‘Explosive’ Southern California Lake Fire Spreads to 10,000 Acres Within Hours
An "explosive" wildfire ignited in Los Angeles county Wednesday, growing to 10,000 acres in a little less than three hours.
The so-called Lake Fire, which prompted evacuations and road closures, is remarkable for spreading so fast so early in the fire season without strong winds to drive it.
"It's pretty explosive fire behavior," Angeles National Forest Fire Chief Robert Garcia told CBS Los Angeles. "It's typically what we see a little bit later in the season and often driven by wind. The fuel, moisture conditions and the fire at this particular location with the slope, it really created the recipe for rapid fire growth."
|Update| The #LakeFire has grown to 10,000 acres and is 0% contained. https://t.co/gNuygunYX4— Angeles_NF (@Angeles_NF)1597282476.0
The fire ignited around 3:40 p.m. Wednesday and is still zero percent contained, according to the most recent information from the U.S. Forest Service's InciWeb. It is burning about 65 miles northeast of Los Angeles in the Angeles National Forest, between Lake Hughes and Lake Castaic, USA TODAY reported.
Evacuations were ordered for the entire Lake Hughes area Wednesday night. All told, residents of around 100 homes and buildings were told to flee.
Evacuees were directed to the Highland High School, but, because of the coronavirus pandemic, will have to remain in their cars, CBS LA reported.
In addition to its early start and rapid spread, the fire is notable because it is burning vegetation that hasn't been set ablaze since 1968.
"Portions of the forest [haven't] had a significant amount of fire in a very long time, 1968, for a large portion of that area, it hasn't burned since then," Garcia told ABC 7.
I have never seen anything like this. The #LakeFire is moving fast toward Lake Hughes. It created a fire tornado on… https://t.co/7DZeWe2rVS— Veronica Miracle (@Veronica Miracle)1597289834.0
There have been no reports of injuries and no official tally of structural damage, according to ABC 7. However, the fire was seen burning several homes.
Reporter Veronica Miracle tweeted that she had spoken to a man who had fled his home as a wall of flames approached.
"He thinks his house is gone," she said.
Just spoke to a man who lives up the street from this road block. He says when he left his home there was a wall of… https://t.co/cW3pLDSWLm— Veronica Miracle (@Veronica Miracle)1597286040.0
Television footage early Thursday showed buildings burned to the ground, The Associated Press reported, but it was not clear if they were homes or not. Los Angeles County Deputy Fire Chief David Richardson said Wednesday night the flames might have burned some outbuildings.
More than 500 firefighters are combating the blaze, according to InciWeb. The area is expected to record temperatures in the 90s this afternoon.
Smoke from the fire could be seen from as far as Venice Beach Wednesday.
#LakeFire view from Venice Beach provided by @LACoLifeguards. #LACoFD https://t.co/84jv0gSoVU— L.A. County Fire Department (@L.A. County Fire Department)1597274994.0
- 10 Wildfires Ignite Around Los Angeles in Unseasonable Wind and ... ›
- 550,000 Acres on Fire in Alaska in Latest Sign of the Climate Crisis ... ›
- Sonoma County Wildfire Spreads 7000 Acres in Less Than Five Hours ›
- What Should We Know About Wildfires in California - EcoWatch ›
- California's Rainless February Points to Dangerous Drought, Early ... ›
- Bond Fire South of LA Forces 25,000 to Flee ›
- Downtown Los Angeles Under Rare Wildfire Risk as Strong Winds Rattle California - EcoWatch ›
A tornado tore through a city north of Birmingham, Alabama, Monday night, killing one person and injuring at least 30.
- Tornadoes and Climate Change: What Does the Science Say ... ›
- Tornadoes Hit Unusually Wide Swaths of U.S., Alarming Climate ... ›
- 23 Dead as Tornado Pummels Lee County, AL in Further Sign ... ›
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By David Konisky
On his first day in office President Joe Biden started signing executive orders to reverse Trump administration policies. One sweeping directive calls for stronger action to protect public health and the environment and hold polluters accountable, including those who "disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities."
Michael S. Regan, President Biden's nominee to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, grew up near a coal-burning power plant in North Carolina and has pledged to "enact an environmental justice framework that empowers people in all communities." NCDEQ
- Report Urges Biden to Reverse Trump's Environmental Rollbacks ›
- US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ›
- Biden's EPA Pick Michael Regan Urged to Address Environmental ... ›
- Biden Faces Pressure to Tackle 'Unfunded' Toxic Waste Sites ... ›
By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.
By Jewel Fraser
Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.