Shrub predicts fire season terror!

Bryant Baker

…Chamise turns out to be a fascinating plant, one critical not only to the California landscape but to the safety of its human residents. When fire scientists want to know how flammable the state’s vegetation might be, they don’t rely on some newfangled gadget. They rely on chamise. “It’s a really pretty and kind of understated shrub,” says Bryant Baker, conservation director of the Los Padres ForestWatch … “And I think because it’s so common, it’s often taken for granted.” …

…Because the plant is so abundant, it’s a sort of standardized species—they can sample it all over the state. Fire weather researchers like San Jose State University’s Craig Clements … use it to get an idea of how parched vegetation is overall.

And nothing scares a fire weather scientist quite like a year with dehydrated chamise. If it’s dry, then that’s a good indicator that everything is dry. “Right now, these are the lowest April 1 fuel moistures we’ve ever had,” Clements says. This is supposed to be the time of year when moisture levels are at their highest, thanks to recent autumn and winter rains. But California is withering in a drought.

Read it and weep, sisters and brothers. Much will potentially be destroyed in this year’s fire season. And, so far, I haven’t read of any new ingenious way of stopping wildfires.

6 thoughts on “Shrub predicts fire season terror!

  1. McLeod says:

    The forecasts for wildland fire potential issued May 1 by the National Interagency Fire Center for May through August predict wildfire potential will be higher than normal in the Southwest until the monsoons arrive in July. Fire potential is also expected to be high in much of the Great Basin for the entire period and will be increasing in the mountains of California from June through August.
    The Great Plains and Northern Rockies are slated for normal conditions but Central Oregon and Southeast Washington will be above normal beginning in June.

  2. Update says:

    The Caldor Fire burning in California has grown 24 times its size in two days, forcing another 10,000 residents to evacuate.
    Fueled by wind and dry conditions, the fire burning in El Dorado County swelled to 62,586 acres Wednesday and is 0% contained, according to Cal Fire. The fire was sparked Saturday and the cause is unknown.
    The Dixie Fire, California’s second-largest in history, has not let up, swelling more than 60,000 acres in two days. Some 678,369 acres have burned as of Thursday, according to Cal Fire. The fire has been active for more than a month and is at 35% containment.

  3. Firestorm says:

    The Caldor Fire forced the evacuation of basically the entirety of South Lake Tahoe, a resort community of 22,000, on Monday. Firefighters are waging an all-out battle to keep the fire from reaching the town and wreaking havoc in the Lake Tahoe Basin.
    “Traffic nightmare as Caldor Fire forces evacuation of South Lake Tahoe” (Aug. 30, 2021 2:40 p.m.)
    (Aug. 30, 2021 8:18 a.m.) “Fire crews are hoping to make a stand at Echo Summit, which drivers will know as the cliffside part of Highway 50 that begins to dip down into the Tahoe Basin. If the fire descends below that summit, it will begin to directly burn down into highly populated areas of Meyers and South Lake Tahoe. With a red flag warning in effect for high winds on Monday afternoon through Tuesday evening, critical fire conditions remain on the horizon.”

    • p/s says:

      (August 31, 2021 at 6:41 am) The Caldor Fire — combining with the Dixie Fire burning farther north in Plumas and Lassen counties — has also dashed the decades-long belief that a wildfire could not cross the Sierra. Both fires crossed the Sierra and had burned nearly 1 million acres combined by Tuesday morning.
      “We haven’t had wildfires burn from one side of the Sierras to another,” said Cal Fire Chief Thom Porter. “We did that with the Dixie [Fire], now we have with the Caldor. Two times in our history and they’re both happening this month. So we really need to be cognizant that there is fire activity happening in California that we have never seen before.”

  4. Meanwhile says:

    Active-Duty Soldiers Join Fight Against the Dixie Fire in California
    Strong winds are expected to create extreme fire conditions on the Dixie Fire this week.
    The Dixie Fire grew by 5,548 acres overnight Sunday into Monday and has burned a total of 771,183 acres. Containment is still at 48%.

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