'The Fire Is Still Out of Control': Fast-Moving Wildfire Burns in Southern California
California is burning again. A massive wildfire fueled by powerful Santa Ana winds has spread some 31,000 acres in Southern California, destroying 150 structures and forcing 27,000 people to evacuate.
The Thomas Fire started Monday night in Santa Paula and has burned into the city limits of Ventura, just north of Los Angeles, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. Five-hundred fire fighters are on site with additional fire resources en-route.
One person has been killed in a vehicle accident blamed on the fire, CBS News reported. One firefighter has also been injured.
"The fire is still out of control," the fire department said. The menacing blaze has been zero percent contained as of Tuesday morning.
The Incident Commander reported that "winds are increasing, expect fire behavior to increase over the entire incident."
#ÚltimaHora: 436 hogares en peligro en Santa Paula, residentes ordenados a evacuar. 2,500 acres y 0% de contenido -… https://t.co/ZTjy2M12gL— KVEA Asignaciones (@KVEA Asignaciones)1512451817.0
The National Weather Service warned that high wind watches with damaging gusts up to 60 mph will likely need to be expanded for late Wednesday night into Thursday.
"This has the potential to be the strongest and longest duration Santa Ana wind event we have seen so far this season," the agency said. "The Santa Ana winds will bring an extended period of extreme fire danger, with Red Flag Warnings in effect for much of Los Angeles County and all of Ventura County."
"The fire growth is just absolutely exponential," Ventura County Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen said. "All that firefighters can do when we have winds like this is get out ahead, evacuate people, and protect structures."
#ThomasFire - incident commander reporting winds are increasing, expect fire behavior to increase over the entire incident. #VCFD— VCFD PIO (@VCFD PIO)1512474561.0
The wildfire also left thousands without power. But Southern California Edison said in its latest update at 2:55 am that power has been restored to all of the 83,000 customers in the Santa Barbara county area who were without power, and most of the 180,000 customers who were without power in the Ventura county area.
The power company warned: "Some customers in fire-affected areas should be prepared to be without power for days because of damage caused by the fire."
The latest incident report from the Ventura County Fire Department as of 4 am stated:
“The fire is still out of control and structures continue to be threatened throughout the fire area. Due to the intensity of the fire, crews are having trouble making access and there are multiple reports of structures on fire. Fire crews from many different agencies are actively working on the incident. There are 500 fire fighters on scene with additional fire resources enroute. There are approximately 100 Sheriff's Office personnel, as well as law enforcement officers from the Santa Paula Police Department, Ventura Police Department and California Highway Patrol assisting with evacuations and road closures. The County of Ventura, City of Santa Paula and City of Ventura have all proclaimed a local emergency."
"We urge you, you must abide by these evacuation notices," Ventura County Sheriff Jeff Dean told reporters Monday. "We saw the disasters and the losses that happened up north in Sonoma and this is a fast, very dangerous moving fire."
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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