Sunday, August 16, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: California Plagued With Fire

Can't you see the smoke?

"Two camper deaths, plague hit Yosemite" Associated Press  August 15, 2015

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. — The deaths of two young campers killed when a tree branch fell on their tent and a campground closure because of plague cast a pall over Yosemite National Park at the height of the summer tourist season.


Combine that with the wealth inequality and we REALLY ARE BACK in the MIDDLE AGES!

Large fallen limbs are a common occurrence at Yosemite and have occasionally led to deaths. The most recent was in 2012....

Park officials said on Friday that they will temporarily close another popular campsite after two squirrels died of plague in the area.

Tuolumne Meadows Campground will close from noon Monday through noon Friday so authorities can treat the area with a flea-killing insecticide. Campers had their reservations canceled at the 304-site campground so the insecticide can be sprayed into rodent ‘‘burrow holes,’’ the California Department of Health said Friday.

Plague is carried by rodents and is spread by fleas, but transmission between people is rare.


RelatedColorado reports second plague death

So who released the plague upon an unsuspecting populace

Doesn't fire kill plague?

"California wildfire evacuees fear loss of homes" by Janie Har and Kristin J. Bender Associated Press  August 07, 2015

CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif. — Hundreds of people driven from their homes by a massive Northern California wildfire are anxious to check on their pets and possessions, but for now are stuck camping in cars and trailers, drinking coffee from Styrofoam cups and hoping their houses have not been reduced to ash.

Cassandra Raffaelli and others have been staying in the parking lot at a Moose Lodge, a fraternal organization that is serving food to evacuees. She has been there since Sunday and doesn’t know what she will find when she returns home to Spring Valley, a threatened town in a parched rural area 100 miles north of San Francisco.

‘‘To go home, to go to your house, see it [burned] and stuff, that’s my major fear,’’ she said Thursday.

The flames mowed down some properties and left others untouched near Clear Lake, the largest freshwater lake fully in California. Houses, some a mile apart, were completely burned, while nearby, the fire didn’t touch the trees, the land, or the buildings.

Chairs, burned books, and broken dishes sat in piles of ash, and burned-out cars dotted the rubble. At one home, a metal table and chair sat in the middle of its scorched foundation. The eerie quiet was broken only by chirping birds and the sound of the emergency helicopters overhead.

Forty-three homes have been destroyed and 13,000 people were ordered or warned to evacuate as the blaze chewed through more than 107 square miles of dry brush.

Despite the destruction, crews were gaining ground, getting the blaze close to halfway contained Thursday after more than a week of erratic behavior. It is the largest of 23 fires statewide and takes up nearly a third of the 10,000 firefighters dispatched in drought-stricken California.

RelatedWinds fanning wildfires in California

So much for propaganda pre$$ progress.

Wildfires throughout the West have fed off dry conditions, allowing flames to spread in Washington state, Montana, Arizona, and elsewhere.

In California, Governor Jerry Brown visited fire crews Thursday, thanking emergency responders, volunteers, and hundreds of prisoners who have been helping fight the flames. He said the state is hotter and drier than it’s ever been, making blazes more severe and extending the fire season....


The smoke caused a car crash:

"Los Angeles police were searching Sunday for a hit-and-run driver who allegedly ran away and left his family behind after causing a crash that injured seven people, including two young children, in Hollywood."


This wasn't a very hot item, so....

"Wind, heat, dry land fueling wildfires across West" Associated Press  August 17, 2015

COLVILLE, Wash. — Firefighters across the Pacific Northwest worked Sunday to protect property from fast-moving wildfires fed by wind, heat, and parched terrain.

The fires have destroyed scores of homes in Oregon and Washington, cut power, and forced thousands of evacuations throughout the region.

A 70-year-old woman in Idaho died while preparing to flee as a wildfire expanded east of Lewiston. Major fires also were reported in California, Colorado, and Montana.

In central Washington, fire officials used air tankers, helicopters, and bulldozers to attack several large fires burning in the Chelan area that have destroyed more than 50 structures.

Fire spokesman Wayne Patterson said Sunday more fire crews, including from the Washington National Guard, were being mobilized to fight six fires burning in the area.


In California on Sunday, light winds helped crews increase containment of a wildfire that destroyed several cabins and charred nearly 2½ square miles of forest near Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, crews were mopping up a 189-acre fire that erupted Friday in Simi Valley, northwest of Los Angeles. In Northern California, firefighters made more gains against a wildfire 100 miles north of San Francisco.

Lightning storms across northwest Colorado are being blamed for several wildfires....

Related: Thunderstorms wreaked havoc across Massachusetts the night before Sunday


Also seeWildfire in central Washington prompts evacuations

"Hiker killed in collapse of ice caves" AP  July 08, 2015

VERLOT, Wash. — Extremely dangerous conditions are making it difficult for rescuers to recover the body of a 34-year-old woman who was buried when ice caves partially collapsed in Washington state amid warm temperatures, authorities said Tuesday.

Signs warn visitors of the hazards from ice and rock at the Big Four Ice Caves, a popular hiking destination about 70 miles northeast of Seattle. Warm weather has made the caves unstable this season, and the ice caves have been closed until further notice. Temperatures have been in the 80s.

I know, the world is boiling away.

Thousands of visitors walk a 1-mile trail to reach the ice caves, which are the lowest elevation for permanent snow and ice in the United States outside of Alaska. People go to the area surrounding the caves for the spectacular mountain scenery and to escape the summer heat.

The caves are formed by avalanches that cascade down from 6,135-foot Big Four Mountain during the winter and spring. Most years, one or more caves form as the ice melts. The US Forest Service has warned hikers that the ice caves are dangerous due to unseasonably warm weather.

That reminds me: whatever happened up in Nepal?

That hasn’t kept hikers out of the caves. A different section came tumbling down on Sunday, but none of the hikers inside were injured.

Chloe Jakubowski, 18, told The Seattle Times that she and a handful of others were in the cave Monday when she heard a loud crack, then ice and debris cascaded down.

She said she saw the warning signs outside but went in anyway, because she didn’t see anything that seemed to point toward a collapse and others were already in the cave....


"Calif. search ends with suspect’s death" Associated Press  August 16, 2015

RIDGECREST, Calif. — An 18-day police search in the mountainous high desert of central California ended when two deputies opened fire on a man who pulled out a handgun during a confrontation on a rural road, authorities said Sunday.

One of the more than two people day killed by law enforcement.

Benjamin Peter Ashley, 34, was struck by several rounds after he failed to comply with orders to drop the weapon as he walked toward foothills east of Bakersfield on Saturday, Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood said.

Ashley may have turned the 9mm handgun on himself after being shot by the deputies, Youngblood said. An autopsy was planned for Monday to determine the cause of death.

‘‘He either died from his injuries or he shot himself and died. It’s hard to confirm at this point,’’ Youngblood said.

Yeah, okay, whatever you say.

Three other weapons, including a pair of .44-caliber handguns, were found on Ashley’s person and in a backpack he was carrying, the sheriff said.

The confrontation came after the owner of a rural convenience store reported that a man matching Ashley’s description had come in and bought about $100 worth of junk food.

‘‘He was dirty. He looked like he had been hiking for days,’’ Gary Welfl, the owner of Brady’s Mini-Mart in Inyokern, told KERO-TV.

Dozens of deputies and officers from various agencies had been searching in remote terrain about 30 miles east of Bakersfield for Ashley, who was described as a homeless man. He is suspected of killing a retired dentist, taking three men hostage, and wounding two deputies.

I'm sure I could find a link, but I'm lost.


There is another fire smoldering, but that is for another time and place.