Fires in the Homeland


You may have noticed the smoke in the air or maybe the redness of the moon at night. There's a reason for that -- it's called fires in the West. In fact, the largest fire, The Bootleg Fire is burning just north of where I grew up in Klamath Falls. It's now nearing 400,000 acres (the 3rd largest in Oregon history). Fires are becoming more and more common out west. Fires are caused by lots of different things. Lightning is a big cause of forest fires. Campfires left unattended are another, as well as downed power lines due to wind storms is another. Some are purposely started. Fires are common in history, especially in the West. The difference is that they are becoming more frequent and ever larger. 

Growing up I took to heart the message of Smoky the Bear -- Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires. It's something you imbibe when you live next door to a US Forest Service Fire Control Officer whom you idolized. The message is still true, but the meaning has changed. It's not just campfires and cigarette buts we have to be concerned about (though that's important). More importantly, it's the reality of global climate change. The West is suffering from a major drought that is leaving the vegetation dryer and more apt to not only catch fire but spread. Why is the vegetation dryer? Well, the temperatures are rising. i grew up in Oregon and Northern California. A hot day might reach 90, but never 100. That is now common in places like Portland and Seattle. 

Interestingly, while the West is on fire, the Southeast and Midwest is being inundated with flooding rains. I'd love to share some of the rain with my friends out West. But of course I can't.

But, perhaps this is a wake-up call. Though I'm not hopeful.

Nevertheless, perhaps the sight of a bear cub up a tree will speak to your heart and call you to change habits. 



Anonymous said…
Can you do something about the red font on the dark gray background? Fairly impossible to read...

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