, out of the process. Per ABC News, said directive would allow federal officials to overrule protections for threatened and endangered wildlife:
The change announced Wednesday would allow federal agencies to expedite decisions about water under an emergency provision of the Endangered Species Act.
The directive specifically says that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which includes the National Marine Fisheries Service, will take over management of water during the wildfire emergency in California. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross directed the Service to tell other federal agencies “the protection of life and property takes precedence over any current agreements regarding the use of water in the areas of California affected by wildfires.”
That follows on a very ill-informed tweet from the president earlier this week accusing California officials of wasting water needed to fight the fires, namely that it is “being diverted into the Pacific Ocean.” (Actual wildfire experts point to the state’s extreme droughts, which are being worsened by climate change, as well as human encroachment in wildfire-prone areas and arcane funding laws that force the Forest Service to raid its regular forest management funds for emergency firefighting, per the New Republic.)
As increasingly hot and severe wildfires scorch the West, some lichen communities integral to conifer forests aren’t returning, even years after the flames have been extinguished, according to a study from scientists at the University of California, Davis.
Lichen, an often overlooked organism that forms fuzzy, leaf-like layers over tree bark and rocks, is an unsung hero in forest ecosystems. It provides food for deer, caribou, and elk and is sometimes the only food source for flying squirrels, which are key prey for threatened spotted owls. Birds and insects use it to eat and nest. An important contributor to the nutrient cycle, it also helps fix nitrogen in forest soils.
“Lichen are beautiful, ecologically important, are all around us and tell us important things about the environment,” said lead author Jesse Miller, a postdoctoral scholar in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at UC Davis. “But even if you don’t notice lichens, you would notice the consequences in ecosystems when they are lost.”
interesting that shasta's smartmeter deployment was pretty much just completed when this happened