Trump threatens to halt federal disaster relief funding for California wildfires

January 11, 2019 by  
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President Trump has threatened to withhold federal disaster aid from California after a series of deadly wildfires devastated the state. For months, the POTUS has accused California of bringing the wildfires on itself because of poor forest management. But in a recent tweet, he took things further by threatening to halt federal aid, and this drew criticism from lawmakers in his own political party. “Billions of dollars are sent to the State of California for Forest fires that, with proper Forest Management, would never happen,” Trump tweeted just one day after Western governors asked for greater federal funding for wildfire prevention. “Unless they get their act together, which is unlikely, I have ordered FEMA to send no more money. It is a disgraceful situation in lives & money!” the president wrote, referring to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. However, this appears to an empty threat, because President Trump lacks the authority to cut funding under federal statutes. One law specifically bars the president from delaying or impeding disaster relief once there has been a disaster declaration. The research shows that the growing rate and intensity of California wildfires is largely because of the prolonged drought in the state, which is a symptom of climate change . But the Trump administration has downplayed the role of climate change in the worsening wildfires. The president’s recent tweet drew criticism from California’s top republicans, like Senator Jim Nielsen and Assemblyman James Gallagher, who said in a joint statement that Trump’s threats are “wholly unacceptable.” They added that people have lost everything in the fires, and they expect the federal government to follow through on its promise to help. In November, Trump toured the Camp Fire zone and promised to “take care of the people who have been so badly hurt.” FEMA said that it can’t respond to questions about Trump’s order because of the partial government shutdown. Federal agencies manage more than half of California’s 33 million acres of forest lands, with state and local agencies controlling only 3 percent. The rest of the forest lands are privately owned. Via Reuters Image via Peter Buschmann

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Trump threatens to halt federal disaster relief funding for California wildfires

Thousands of animals have been displaced by California wildfires

November 14, 2018 by  
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The California wildfires are raging on, but humans aren’t the only ones in danger. Thousands of pets and farm animals have received attention in Northern and Southern California while over 400 square miles continue to burn. Over the past few days, the fires have led to mass evacuations, jammed roads and packed shelters. The animals caught in the blazes are also trying to figure out where to escape. In Malibu last Friday, horses, goats and alpacas packed the shoreline along with humans, and a parking lot became an evacuation zone. Multiple photos have surfaced of animals tied to things like lifeguard towers and fences while smoke fills the background. Related: The fearless dog who refused to leave his goats during the Santa Rosa wildfire “There was just no time to do anything,” said Talley Hutcherson, a ranch owner. “Within hours, we had to make the decision to come to the beach because the [Pacific Coast Highway] was shut down.” Hutcherson’s decision to evacuate to the beach with eight horses required her to make multiple trips back and forth. Searchers combing through areas affected by the California wildfires have rescued hundreds of animals — including dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, ducks, and a tortoise https://t.co/eY2uwf8E5U — CNN (@CNN) November 14, 2018 According to the Huffington Post , animal shelters throughout Southern California are reaching capacity. But there are many shelters in the Los Angeles area that are still open and requesting donations. These facilities are caring for hundreds of animals , including horses, pigs and rabbits. The Los Angeles Zoo also briefly evacuated some animals last Friday while firefighters battled to contain a fire in nearby Griffith Park. The zoo does have an emergency evacuation plan in place when needed, and it eventually returned the animals to their habitats. But not all animals in the evacuation zones have been able to get to safety. Photos from the fires have shown injured and dead animals that became overwhelmed from smoke or flames. There has also been concern on social media for a popular giraffe and other animals at Malibu Wines and Saddlerock Ranch. The ranch was under evacuation orders but didn’t appear to have an emergency evacuation plan in place. Several buildings on the property ended up being damaged or destroyed by the fire, and when a USA Today reporter arrived over the weekend, the ranch looked empty except for one worker and the giraffe. Many people were extremely unhappy that the giraffe, named Stanley, was left behind. Via Huffington Post and USA Today Image via NASA

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Thousands of animals have been displaced by California wildfires

Wildfires and drought cause national forest closures in New Mexico and Colorado

June 13, 2018 by  
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Blazes in Colorado closed the 1.8-million-acre San Juan National Forest this week. The 416 Fire is burning on 25,900 acres and is 15 percent contained, according to a June 13 Facebook post . Meanwhile, in New Mexico , the 1.6-million-acre Santa Fe National Forest was closed “due to extreme fire danger.”  NPR quoted San Juan National Forest Fire Staff Officer Richard Bustamante as saying fire risks are at “historic levels.” The San Juan National Forest spans across nine counties, and the last full closure was in 2002. The forest order , signed by forest supervisor Kara Chadwick, says the purpose “is to protect natural resources and public safety due to the impacts of the wildland fire.” Related: NASA map shows how climate change has set the world on fire Bustamante said, “Under current conditions, one abandoned campfire or spark could cause a catastrophic wildfire , and we are not willing to take that chance with the natural and cultural resources under our protection and care, or with human life and property.” The residents of more than 2,000 homes were told to evacuate; a June 12 night update said the evacuation order for San Juan County residents would lift this morning, although people would require Rapid Tag resident credentials to return. At the time of writing, no structures have been destroyed, and 1,029 people are working the fire. The Burro Fire is also burning in the San Juan National Forest on 2,684 acres (as of last night) and is zero percent contained. The cause for both fires is under investigation. In New Mexico, some districts of the Cibola National Forest and National Grasslands will be closed effective Friday. “The Cibola is a high-use forest, so this is not a decision that we made lightly,” said Fire Staff Officer Matt Rau. “The forest is tinder dry and the monsoons may still be a few weeks out. We need to take every action possible to reduce the risk of human-caused fires.” Via NPR Image via Depositphotos

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Wildfires in Siberia are emitting enough carbon to harm the entire planet

May 16, 2018 by  
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Wildfires are raging in Russia and Siberia , and they could have drastic consequences for the entire planet. Blazes burning in the Amur region since the start of 2018 have damaged an area around six times bigger than during the same time period in 2017, according to Greenpeace — and they have released nearly twice the annual carbon emissions of Moscow in a single month. This spring, dry, warm conditions in Siberia have readied the area for wildfires, according to Earther — and in May, the fires have picked up in a big way. Local farmers sometimes light fires in Siberia to replenish soil nutrients or clear land, but winds can cause the fires to blaze out of control. And more of the #AmurOblast wildfires? #Russia ?? 09 May 2018 #Copernicus #Sentinel -2B?? Album with even more and full-size images here: https://t.co/j0NIs2BNuS #wildfire #????????????????? pic.twitter.com/ddvP1jdKTE — Pierre Markuse (@Pierre_Markuse) May 12, 2018 Related: NASA map shows how climate change has set the world on fire Following a winter with little snow and strong winds, areas in Siberia that were forests just a few decades ago have succumbed to intense wildfires. And these out-of-control fires aren’t just bad news for locals, but for people all over the Earth: experts estimate that the Amur fire has released around 110 megatons of carbon dioxide . According to Greenpeace, “Each wildfire heats up the planet. At the scale we’re seeing in Amur, that’s a large amount of CO2, and a major setback in efforts to meet Paris Climate Agreement goals.” Soot from the wildfires also doesn’t bode well for the planet. Wind can carry black carbon to Arctic ice and snow, impairing their reflective properties, which “increases the amount of solar radiation absorbed by the surface” and “accelerates the melting of snow and ice,” Greenpeace said. Humans are responsible for as much as 90 percent of wildfires — but this means they can also prevent them, by taking steps like completely extinguishing cigarettes or bonfires and never leaving fires unattended. Via Greenpeace and Earther Images via Depositphotos (1)

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Florida coral reefs plagued with mysterious disease

May 16, 2018 by  
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With coral reefs under threat worldwide, researchers in Florida are racing to understand and treat a mysterious disease that threatens to decimate the third-largest coral reef on Earth. Over the past four years, the as-yet unidentified, potentially bacterial disease has already had a significant impact on Florida’s coral species, half of which are fatally vulnerable to the disease. “When they’re affected by this, the tissue sloughs off the skeleton,” Erinn Muller, science director at Mote Marine Lab’s Center for Coral Reef Research and Restoration in the Florida Keys, explained to NPR . “And we see that once a coral is infected, it usually kills the entire coral, sometimes within weeks. And it doesn’t seem to stop.” After being hired by the State of Florida to study the health of coral reefs near Miami , scientist William Precht first observed the disease moving from coral to coral, with particularly devastating effects on star and brain coral. “This is essentially equivalent to a local extinction , an ecological extirpation of these species locally,” Precht told NPR . “And when you go out and swim on the reefs of Miami-Dade County today, it would be a very rare chance encounter that you’d see some of these three or four species.” Related: Scientists made a liquid ‘umbrella’ to protect coral reefs from sun damage Researchers at Mote Marine Lab are hard at work to determine how to protect coral from the mysterious disease . “Anything from… looking at chlorine-laced epoxy as an antiseptic, and even looking at how antibiotics interact with the disease,” Muller said. “Because if it is bacterial, then antibiotics would be a way to stop it.” Mote Marine Lab is also serving as a nursery for baby coral, which are released into the wild when they are ready. At this moment, the reefs under siege will need all the help they can get. “We’re really at a critical juncture right now, where we have corals left on the reef,” said Muller. “Before we lose more corals, now is the time to start making a change.” Via NPR Images via  NOAA National Ocean Service   (1)

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NASA builds more advanced shelters to protect firefighters from wildfires

August 9, 2016 by  
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Back in 2013, 19 firefighters died in Arizona because their emergency shelters didn’t protect them. NASA scientists realized materials in a space project they were working on might be useful, so they teamed up with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to help design a safer emergency fire shelter that would better protect firefighters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgiPZbtbaOQ NASA engineer Mary Beth Wusk said in a press release, “The huge loss of those firefighters made some of us at NASA think about how our research might help improve firefighter survivability.” NASA researchers were working on ” flexible thermal protection systems for inflatable heat shields ,” and realized the material that could someday help astronauts enter the atmosphere safely could also save lives here on Earth. They contacted USFS and initiated the CHIEFS program, or Convective Heating Improvement for Emergency Fire Shelters, to adapt the space technology for fire shelters firefighters use if they get trapped while battling wildfires . Related: 7 NASA discoveries that will blow your mind It’s not as simple as just turning heat shields into shelters. Emergency fire shelters have to be small and lightweight so firefighters can carry them easily. Shelters have to guard against flames, heat, and gases. USFS Fire Shelter Project lead Anthony Petrilli used to be a firefighter. In 1994 he and seven others successfully used fire shelters to survive a fire, but 14 other firefighters died. Petrilli said, “Our project is trying to take advantage of advances in materials that may offer better protection by slowing the transfer of heat through the shelter layers.” NASA fire shelter designs have already undergone several tests, including in a controlled burn in Canada forests. While prototypes are still being tested, engineers anticipate turning in results to USFS early next year. Shelter prototypes could be delivered to firefighters in the summer of 2017, and if all goes well an updated shelter will be ready in 2018. + NASA Images via U.S. Forest Service/Ian Grob

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NASA builds more advanced shelters to protect firefighters from wildfires

Water Theft on the Rise as California Drought Drags On

November 14, 2014 by  
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As the Californian drought drags on and on, water theft is on the rise around the state. Given the severity of the situation – with almost 60 percent of the state currently experiencing exceptional drought – it is perhaps unsurprising that people are  getting desperate . However reports indicate that some people are attempting to sell water on the black market, leading to calls for penalties for water theft to be drastically increased. Read the rest of Water Theft on the Rise as California Drought Drags On Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: black market , california drought , crime , Drought , fines , growing black market for water in California , water issues , water theft , water wastage , wildfire

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Weed Wildfire Leaves Hundreds Without Homes, Jobs

September 18, 2014 by  
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What would you do if all your most cherished possessions suddenly went up in smoke? That’s the situation facing dozens of families in Weed, California right now as a fast-moving wildfire destroyed about 150 buildings in the Northern California logging town on Monday. According to the LA Times , the wildfire that did all the destruction, at 375 acres, was relatively small in the scope of the massive wildfires that have burned through California this year. Yet it was able to wreak significant damage in a short period of time, burning down two churches, a library and a community organization that aided the poor. The town also lost machinery at its plywood mill – putting many out of work. Read the rest of Weed Wildfire Leaves Hundreds Without Homes, Jobs Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: buildings , burns , California , Drought , emergency , fire , forestry , Homes , weed , Weed fire , Weed wildfire , wildifire

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INFOGRAPHIC: Amazing Facts About the World’s Tallest and Most Iconic Skyscrapers

September 18, 2014 by  
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Thanks to architectural advancements, it seems like all major cities around the world have entered a skyscraper race-for-the-sky. To track the progress and history of these super tall towers, window & door guys created an information-packed “Super Tall Skyscrapers” infographic. From a snapshot look at the Burj Khalifa to a rundown on the evolution of the skyscraper, this infographic takes you around the globe into the backstory of some of the world’s most iconic architecture. Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Amazing Facts About the World’s Tallest and Most Iconic Skyscrapers Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: burj khalifa , iconic towers , infographic , reader submitted content , skyscrapers , super tall skyscrapers infographic , super tall towers , window & door guys

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Titanium Golf Clubs Could be Responsible for Igniting California Wildfires

March 25, 2014 by  
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Golfers who land shots into the rough may be igniting more than foul tempers, a string of expletives, and poor scores. According to scientists from UC Irvine , titanium golf clubs that come in contact with rocks can produce sparks reaching temperatures of up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit and last long enough to set dry brush on fire. With California experiencing its worst drought in recorded history, the parched plants need very little provocation to burst into flame. Read the rest of Titanium Golf Clubs Could be Responsible for Igniting California Wildfires Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: arroyo trabujo golf club , burn cycle , California , california drought , dry foliage , fire adaptive community , golf course , high speed camera , james earthman , mission viejo , rough , scanning electron microscope , shady canyon golf course , southwest , titanium alloy , titanium alloy golf club , uc irvine , water conservation , wildfire        

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