It’s another bad fire season in California. Wait, you may ask, isn’t it fire season year round in Cali? It turns out no! There are two distinct fire seasons, with two different forcing factors. The Santa Anna wind driven fire season runs from October through April (winter/spring). The high winds can drive fires into a frenzy – such as is happening this weekend, where winds in California have been gusting into tropical storm levels. The second fire season, during the driest and hottest months of the summer, runs from June to September. So … May is nice sometimes.
Here is a satellite view of the Kincade fire as the sun comes up this morning (from GOES 17) … click to animate if you dare (it is big):
Labeled view … click to embiggen:
In all seriousness this is a bad situation. The Kincade fire, north of San Francisco, has over $10 Billion in property within a mile of the fires. The Getty fire near LA has another $15 Billion at risk; statewide the total is over $25 Billion of property at immediate risk, being within one mile of an active fire.
Administrative note: I had some problems with drafts being posted straight to the site/FB/Twitter, causing some confusion, broken links and partial posts. Hopefully that is fixed! Update on storms will be coming this afternoon.
Sorry this article-length post isn’t about the weather, but it is on a topic I know quite a bit about, and like hurricanes it is an area that the US media and political establishment exploit for drama and manipulation. And, like hurricanes, it is a complex and nuanced thing. As the US House of Representatives gets serious about Impeachment over the Trump, Biden, Ukraine and Russia connections, I hope everyone will take some time to understand how and why we got here and realize it’s not really about Russian or Ukrainian attempts to interfere in our politics, it is blow-back as a result of over two decades of the US manipulating and exploiting financially those countries after the fall of the Soviet Union, and how US domestic politics got entangled with them. I hope you will take a few minutes to read it through, and not jump to a conclusion based on which political team you cheer for. As in so many things, both parties have utterly failed you, and are blaming the “other” for the ensuing mess. Although this post is long, it’s still overly simplified, but at least it’s a start.
It’s hard to know where to begin this story, but to avoid writing a book we’ll start it with the breakup of the Soviet Union in the early 1990’s, and why the shadows of that event are now cast in the heart of US Politics. The Soviet economy was in shambles, and numerous deals were made to facilitate a peaceful transition between the Former Soviet Union (FSR) and the independent nation-states that resulted from the breakup. There are two key elements of that breakup that are of interest to us here: the disposition of the nuclear arsenal, and reforms of the “communist” economies (they weren’t really communist, and barely deserve the term “socialist,” but that’s the label that stuck). First let’s look at the post-Soviet borders and military situation …