Wildfires 2020

Nov 25 2020

After last year's record-busting heatwaves and wildfire season, Australia was hoping for a rather wet summer season this year with the onset of La Niña. La Niña typically increases the likelihood of above-average rainfall across much of Australia during spring and early summer. However, with Summer still a while away, Sydney temperatures are set to soar over the weekend as NSW is headed for an early heatwave with temperatures inching toward the 50 deg C, (122 deg F) mark bringing with it the threat of another early start to another wildfire season.

Meanwhile, a bushfire, coined as "the biggest one in living memory" has scorched a third of the World Heritage Area of Queensland's idyllic Fraser Island, six weeks after being sparked by an illegal campfire. Nov 25 2020

The Cameron Peak Fire is now the largest wildfire in Colorado history. The fire made another big run east Wednesday and was listed at 158,300 acres as of 7:30 p.m. MDT Wednesday. Containment was at 56%. It has now surpassed another 2020 fire - the Pine Gulch Fire - for the largest in the state's history.

The Pine Gulch Fire near Grand Junction reached 139,007 acres before it was fully contained in late September. The Cameron Peak Fire has grown more than 20,000 acres over the last day. It started back on Aug. 13 on the Arapaho and Roosevelt national forests near Cameron Pass and Chambers Lake.

Earthwindmap showing the dangerous red particulates, PM2.5 being released into the atmosphere from the unprecedented fires. Hope and relief could come from Tropical Storm Marie later in the week.

The staggering scale of California's wildfires reached another milestone Monday: A single fire surpassed 1 million acres (about 405,000 hectares). The new mark for the August Complex in the Coast Range between San Francisco and the Oregon border came a day after the total area of land burned by California wildfires this year passed 4 million acres...

On November the 7th 2019, the very day California's biggest, most ruinous wildfire that year was declared fully contained and extinguished, a new horror show erupted in New South Wales, Australia. Several massive, out of control wildfires ignited after months of drought conditions, record heat and strong dry winds. The fires exploded for months on end, killing or injuring more than 3 billion animals, burning almost 25% of Australia's temperate forests and destroying 60% of the total crop output. 

A year on and California has now taken the baton from Australia in 2020. California has suffered its worst wildfire season in living memory this year with more than a month still to go before the season ends. However, ominous signs are coming from down under as their wildfire season has started a month earlier than last years disastrous season.

Northern California's wine country was on fire again Monday as strong winds fanned flames in the already scorched region, destroying homes and prompting orders for nearly 70,000 people to evacuate. Meanwhile, three people died in a separate fire farther north in the state.

In Sonoma County, residents of the Oakmont Gardens senior living facility in Santa Rosa boarded brightly lit city buses in the darkness overnight, some wearing bathrobes and using walkers. They wore masks to protect against the coronavirus as orange flames marked the dark sky. The fire threat forced Adventist Health St. Helena hospital to suspend care and transfer all patients elsewhere.

The staggering statistics keep piling up for California’s wildfire season: August and September account for five of the six biggest fires in nearly 90 years of recorded history for the state. The phrases climate change and global warming are being banded around by politicians and activists alike, arson has also been mentioned and why not, 2020 has suddenly produced a whole army of crazy people over there across the pond.

The usual trinity of extreme heat, drought and blustery winds are of course the main antagonists here, however, it is hard to deny climate change/global warming especially when one considers the exact same unfolding disaster happened in Australia late last year and early this year which resulted in 3 billion...
Weeks of dry, hot weather have fueled historic wildfires along the West Coast that have killed more than 34 people and reduced thousands of homes to embers. Firefighters have been battling blazes in the region, which have consumed more than 4.7 million acres, as dry grass and high winds have created tinderbox conditions. But rain this week could bring much-needed relief to some parts of the Northwest, giving firefighters time to gain headway against the deadly flames. Red flag warnings are still in place from northern California into Southern Oregon, where fire danger remains high but air conditions are improving.
California wildfires kill 25 people

(CNN) - Wildfires scorching the West Coast have devastated the small city of Detroit, Oregon - located about 120 miles southeast of Portland - where a majority of the structures in the rural enclave have been flattened by fire. "We have approximately 20-25 structures still standing, and the rest are gone," officials with the Idanha-Detroit Rural Fire Protection District said on their Facebook page. City hall, where the fire department's district office is based, was one of many buildings that burned down. 

"Our primary focus is protecting the structures that are still standing," the officials said on their Facebook page. "Several of our firefighters have also lost their homes. 

How could two countries, Australia and the US suffer wildfires unprecedented in scope and scale just a few months apart and the fire season in the US still have a couple of months to go? Just maybe the real truth was leaked in a statement from the  Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, who said on Friday. "This is not an act of God," "This has happened because we have changed the climate of the state of Washington in dramatic ways." What does he mean when he says, " we have changed the climate of the state of Washington State?"

Huge swaths of America's West Coast are ablaze or in cinders as more than 100 wildfires raged largely uncontrolled late Friday from California to Washington state and beyond, incinerating entire towns and killing at least 24 people. More than 500,000 people in Oregon - more than 10% of its population - remained under some level of evacuation protocol as fires in the state destroyed thousands of homes and burned hundreds of thousands of hectares.

The Oregon Convention Center in Portland has been transformed into a shelter for evacuees. In southern Oregon, an apocalyptic scene of burned residential subdivisions and trailer parks stretched for kilometres along a highway - a scene mirrored in parts of California, where the governor gave a blunt assessment. "This is a climate damn emergency. This is real and it's happening. This is the perfect storm," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said. "What we're experiencing right here is coming to communities all across the United States of America unless we get our act together on climate change."

I have just received an email from my old friend Carol Rosin who lives in Oregon which she has described as a "war-zone." Thanks for the live update Carol and keep safe my friend; 
Whole towns of Talent and Phoenix are almost all destroyed…burned to the ground with not much still standing…minutes. away from us in Jacksonville, Oregon. Wildfires are burning out of control all around. We are in a red evacuation alert. But so far OK. Electricity and water back on. Hotels filled so people sleeping In their cars In parking lots everywhere including in a parking lot next to our yard in front of a veterinarian office…people who have already evacuated their homes. Over a half-million Oregonians, 600,000 to start, have already had to evacuate from their homes. Can’t fit much into our little Kia but we are in an evacuation zone hoping we won't have to leave. We’re in dense smoke with hazardous particles in bad air, so I can’t go outside. Horrifying. Places look like war zones. Why would anybody want to put weapons over all our heads? Militaries need to help all the disaster areas.   Jon and I are in a red alert evacuation zone...hoping we'll be OK.

Thanks for all you are doing.

 Love Carol.
Deadly windblown wildfires raging across the Pacific Northwest destroyed hundreds of homes in Oregon, the governor said Wednesday, warning it could be the greatest loss of life and property from wildfire in state history.

The blazes from the top of the state to the California border caused highway closures and smoky skies and had firefighters struggling to contain and douse flames fanned by 50 mph (80 kph) wind gusts. Officials in some western Oregon communities gave residents "go now" orders to evacuate, meaning they had minutes to flee their homes.
Wildfires Burn Over Two Million Acres in California, Hundreds of Campers Rescued From Danger Zone

California is mirroring last summer's record-breaking heat-drought-wind-wildfire combination in Australia which destroyed 25% of temperate forest and killed or injured 3 billion animals. Comparisons are already becoming very clear, both fire seasons started early and both caused by the same problems, drought and record heat. Already in California over two million acres have been scorched with conditions expected to become worse in what is becoming an annual event.

SHAVER LAKE, Calif. (AP) - Evacuation orders were expanded Monday to more mountain communities as a huge wildfire churned through California's Sierra National Forest, one of the dozens of blazes crews battled during a heatwave that shattered records across the state.
If you think you are having a bad week spare a thought for Californians. They are having to live through an almost unbearable heatwave, the highest temperature ever recorded here on Earth may have been beaten on the 16th of August when a temperature of 130F (54.4C) was recorded in Death Valley National Park, California on Sunday. On Wednesday millions of California residents were smothered by smoke-filled skies as dozens of wildfires raged out of control while suffering triple-digit temperatures. Because of the heat, the outdated power grid keeps overloading causing as many as two million Californians into darkness in the first rolling blackouts to hit the state since the 2001 energy crisis. To make matters worse they are continuing to fight the terrible coronavirus which is reportedly killing nearly 150 Californians a day. 
It's the time of the year many Californians dread. This year a crippeling heatwave boosted by heavy humidity is riveling the deadly seven-day heatwave event of 2006 with no let-up in the near future. It was during the deadly 2006 heatwave that Los Angeles County recorded its all-time highest temperature: 119 degrees F (48.5 deg C) in Woodland Hills on July 22 killing an estimated 450 people. Two million Californians had to manage without power over the weekend after California Independent System Operator said it had ordered utility companies to turn off power as demand for electricity to cool homes soared beyond the power available in the grid. 

Early wildfires are raging across Arizona and California as the trinity of wildfires, drought, heat and gusty winds are converging once again creating ideal conditions for rapid spread. Alaska using dogs to protect firefighters from bears
Another horror show has arrived which could well take our minds off Covid-19, Civil war or WWIII and it's earlier than usual.
Here we go again and this year they are early with a long hot summer ahead. On November the 8th 2019, California's biggest and most ruinous wildfire of the year, a wind-driven blaze that scorched 120 square miles (310 square kilometres) was declared fully contained and extinguished, however, a new horror show was just beginning in New South Wales, Australia.
According to authorities at the time, an "unprecedented" (90) number of emergency-level wildfires were streaking across New South Wales, Australia in drought-affected areas aided by gusty winds and 35 deg C (95 deg F) heat. 

Fires rage in Chernobyl, radiation spikes in the area: Witnesses accuse the government of covering up the severity of blaze as it nears the site of the nuclear disaster.
Witnesses accuse the government of covering up the severity of blaze near the site of the nuclear disaster.

Wildfires in Ukraine have spread less than a mile from the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant and a disposal site for radioactive waste, according to activists, as more than 300 firefighters work to contain the blaze. A video posted by a Chernobyl tour operator showed flames and a cloud of smoke rising within sight of the protective shelter over the carcass of Chernobyl's Unit 4 nuclear reactor, the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history. The tour operator, Yaroslav Yemelianenko, wrote that the fire had reached the abandoned city of Pripyat and was just 2km (1.24 miles) away from the nuclear power plant and the Pidlisny radioactive waste disposal site.

Aussie Bushfire Update: Astonishing and astounding: “A globally unprecedented scale of burning." 21% of Australia's temperate forests consumed during 2019/20 season
As the worst bushfire season ever recorded comes to an end in Australia the true extent of consumed forestry is found to be truly astonishing. Researchers at Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment have analysed historic data on the extent of Australia’s extraordinary forest fires and found that the area burned in Australia during the 2019-2020 forest fires was an astounding 21%. Previous "major fire" seasons have historically been around 2% of Australian forests consumed by fire.

“We analysed the major forest biomes across Australia, Asia, Africa, Oceania and North and South Americas to determine the extent of annual areas burned by forest fires”, said Associate Professor Matthias Boer, lead author of the study and lead scientist of the NSW Bushfire Risk Management Research Hub node at Western Sydney University. 

Climate changing due to the Sun and not carbon dioxide: Sea and Surface Temperatures, Major Earthquakes, Volcano Eruptions, Droughts, Extreme Temperatures, Famine, Flooding, Wildfires and Cyclones suddenly intensified in the late 50s!
Weather changes constantly, scientists tell us our climate changes in repeated cycles and these changes can provide big changes for people living on earth. There is no doubt, our climate is changing, it's getting warmer, it's also getting colder and wetter in many places and dryer in others but is it man causing climate change or is it something else?

Around 200 BC and 600 AD, there was Roman warming. Around AD 440 and 900, Dark Ages cooling. Around 900 to 1300, we had Medieval warming. Followed by "The Little Ice-Age," 1300 to 1850, phases 1 and 2. Around 1850 to present is the modern warming.

Temperatures above 40 deg C, (104 deg F) and strong winds are causing the worst bushfire in 20 years south of Australia's capital Canberra: Authorities have declared a state of emergency
We began January 2020 with an Australian wildfire crisis and we are going to end the month with another one. Authorities of the Australian Capital Territory, (ATC) have declared a state of emergency as the worst bushfire in 20 years is devastating areas south of the nation's capital Canberra. The main blaze, in the territory's south, is burning over more than 18,500 hectares. Residents in suburbs of Canberra have been urged to "remain alert" for potential evacuations. "The ACT is now facing the worst bushfire threat since the devastating fires of 2003," Chief Minister Andrew Barr told reporters on Friday. 

Aussie Bushfire Update No 24: "This will be all of our Christmas, birthday, engagement, anniversary, wedding and graduation presents rolled into one." Significant rain has arrived
Rain fell across parts of bushfire-ravaged eastern Australia on Thursday and more wet weather was forecast, giving some relief following months of catastrophic blazes fuelled by climate change. The fires, unprecedented for Australia in terms of duration and intensity, have claimed 28 lives and killed an estimated billion animals. Sustained hot weather and only very rare periods of light rain in the affected areas have deepened the crisis. So authorities had been looking forward to this week's rain hoping it would help contain or even extinguish some fires.
In the state of New South Wales, where many of the worst fires have burnt, there were "good falls" on some blazes early Thursday, the local meteorology bureau reported. "Relief is here for a number of firefighters working across NSW," the state's Rural Fire Service said in a social media post accompanying video footage of rain falling in a burning forest.

Aussie Bushfire Update No 23: 250,000 told to evacuate Victoria: "Mega Blaze!" Two out of control fires in Victoria and New South Wales have merged: Heatwave returns
Two giant bushfires in the south of New South Wales and Victoria have merged into a terrifying mega blaze. The East Ournie Creek and Dunns Road fires near the Victoria border were upgraded to watch and act level this morning. But by lunchtime, they had merged as temperatures hit 37C and 20kmh winds fanned the flames. Together with the blazes, including sections that have burnt out, cover half-a-million hectares - about five times the size of Canberra. The Rural Fire Service forecast extreme danger for the foreground today and warned of 'erratic behaviour' meaning the flames can move and change direction quickly.

The fire has already passed through the towns of Talbingo, Wondalga, Kunama and Batlow. Residents in Goobragandra Valley, Brindabella, Mundaroo, Ournie, Mannus and Tooma have been told to keep watch and prepare to evacuate if necessary. 

Aussie Bushfire Update No 22: 2019 was both the hottest and driest on record for Australia: +45 deg C temps back tomorrow: Authorities have issued new warnings and evacuation notices
The Bureau of Meteorology has released its 2019 Annual Climate Statement, showing 2019 was both the warmest and driest year on record for Australia.

Australia's average mean temperature in 2019 was 1.52 °C above average, making it the warmest on record since consistent national temperature records began in 1910 and surpassing the previous record in 2013 of 1.33 °C above average. Meanwhile, the national average rainfall total in 2019 was 277 mm, the lowest since consistent national records began in 1900. The previous record low was 314 mm set during the Federation drought in 1902.

Aussie Bushfire Update No 20: Australian government warned of a catastrophic blaze back in 2015! NSW and Victoria bushfires crisis has 'months to go' Farmers shooting injured sheep
Forest fuel levels have worsened over the past 30 years because of "misguided green ideology", vested interests, political failure and mismanagement, creating a massive bushfire threat, a former CSIRO bushfire scientist has warned. Victoria's "failed fire management policy" is an increasing threat to human life, water supplies, property and the forest environment, David Packham said in a submission to the state's Inspector-General for Emergency Management. And he argued that unless the annual fuel reduction burning target, currently at a minimum of 5 per cent of public land, "is doubled or preferably tripled, a massive bushfire disaster will occur. The forest and alpine environment will decay and be damaged possibly beyond repair and homes and people [will be] incinerated."

Aussie Bushfire Update No 19: Sydney records hottest day ever almost 50 deg C: Fires unprecedented in the last 16 years (Data): Dangerous PM2.5 particulates values
'Hottest place on the planet': Penrith in Sydney's west approached 50 degrees today when the mercury reached an incredible 48.9 deg C, (120 deg F). As the bushfire threat across large parts of NSW remained critical into Saturday afternoon ahead of predicted volatile winds, heat records tumbled and residents struggled to find ways to cool down. A spokeswoman for the Bureau of Meteorology said heatwave conditions were experienced across the south-east of the country as north-westerly winds carried hot air from inland Australia. 

Aussie Bushfire Update No 18: Fires too big for computer models: Fires the size of Portugal: Horror weekend approaches: Temperatures once again in the mid-40Cs on Saturday
Andy Gillham, from the Bairnsdale incident control team in Gippsland, Victoria, said in the coming days some communities would have fires approaching "from almost all directions". "Everybody's saying the same thing, and that is because the scientific modelling that we use to try and predict where the fire might run is not coping with what's happening in the landscape just purely because of the fire load," he told ABC Gippsland. Mr Gillham said as fires build, they create their own weather, so data from the weather bureau becomes less relevant. Fires exceeded human and computer predictions. NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said the fires in New South Wales on New Year's Eve exceeded all predictions. 

Aussie Bushfire Update No 17: Australian towns teeter on brink of a humanitarian crisis: Tasmania's Capital Hobart on fire: 45 deg C,(113 deg F) temps to return:
Australia is teetering on the edge of a humanitarian crisis as remote communities remain cut off from medical help, water sources are compromised and food and fuel supplies run low. Hundreds of fires are still burning out of control across the country, destroying millions of hectares, killing 18 and leaving at least 1,200 homes destroyed, with catastrophic 46C weather conditions forecast for Saturday. HMAS Choules, which delivered emergency supplies to Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, left Sydney on Wednesday and docked off the coast of fire-stricken Mallacoota mid-morning on Thursday. HMAS Choules can carry 700 passengers but there are up 4,000 people who remain stranded in the seaside town after it was devastated by bushfires.

Aussie Bushfire Update No 16: Thousands of people taking refuge on the beaches: Fires generate tornadoes and supercell thunderstorms: Science behind the fire-whirls a mystery
nine dead and hundreds of properties destroyed, with worse to come Fires are generating tornadoes and supercell thunderstorms. A volunteer firefighter died on Monday when an event "which could only be described as a tornado" picked up and rolled the truck carrying him and two other crew members. With so few examples, the science behind these rotating fire systems is still being worked out, but there is no denying they are incredibly dangerous. "We know fire-whirls exist, they can be up to a few hundred metres high," said Nick McCarthy, who studies the interaction of bushfires and thunderstorms at the University of Queensland. 

Wildfires 2019

Wildfires 2016/18