Studies confirm that nighttime wildfire activity is increasing

In a study of wildfires in the conterminous United States from 2003 to 2020 researchers found that while fire activity increased during the day in the 18-year period, it increased even more at night.

Heat sensing data from satellites showed significant increasing trends in nighttime wildfire fire activity, with a +54%, +42% and +21% increase in the annual nighttime sum of Fire Radiative Power (FRP), annual nighttime active fire pixel counts, and annual mean nighttime per-pixel values of FRP, respectively, in the latter half of the study period. Activity during the day increased also, with rates of +36%, +31%, and +7% respectively.

Climate change, folks

The reason wildfires typically exhibit less activity at night is due to diurnal changes in weather. Nighttime generally brings lower temperatures, higher relative humidity, decreasing winds, and higher fuel moistures in light fuels.

But a warming climate with occasional multi-year droughts and higher temperatures can lead to nighttime higher temperatures and lower humidities. Drought will lower the fuel moistures in live and dead vegetation. These changes can result in fuels at night remaining available for significant and continuous fire spread. This is causing wildfires to burn with more intensity, spread more quickly, and have more resistance to control 24 hours a day.

And the poor buggers out there on the fireline are less likely to catch a break, a bite to eat, a bit of rest.

We’re number one, we’re number one!


Yearly overdose deaths top 100,000 for first time

Drug overdose deaths in the United States surpassed 100,000 in a 12-month period for the first time, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday, a troubling milestone amid an already devastating period for the country…

Vermont saw the biggest rise, with a nearly 70 percent increase. Large increases were also observed in West Virginia (62 percent), Kentucky (55 percent), Louisiana (52 percent) and Tennessee (50 percent). Drug overdose deaths went down in just four states: Delaware, New Hampshire, New Jersey and South Dakota. South Dakota had a nearly 20 percent decrease in overdose deaths, the greatest by far.

Deaths due to opioids — mostly synthetic opioids, including fentanyl — accounted for more than 75 percent of the deaths. Deaths due to psychostimulants, predominantly methamphetamine, also increased. Cocaine accounted for slightly more deaths in 2021 than the year before, and heroin deaths decreased.

Overdose deaths are often the result of multiple drugs, Bob Anderson (NCHS) said. “They are killing people in combination, fentanyl combined with another drug such as methamphetamine or cocaine.”

Just how much of a role the stress and isolation of the pandemic played in the rising overdose deaths remains to be seen.

While the two are certainly linked, the pandemic shouldn’t be a scapegoat for an epidemic that was a major concern long before Covid, said Dr. Andrew Kolodny, medical director of opioid policy research…at Brandeis University.

“Opioid addiction is a chronic, relapsing condition such that the stress or the social isolation and the inability to access support groups could have resulted in relapses in people with opioid addiction, and Covid could have made it harder for people with opioid addiction to access treatment, as well…”

“But for the past few years, opioid overdose deaths in the United States have skyrocketed. We’ve been in the midst of a severe crisis that’s getting worse and getting worse fast,” Kolodny said.

I’ve focused on similar articles, similar conclusions, off and on for decades. There is no shortage of crap excuses for addiction and concurrent overdose deaths. Every federal government for decades has one or another stash of copout excuses for not accomplishing any bloody thing.

I’d love to see something new tried. I don’t care if it’s a copycat of something that works in another country, some lone state…if there is one. Let’s get off our collective butts and do it!