wildfires

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North America - Public Domain

By Michael Snyder – End Of The American Dream

What do you get when you add together one of the strongest El Ninos ever recorded, the worst year for wildfires in U.S. history, and unprecedented earthquake swarms in diverse places all over the country? Since the end of the summer, America has been hit with a truly unusual series of natural disasters. The state of Oklahoma has already set an all-time record for the number of earthquakes that it has experienced in a year, more acres have been burned by wildfires in the U.S. than we have ever seen before, and a “1,000 year rainfall” caused horrific flooding in South Carolina. Those are just a few examples of what we have been seeing, and many believe that this is just the beginning. So why is this happening? Is there something that connects all of these natural disasters together?

Let’s start by talking about earthquakes. In the past, we would expect to see earthquake activity along the west coast, but not much elsewhere.

Today, things have dramatically changed. For example, this year the state of Oklahoma has seen nearly eight times as many magnitude three or greater earthquakes as it did just two years ago

As 2015 nears its end, 850 earthquakes of magnitude three or greater have stirred the state of Oklahoma. Compared to 584 of the same magnitude in 2014 and 109 in 2013, the trend is clear: earthquakes are on the rise.

Other areas of the nation are experiencing highly unusual seismic activity as well. Just recently, east-central Idaho was hit by a swarm of more than 40 small earthquakes

More than 40 small earthquakes were recorded in east-central Idaho last week in what experts say is another earthquake swarm in the region.

Officials in the Challis area on Friday reported no damage from the micro-quakes that started Tuesday and have mostly gone unnoticed or unreported in an area with residents accustomed to more vigorous shaking.

But the temblors ranging up to 2.9 magnitude have perked up scientists trying to understand the fault system in the area where a 5.0 magnitude quake struck in January.

So why are we seeing so many earthquakes all of a sudden?

That is a question that none of the “experts” seem to have an answer for.

Meanwhile, we are currently on pace for the worst year for wildfires in the history of the United States. Earlier in the year this was not the case, but in August and September there was a sudden explosion of massive wildfires, and now it looks like we are going to easily break the all-time record by the end of this month

Continue reading at End Of The American Dream: Why Is The United States Being Hit By So Many Fires, Floods And Earthquakes?

About the author:

Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years.

Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream

Read his new book The Beginning of the End

City Skyline - Public Domain

By Michael Snyder – End Of The American Dream

First it was wildfires, then it was unprecedented flooding, and now it is earthquakes.  In the past two weeks alone, more than 400 earthquakes have shaken San Ramon – a small city that sits approximately 45 miles east of San Francisco.  Never before have so many earthquakes been recorded in that area in such a short span of time.  Standing alone, that earthquake swarm may not mean that much.  But when you stand back and look at all of the unusual events that have been happening since late September, a very disturbing picture begins to emerge.

But first, let’s talk about this earthquake swarm.  All over the planet, seismic activity seems to be increasing.  According to Volcano Discovery, dozens of volcanoes around the world have recently erupted, and Afghanistan was just hit by a massive 7.5-magnitude quake.  It was one of the worst earthquakes that Afghanistan has ever seen, and it is going to take months to deal with all of the damage.  So that is why it is so alarming that right now there is record breaking earthquake activity just outside of San Francisco

San Ramon, California, appears to have broken a new earthquake record over the last two weeks: A total of 408 small quakes have shaken the East Bay city, almost four times the record set in 2003 in half the amount of time.

“I’ve not felt so many tremors in decades,” Mark Stone said outside a San Ramon Starbucks on Tuesday morning. “My dog, Gimmel, she’s the first one to know a couple of seconds before.”

And his dog has been extra alert lately.

The state of California has been seeing a lot of disasters lately.  In late September, tremendous wildfires in the state were making headlines all over the planet.  In fact, Barack Obama formally declared the Valley Fire to be a “major disaster”, and federal funding was released to help fight it.  The following is from an NBC News article that was posted on September 23rd

Continue reading at End Of The American Dream: Swarm Of California Earthquakes Continues A Series Of Unusual Events That Began In Late September

About the author:

Michael T. Snyder is a graduate of the University of Florida law school and he worked as an attorney in the heart of Washington D.C. for a number of years.

Today, Michael is best known for his work as the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The American Dream

Read his new book The Beginning of the End

 

10 Plagues

By Michael Snyder

Why are so many plagues hitting the United States all of a sudden?  Yes, one can always point out bad stuff that is happening somewhere in the country, but right now we are facing a nightmarish combination of crippling drought, devastating wildfires, disastrous viruses, dying crops and superbugs that scientists don’t know how to kill.  And as you will see, we even have a plague of flies down in Mississippi.  So what in the world is going on?  Is this just a case of bad luck, or is something else happening?  At the conclusion of this article, please feel free to tell me what you think.  The following are ten plagues that are hitting America right now…

#1 The Plague Of Flies In The Upper Mississippi River Valley

This is perhaps the least dangerous plague, but it is also one of the most interesting.  Just recently, a plague of flies was so thick in the upper Mississippi River valley that it showed up on radar

The mayflies were detectable on radar around 845 pm and reports in the towns and cities began rolling in of the swarming and piles of mayflies. Numerous videos and pictures were circulating on social media, some of which are posted below as well.

The radar detected the flies about 845 pm, emanating from the river (the source) with echo values similar to that of light-moderate rain (35-40 dBZ). With a general south-to-north wind flow above the surface, the mayflies quickly moved north once in the air. As the flies dispersed moving north-northeast, they also gained altitude with some of the echo being detected as far north as Black River Falls and as high as 2500 feet above ground.

By late evening, mayflies were swarming in La Crosse, La Crescent, Stoddard and points up and down the river. While the emergence of mayflies from their river bottom mud dwelling can occur at various times through the warm season depending on the species, this particular emergence was that of the larger black/brown Bilineata species.

Here is one photo of the flies that was posted by the federal government…

Plague Of Flies In Mississippi - Government Photo Public Domain

#2 The Chikungunya Virus

As I wrote about the other day, down in Florida health officials have discovered the very first confirmed cases of the chikungunya virus to be transmitted locally.  In other words, it is now being passed to people that have not even traveled out of the country.

An epidemic of the virus has already been declared down in Puerto Rico, and authorities are deeply concerned about the possibility of one up here as well.

Already, cases of the virus have been reported in 30 different states and the total number of cases in the U.S. is more than five times higher than in any other recent year.

If you live in an area that has a lot of mosquitos, you might want to be very, very careful right about now because this is a virus that is exceedingly painful

With illness onset, the person develops high fever, chills, and joint pain, followed in some by a rash on the trunk, limbs and face lasting 3-4 days. Muscle and joint pain last about one week. Joint pain is often severe and in some people lasts longer, up to several months.

#3 The Wildfires Out West

The massive wildfires in Washington, Oregon and western Canada have spread clouds of smoke over vast areas of the northwest United States in recent days.  The following excerpt comes from a recent CNN report

Wildfires spanning almost 170,000 acres are driving hundreds of people from their homes in Washington state and across the border in Canada, officials said.

Washington authorities say the fires surged overnight to 168,713 acres in the state. The flames have encroached on towns.

Janet Pearce of the Washington state Department of Natural Resources said the four fires had not been contained as of Friday morning. An estimated 80 homes were destroyed and cell phone service was knocked out.

#4 The Drought In California

The nightmarish multi-year drought in the state of California just continues to get even worse.

This week it was reported that 81 percent of California is now experiencing “extreme drought” or worse.

Three months ago, that number was just 68 percent.

And we are being told that downtown Los Angeles is now the driest that it has been since rain records began in 1877.

For much, much more on this, please see my recent article entitled “20 Signs The Epic Drought In The Western United States Is Starting To Become Apocalyptic“.

#5 The Virus That Has Killed Millions Of Our Pigs

A horrific pig virus known as porcine epidemic diarrhea came over from China a little over a year ago.

Since then, it has killed about 7 million pigs, and approximately 100,000 more are dying each week.

#6 Citrus Greening

Have you ever heard of citrus greening disease?

Perhaps not, but it has gotten so bad down in Florida that experts are now saying that the entire citrus industry in the state “could be destroyed”

“It’s horrible — it’s a disaster,” says Fred Gmitter, a professor of horticulture science at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center.

It might be time to kiss your OJ goodbye, unless science steps in to save the day.

At least 70% of Florida’s citrus trees are already infected by the disease, known as citrus greening, huanglongbing, or occasionally just with an ominous “it,” as in “It’s here.”

Florida’s citrus crop this year is the lowest it’s been in 30 years, and agricultural authorities have continued to lower their production estimates. Orange-juice prices are up nearly 20% this year alone and will continue to rise. The disease was a major factor in the lime shortage that made the price of a box of Persian limes jump from $18 to $85 last December. Prices could jump higher for oranges. Researchers and growers say that if a cure isn’t found, the entire $9 billion Florida citrus industry could be destroyed.

#7 Bananas Going Extinct?

You bananas are not safe either.

According to CNBC, the TR4 fungus is spreading so rapidly that it could eventually totally wipe out the variety of bananas that we find in our grocery stores today…

Banana lovers take note: The world’s supply of the fruit is under attack from a fungus strain that could wipe out the popular variety that Americans eat.

“It’s a very serious situation,” said Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida who in 1989 originally discovered a strain of Panama disease, called TR4, that may be growing into a serious threat to U.S. supplies of the fruit and Latin American producers.

“There’s nothing at this point that really keeps the fungus from spreading,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

While there are nearly 1,000 varieties of bananas, the most popular is the Cavendish, which accounts for 45 percent of the fruit’s global crop—and the one Americans mostly find in their supermarkets.

#8 The Number Of Earthquakes Is Increasing

For a long time, scientists tried to deny that the number of earthquakes is increasing.

But now, the USGS is finally admitting that the number of big earthquakes has doubled

If you think there have been more earthquakes than usual this year, you’re right. A new study finds there were more than twice as many big earthquakes in the first quarter of 2014 as compared with the average since 1979.

“We have recently experienced a period that has had one of the highest rates of great earthquakes ever recorded,” said lead study author Tom Parsons, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park, California.

Fortunately, most of the earthquakes in the U.S. so far this year have been relatively small or have been in isolated areas.

But they have been popping up in very unusual areas (such as Oklahoma), and as seismic activity along the Ring of Fire continues to increase, it is probably only a matter of time before one of our major cities gets hit with a major tragedy.

#9 Superbugs

Thanks at least in part to the massive overuse of antibiotics, a new generation of superbugs is arising.  Scientists have no way to kill these superbugs, and according to experts they are finding their way “into healthcare facilities nationwide”

Drug-resistant superbug infections have reached near-epidemic levels across U.S. hospitals, with an alarming 500% increase now documented in a study just published in the August issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology (the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America).

Lead author of the study, Dr. Joshua Thaden, warned “This dangerous bacteria is finding its way into healthcare facilities nationwide… A CRE epidemic is fast approaching… Even this marked increase likely underestimates the true scope of the problem given variations in hospital surveillance practices.”

The study also found that an astonishing 94 percent of CRE infections were caused by healthcare activities or hospital procedures.

#10 Fukushima

The Fukushima nuclear disaster is the gift that just keeps on giving.

Hundreds of tons of radioactive water are being released into the Pacific on a continual basis, and this could potentially affect our oceans and our food chain for generations to come.

But it is a “slow motion disaster” that is already “old news”, so most Americans don’t think about it anymore.  But the truth is that there is a lot of evidence that it should be taken very seriously in this country.  For much more on this, please see this article.

In Japan, of course, things are even worse.

In fact, one Japanese doctor that was working in Tokyo says that radiation sickness is rampant in that city

Since December 2011, I have conducted thyroid ultrasound examinations, thyroid function tests, general blood tests and biochemical tests on about 2000 people, mostly families in the Tokyo metropolitan area expressing concerns on the effects of radiation. I have observed that white blood cells, especially neutrophils, are decreasing among children under the age of 10. There are cases of significant decline in the number of neutrophils in 0-1 year-olds born after the earthquake (<1000). In both cases, conditions tend to improve by moving to Western Japan (Neutrophils 0–>4500). Patients report nosebleed, hair loss, lack of energy, subcutaneous bleeding, visible urinary hemorrhage, skin inflammations, coughs and various other non-specific symptoms.

And this Japanese doctor believes that things are so dire that he says that the entire city of Tokyo should be evacuated…

Residents of Tokyo are unfortunately not in the position to pity the affected regions of Tohoku because they are victims themselves. Time is running short. I took an earlier step forward and evacuated to the west. My fellow doctors of medicine, I am waiting for you here. And to the people in Eastern Japan still hesitating, all my support goes to facilitating and enabling your evacuation, relocation, or a temporary relief in Western Japan.

Just like with Chernobyl, this radioactive material is going to silently make people sick and kill people all over globe for years to come, and most of them will never have any idea what is really happening to them.

So what do you think about all of this?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

This article first appeared at The American Dream: The Ten Plagues That Are Hitting America Right Now

 

By Jordan Root

The scorching heat that has gripped the Northwest for much of July is finally coming to an end. However, danger still looms for many.

The lengthy period of extreme heat, known as a heat wave, has turned the Northwest into a tinder box.

“Temperatures east of the Cascades are running 8 to 10 degrees above normal so far in July,” according to Senior Meteorologist Ken Clark.

The unusual heat factored in with the dry climate has left much of the region susceptible to wildfires.

Several major wildfires continue to rage across the Northwest, including the Carlton Complex in Washington.

As of Saturday morning, at least 100 homes have been destroyed from this fire near Pateros, Washington, reported the Associated Press.

As of midday Friday, the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center reported that a total of 157,600 acres had been burned and that the fire was zero percent contained.

A MODIS satellite captures the fires in across Washington from above on July 17, 2014. Enlarge (Photo: NASA)

Mandatory evacuations have been lifted across northern California from the Bully Fire, but evacuation advisories remain in effect, according to the California government. A total of 12,661 acres has burned with 56% of the fire being contained as of Friday evening.

Wildfires continue to spread across Oregon as well. “Fifteen large fires were reported throughout Oregon on Friday,” cited the Associated Press.

The recent hot and dry weather pattern extended into much of western Canada as well, where numerous wildfires are ongoing.

Most of these fires originated due to lightning strikes from nearby thunderstorms.

Although typical thunderstorms tend to bring relief in the form of rain, these storms have done more harm than good.

Due to extremely dry conditions in the lower part of the atmosphere, most of the rain from these storms evaporated before reaching the ground. These storms are referred to as dry thunderstorms. Frequent lightning still occurs however, which is what makes them dangerous.

The threat for dry thunderstorms will continue through the weekend and into early next week across Nevada, Idaho, and Oregon. As a result, more wildfires may be ignited, putting many more lives and property at risk.

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Northwest Heat to Ease Into Next Week

Firefighters will be fighting with gusty winds over the next few days which will surely only help to fuel the fires even more.

Temperatures will be on the downward trend through early next week across the Northwest which will provide some help. The heat that has been locked into the region is expected to shift into the northern Plains.

Along with the heat, smoke from the wildfires in the Northwest will also invade the Plains.

Hazy skies have already been observed the past few days from the Northwest to the Great Lakes, partly due to other wildfires located in the Northwest Territories of Canada.

“While mostly in remote areas, these fires are producing considerable smoke that has caused a health risk for people around the town of Yellowknife,” said Clark.

Sensitive groups across the northern United States may be affected from the increase in smoke and may want to limit time spent outside.

More at AccuWeather: Heat to Ease in Northwest, but Fire Threat Remains

 

colorado-wildfire

A week or so ago a commentor pointed out that there are always so many articles on starting fires and not enough about preventing them. Considering the most recent round of wildfires in San Diego and Arizona, it’s obvious this topic is a good one to discuss going into prime wildfire season. And, though home fire safety is related and equally important–if not more so–this post is solely about wildfires.

What exactly constitutes a wildfire?

According to wikipedia, a wildfire is:

A wildfire is an uncontrolled fire in an area of combustible vegetation that occurs in the countryside or a wilderness area.[1][2] Other names such as brush fire, bushfire, forest fire, desert fire, grass fire, hill fire, peat fire, vegetation fire, and veldfire may be used to describe the same phenomenon depending on the type of vegetation being burned, and the regional variant of English being used. A wildfire differs from other fires by its extensive size, the speed at which it can spread out from its original source, its potential to change direction unexpectedly, and its ability to jump gaps such as roads, rivers and fire breaks.[3] Wildfires are characterized in terms of the cause of ignition, their physical properties such as speed of propagation, the combustible material present, and the effect of weather on the fire[4].”

The important points to remember are that:

  • wildfires have extensive size – it might be hard to evade as they can be many miles wide.
  • the speed they can spread – it’s difficult to outrun even in a car as fires can travel at highway speeds!
  • their potential to change direction unexpectedly – even if you thought you weren’t in danger because the fire was “heading the other direction” you could quickly become in danger due to shifting winds.
  • they can jump roads and rivers – wind can carry embers a long way and start fires almost anywhere, even across major obstacles.

How are most wildfires started?

You might guess lighting strikes as the biggest culprit (they are a big one) or maybe Smoky the Bear took up smoking cigarettes, but the fact is that most wildfires are started by people! In fact, not even arsonists or misguided teenage youth are to blame… it’s often just careless people not properly putting out a campfire, mindlessly tossing cigarette butts out the window, or something like that.

The point: don’t be a dumbass! Be responsible for your own actions. Put out that campfire completely. Keep your darn cigarette butts in your car and dispose of them properly all while not littering at the same time. :)

Steps you can take to minimize damage by wildfires to your home (and your potential for starting them)

Certainly you cannot control what others do. Besides being a good steward of the land when out and about, you can and should attempt to minimize the damage a wildfire may have on your own home and property as best as you can as well as your potential for starting them. Here’s some of the better tips gleaned from Ready.gov on the topic:

  1. Regularly clean roof and gutters.
  2. Inspect chimneys at least twice a year. Clean them at least once a year.
  3. Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chain saw, bucket and shovel.
  4. Clear items that will burn from around the house, including wood piles, lawn furniture, barbecue grills, tarp coverings, etc. Move them outside of your defensible space.
  5. Identify and maintain an adequate outside water source such as a small pond, cistern, well, swimming pool, or hydrant.
  6. Have a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of the home and other structures on the property.
  7. Create a 30 to 100 foot safety zone around your home. Within this area, you can take steps to reduce potential exposure to flames and radiant heat. Homes built in pine forests should have a minimum safety zone of 100 feet.

There are plenty more suggestions you should take the time to read at  Ready.gov too. The above is just a small list.

Steps you can take during a wildfire

There’s plenty you can do to minimize the potential for a wildfire to affect your home if there is one nearby. Of course, it should go without saying that your first priority should be to evacuate. That said, if there’s time and you and your family are NOT in danger then consider the following, as taken directly from Ready.gov:

  1. Close outside attic, eaves and basement vents, windows, doors, pet doors, etc. Remove flammable drapes and curtains. Close all shutters, blinds or heavy non-combustible window coverings to reduce radiant heat.
  2. Close all doors inside the house to prevent draft. Open the damper on your fireplace, but close the fireplace screen.
  3. Shut off any natural gas, propane or fuel oil supplies at the source.
  4. Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near above-ground fuel tanks. Leave sprinklers on and dowsing these structures as long as possible. Be mindful of water use restrictions for areas affected by wildfires.
  5. Move flammable furniture into the center of the residence away from the windows and sliding-glass doors.

Again, these are just a few of the more important tips I choose to include but there are certainly many more. Please take the time to look at all the advice given by Ready.gov, Firewise.org, and others. Please be safe and always have fire safety in mind.

This post was originally found at reThinkSurvival.com: 12 Wildfire Safety and Prevention Tips You Should Know

15 Ways To Protect Your Off-Grid Home From Wildfires

By Tara Dodrill 

Wildfire season is here. Every year, blazes started for a variety of reasons scorch hundreds, if not thousands, of acres around the country.

Brush fires, or wildfires, are one of the most dangerous types of blazes for firefighters to battle – and are especially dangerous for homesteaders and off-gridders in rural locations.

As previously noted by Off The Grid News, fire preparedness is perhaps one of the most neglected areas of homesteading families. Fires can double in size approximately once every 30 seconds to a minute. Dry brush and trees will catch fire quickly. Minor wind fluctuation can take you from a point of safety into the path of rapidly encroaching flames in a matter of seconds.

Here are 15 tips for protecting your home from wildfires:

1. Take stock of flammable materials around the home and auxiliary structures. Properly dispose of any necessary items in a timely manner. There are three categories of flammable materials — Class A, B and C. Class A flammables are common combustibles such as wood, paper and plastic. Class B items include grease and flammable liquids. Class C blazes are basically electrical fires which often stem from either Class A or B flammables. Understanding what types of fire you are most likely to be faced with is extremely important from a preparedness aspect.

Ultra Efficient Water Filter Fits In Your Pocket!

2. Remove tree branches extending within 10 feet of the opening of a chimney.

3. Clear branches, leaves and pine needles out of gutters and off roof surfaces on a regular basis.

4. Wet the roof and sides of the home down with a garden hose during dry periods.

5. Place a screen comprised of non-flammable material over stovepipes or chimneys. The openings in the screen should not exceed half an inch, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Story continues below video

6. Do not store hay bales against one another. Combustion from heat or flying embers is common. Set round hay bales at least a foot a part and do not stack more than several square bales on or next to one another. If a wildfire is near, wet the bales with a water hose and separate if time allows. Storing bales inside a barn may be convenient, but it could ultimately cost you both the barn and the livestock huddled inside.

7. Think twice before placing pine shrubs next to the home, because they catch fire quickly when dry. Think brittle Christmas trees with the lights left on too long. Skip attractiveness in favor of fire prevention when it comes to deciding what will be planted near the home and other structures.

8. Thin out underbrush near the vicinity of the home. If you own goats (or land tortoises like I do), this chore can be easily taken care of without you being forced to swing a sickle.

9. Trim tree branches so they are at least 15 feet off the ground.

10. Create a fuel break around all shelters on the property.

11. Dispose of fireplace or woodburning stove and charcoal briquettes only after they have been soaked for at least an hour in a metal bucket full of cold water.

12. Never store gasoline near the home, and only keep the fuel in approved containers. If a fire does appear to be approaching your home, quickly move the gasoline out of its storage shed and dispose of the fuel if at all possible.

13. Propane tanks should also be stored far away from the home and barn. Make sure that flammable vegetation is not present near the storage location. Moving propane tanks when a fire threat is present is also advised. Make sure tank valves remain in the off position.

14. Watch where you place firewood, which is nothing more than attractive kindling for a wildfire. Do not make a wood pile near the home or other structures. Wet the wood down thoroughly if a blaze nears the property. It would be a shame to lose the wood or be faced with a long wait for it to dry out, but once again, preserving the home is the only goal that matters during such an emergency.

15. Take a basic firefighting course to learn the skills necessary to protect both your home and your family during an emergency. If disaster precedes the wildfire, calling the fire department may very well not be an option. Used firefighter gear can often be found at a greatly reduced cost at fire department fundraisers and at online auction sites. Although taking a basic course at a local community college may not mean you will have all the tools and abilities necessary to stand your ground and defend your home, the knowledge may help you prevent a small fire from becoming a big one and give your loved ones the precious minutes necessary to escape the blaze. Rural counties are often served by an entirely volunteer firefighting force and would likely welcome you into the fold – and pay for your training in the process.

What wildfire prevention tips would you add to the list? Tell us in the comments section below.

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This article first appeared at Off The Grid News: 15 Proven Ways To Protect Your Off-Grid Home From Wildfires