Category: PATA_Wildfire_California2_related Wildfires_MN

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In a Cloud of Wildfire Smoke, the Pacific Northwest Breathes Uneasily

By James Ross Gardner

Now we can’t even go outside. Here, in the first region of the U.S. hit by the coronavirus pandemic—where we’ve been told to avoid human touch longer than anywhere else, to contain ourselves within six-foot bubbles when outside—we can no longer venture from our homes at all. Thanks to the wildfires raging in California, Oregon, and Washington, stepping outdoors, according to health officials, may be harmful. In the past few days, Portland, by one measure, has ranked No. 1 for the worst air quality on earth. Seattle has ranked No. 2.


COVID-19 complicates California’s record-setting wildfire season

By Rebecca Beitsch and Scott Wong Photo by Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic has severely complicated efforts to fight devastating wildfires raging in California and other parts of the West. The health and economic shutdown meant that volunteers who usually clear undergrowth and brush each spring were forced to stay home. And prison work crews have been sidelined as COVID-19 hit correctional facilities and infected inmates.


Oregon officials concerned wildfires could cause widespread death after a million acres burn

By Timothy Bella, Marisa Iati and Hannah Knowles

Oregon officials say they are preparing for a large number of deaths from this week’s wildfires, with at least five people killed and dozens more missing amid blazes that have burned more than 1 million acres statewide.


Exasperated California Gov. Rips Climate Deniers As West Coast Burns

By Sarah Ruiz-Grossman

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) made an exasperated plea for people not to “debate” the reality of climate change, as his state experiences record-breaking heat and devastating wildfires.


As the West Coast Burns, Communities Unravel With Each Death

By Thomas Fuller and Giulia McDonnell Nieto del Rio Photo by Max Whittaker

The arrival of fire season in the American West always brings fear of fatalities, especially among the elderly and infirm, unable to escape the flames.


The Crisis in the Skies of San Francisco

By Anna Wiener Photograph by Stephen Lam / Reuters

There is a substantial corpus of writing on the merits and unreliability of California light—its clarity, iciness, fickleness, mood. None of it could account for the light in the Bay Area on Wednesday, September 9th: a dark, ochre stain, like a scrim over the sunrise, that deepened as the day wore on.


Explainers: Western Fires and Climate

By Peter Sinclair

Within a two-week span in August, California saw:

– the “fire tornado” just north of Lake Tahoe
– 130 degrees Fahrenheit heat in Death Valley, which may be the hottest temperature ever reliably recorded on Earth
– a largely dry thunderstorm with 11,000 lightning strikes across California over 72 hours, igniting more than 300 wildfires, including two of the three largest ever recorded in the state (and still growing), creating the worst air quality in the world
– one million acres burned in California in 2020 with 4 months to go in fire season
– tens of thousands of people evacuated from their homes as the fires drew near
– rolling power blackouts during a record heat wave
– gray, unhealthy air. A blood red sun. Flakes falling from the sky, coating everything below in a layer of white… not snow, but ash.


False Rumors That Activists Set Wildfires Exasperate Officials

By Kate Conger, Davey Alba and Mike Baker Photo by Kevin Jantzer

Law enforcement agencies said claims on social media that antifascist activists had set fires on the West Coast were unfounded.


Those Orange Western Skies and the Science of Light

By Adam Rogers Photo by Scott Strazzante

The sky above San Francisco was the color of television, tuned to the president. To be fair, I stole that punch line from Twitter, and nerd-lit snark about Donald Trump’s apparent choices in his alleged makeup won’t fix climate change and the worst North American fire season on record.