User Rating: 5 / 5

Star ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar ActiveStar Active

Wild fires are raging out of control in the Western U.S.

In 2015 wildfires have burned over 8 9 million acres of land in the United States In 2015 wildfires have burned over 8 9 million acres of land in the United States As a wildfire raged through Anderson Springs California on a Saturday, September 12, a resident took a video of the escape from the inferno. It is a frightening but all too real part of life in parts of the U.S. However, it’s not uncommon to hear news of wildfires raging over massive areas of land in the western United States during the summer and early fall. This year has been particularly trying on firefighters as a near record 8.9 million acres burned (36017 sq. Km), an area that is larger than many states.

The vast majority of activity during this wildfire season has been in Alaska. A typical season sees around 800,000 acres (3237 sq. Km) of land burned. Earlier this summer, fires raged out of control with 5.2 million acres (21043 sq. Km) incinerated which is an area larger than Massachusetts. In the last 50 years, 2004 had the worst wildfire season. The main reason why these fires have spread out of control has been a landscape that is becoming drier. Alaska has experienced a faster temperature rise than the rest of the U.S. Temperatures reached record numbers this summer following a 2014 season which was the warmest on record. Little snowpack and drought in recent years created perfect conditions to feed a fire.

To date, 742 fires burned through Alaska’s Boreal forest, which lies in the states interior. With the massive size of the state, many of these fires were in locations far from civilization, making them difficult to reach. In many cases, these fires were left to their own devices and just allowed to burn. During a speech while visiting Anchorage, President Obama had said "Alaska's fire season is now more than a month longer than it was in 1950. At one point this summer, more than 300 wildfires were burning at once." According to Sam Harrel, a spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's Alaska Fire Service, 10,000 – 15,000 lightning strikes over a three day period was a major cause for these fires. 417 of the 700 plus fires have been linked to lighting strikes.

An area burned by the Butte fire in Northern California An area burned by the Butte fire in Northern California While most Alaskan fires were far away from civilization, other states have not been so lucky. In California, Governor Jerry Brown issued a state of emergency and 23,000 people were forced to leave their homes. One of the blazes, called The Valley Fire has grown into one of the worst fires in the state’s history. The Valley fire began in the town of Cobb, about 100 miles north of San Francisco. Over 2000 buildings have been destroyed to date including 1300 homes. At least seven people died as a result after being unable to escape their homes. Over $200 million dollars have been spent battling the fires in California and damages are estimated to add hundreds of millions more to that number.

According to the U.S. Forest Service, the season in which these fires range is an average of 70 days longer than it was in the 1970’s and burn twice the amount of land than in the 1990’s. While record drought and higher temperatures driven by climate change are major players, they are not the only reason. Many experts point to the act of fighting these fires rather than letting them burn. On small, controlled levels, forest fires can be beneficial. They clear the forest of excess undergrowth, help the production of nitrogen in soil, eliminate dead trees, and stimulate seed production of trees. They also clear the forest floor of excess leaves, sticks, and dead trees, all of which are excellent sources of tinder that can stimulate fires. Because of the methods of fire suppression used, a buildup of excess tinder occurs.

The U.S. government spent $3 billion on fighting and preventing forest fires. The vast majority goes to protecting homes that are at risk for fires. In the western U.S. alone, 897,000 homes are in risky areas for wildfires. With wildfire costs already exceeding budgets and the population of at risk areas increasing, extra strain is put on the professionals who fight them. The future looks even grimmer as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted an increase 6 fold in wildfires. As the Western U.S. continues to dry up, risk will only increase for those living in major populated area.

By Daniel J. SteigerDaniel J. SteigerDaniel J. Steiger

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can Tweet, Like us on Facebook, Share, Google+, Pinit, print and email from the top of this article.

Copyright © 2015, DPNLIVE – All Rights Reserved.



News - General News - Environment

  • Flint Water Plant
    May 13, 2016

    The Flint Water Crisis

    How a failure in government led created a tragedy. By Daniel J. Steiger “I’ve got your…
  • Satimat swatch
    Nov 20, 2015

    Satimat Swatch Updated

    Antalis produces new Satimat swatch. Antalis UK has produced a new Satimat swatch. The…
  • In 2015 wildfires have burned over 8 9 million acres of land in the United States
    Sep 25, 2015

    Fighting Fires

    Wild fires are raging out of control in the Western U.S. As a wildfire raged through…
  • Cecil the Lion
    Sep 11, 2015

    Africa’s Big Game

     The killing of Cecil the Lion is a small piece of a huge issue. Walter Palmer quickly…
  • Great White Shark
    Jul 31, 2015

    When Sharks Attack

    Do swimmers have to be afraid to enter coastal Carolina waters? The very mention of…
  • Currents of the Atlantic Ocean
    Jun 19, 2015

    The Atlantic Ocean Is Cooling Down

    Temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean will alter weather conditions around the…
  • Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang
    May 29, 2015

    All Aboard the Amazon Express

    China Announces Plans to Build a Railway Through the Amazon Rainforest Chinese Prime…
  • Mimaki Inks attain GREENGUARD GOLD Accreditation
    May 25, 2015

    Mimaki Inks Receive GREENGUARD GOLD Accreditation

    The benefits of original Mimaki inks further emphasised by latest GREENGUARD GOLD…
  • Lead Was Phased out of gasoline in the U S beginning in 1976
    May 15, 2015

    Get The Lead Out

    Many years after removing lead from product, poisoning is still an issue. For those who…
  • limbitless solutions
    Apr 24, 2015

    Is 3d Printing Environmentally Friendly?

     This technology is making an impact, but is it all positive? Limbitless Solutions is a…
  • 9 8 billion K-cups were sold in 2014
    Mar 27, 2015

    A Conveniently Growing Problem

    *K-Cups have experienced explosive growth but not all is great with the popular…
  • A view of the sunrise on top of Mount Haleakala
    Mar 18, 2015

    The Aloha State

    Hawaii may seem perfect, but it is not problem free! It is an exhilarating experience…
  • Earthquake damage on a roadway
    Feb 06, 2015

    Earthquakes That Are Man Made?

    Earthquakes are occurring in areas where they were once rare. When the topic of…
  • Jan 09, 2015

    The NHL Has The Mumps

    The virus gains attention as it spreads through hockey. While the National Hockey League…
  • A roof collapsed at Schmidt's Collision and Glass after taking heavy snowfall
    Dec 05, 2014

    How Much Snow Is Too Much?

    Even snowy Buffalo, NY gets challenged by winter weather. There are not too many things…
  • Power Plant
    Nov 24, 2014

    Let’s Make A Deal (on emissions)

    Can an agreement work between the world’s leading carbon emitters? As we progress toward…
  • cat & coyote
    Oct 31, 2014

    While The Coyotes Away The Cats Will Play

     What happens when the coyote adapts to city life? Do you know where your cat goes at…
  • Symptoms of Ebola
    Oct 17, 2014

    Ebola in America

    Is this deadly disease a real threat, or just sensationalized! Thomas Eric Duncan arrived…
  • climate summit march New York September 2014
    Oct 03, 2014

    The Peoples Climate March

    Massive numbers of people gather for climate change. Driving in Manhattan is a fun…
  • Tesla Model S
    Sep 16, 2014

    Tesla's Announces New Battery Plant

    Can Tesla produce a more affordable electric vehicle? Tesla Motors Inc made headlines on…
  • the look of a curious mind Daniel Steiger
    Aug 23, 2014

    Ladies And Gentlemen: The Beetles

    Nauseating little creatures that can impact the future. Beetles are very impactful in…
  • The Look of a Curious Mind
    Aug 08, 2014

    Yeast Rising

    A tiny microbe capable of amazing things. Many people in the United States have taken to…
  • the look of a curious mind
    Jul 18, 2014

    Turtle Crossing

    A very unusual reason for flight delays. John F Kennedy international airport sits 12…
  • The Look of a Curious Mind
    Jun 27, 2014

    All About Coral.

    Small organisms that carry a lot of weight. The warmer months provide me with a great…
  • L - R Jacinta Sullivan, Project Hangup with David  Borrington from Dekkle Printmaking Studio
    Jun 06, 2014

    Project Hangup

    Antalis lends support to latest design-led ‘Project Hangup’ environmental…
  • Two Sides Logo
    May 30, 2014

    Is Greenwashing Returning?

    Are Banks reneging on promises to move away from misleading environmental marketing? It…
  • The Look of a Curious Mind
    May 09, 2014

    A Whale Of A Tale

    The World’s Largest Animal is Quite Intriguing. One of my favorite exhibits at the…
  • the look of a curious mind
    Apr 25, 2014

    Yellowstone: Is it going to blow?

    Recent activity at Yellowstone National Park has people wondering.I saw a video recently…
  • the look of a curious mind
    Apr 04, 2014

    Oil And Water Don’t Mix

    The Galveston Bay oil spill looms large in a region still recovering from a previous…
  • the look of a curious mind
    Mar 14, 2014

    Everything Is Drying Up

    California’s Record Drought may only be just beginning. California has grabbed many…
  • the look of a curious mind
    Feb 21, 2014

    Microbes Are The Good Guys

    Extreme organisms that are not only important, they may change science. The nature of…
  • the look of a curious mind
    Feb 01, 2014

    Maintaining Balance

    Simple changes can have a profound effect on ecosystems. The Leeds Pond Preserve sits…
  • the look of a curious mind
    Jan 10, 2014

    Shaping Our Future

    Advances in technology will change the way we get energy It seems very easy to get…
  • the look of a curious mind
    Nov 29, 2013

    Preserve The Preserve

    Educating youth plays an important role in the environment. At a recent holiday event at…
  • Daniel Steiger - the look of a curious mind
    Nov 15, 2013

    Watch Out! There’s A Hurricane Coming Through

    Is global warming causing tropical activity to increase? It was pure luck that I was able…
  • The look of a curious mind
    Oct 25, 2013

    Who’s Afraid Of A GMO?

    Engineered food product debate continues in the US. It was interesting to see a group of…
  • Shelf of nappies
    Sep 14, 2012

    The Nappy Mountain

    Parents anxious to reduce their children’s carbon foot print and are looking for…
  • NatureNetting at London Olympics 2012
    Sep 07, 2012

    New Environmentally Friendly Material from CERES MEDIA INTERNATIONAL

    A Compostable Screening Material Currently Approved and Available Commercially. UK based…
  • Petrol-tank
    Aug 03, 2012

    The environmental cost of diesel laundering

    Multi-million euro business costs the exchequer over 100m a year in lost tax revenue. It…
  • Old style garden
    Jul 06, 2012

    The vanishing gardens of suburbia

    What is the result of this cementing over of once green earth? When my family came to…
  • Green-Room-garden---Bloom-2012
    Jun 20, 2012

    Blooming gardens

    Great to look at but do they pose environmental difficulties The typical Irish urban…
  • Jun 08, 2012

    The case of the disappearing bees

    Each spring, the pear farmers of Sichuan province in China get out their ladders and…

Newsletter Signup

Signup to our newsletter