Michigan State claim: Extreme wildfires likely fueled by climate change

Climate change is likely fueling the larger and more destructive wildfires that are scorching vast areas of the American West, according to new research led by Michigan State University scientists.

These erratic fires are harder to contain and often result in catastrophic damage and loss of property and life. Although not analyzed in the study, the recent Arizona wildfire that began with a lightning strike and killed 19 firefighters appeared to be such an unpredictable, fast-spreading blaze, according to a state report.

The MSU-led study, which appears in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, predicts the trend will continue in the western United States.

“Our findings suggest that future lower atmospheric conditions may favor larger and more extreme wildfires, posing an additional challenge to fire and forest management,” said Lifeng Luo, MSU assistant professor of geography and lead author on the study.

The researchers analyzed current and future climate patterns projected by multiple regional climate models and their effect on the spread of fire in a mountainous region that includes Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming. The study focused on August, the most active month for wildfires in the western United States.

August 2012 saw 3.6 million acres burn in the region, the most of any August since 2000. However, there were only 6,948 fires in August 2012 – the second fewest in that 12-year timeframe – meaning the fires were much larger.

Large wildfires are mainly driven by natural factors including the availability of fuel (vegetation), precipitation, wind and the location of lightning strikes. In particular, the researchers found that exceptionally dry and unstable conditions in the earth’s lower atmosphere will continue contributing to “erratic and extreme fire behavior.”

“Global climate change may have a significant impact on these factors, thus affecting potential wildfire activity across many parts of the world,” the study says.

Co-authors include Ying Tang and Shiyuan Zhong from MSU, and Xindu Bian and Warren Heilman from the USDA Forest Service.

- See more at: http://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2013/extreme-wildfires-likely-fueled-by-climate-change/#sthash.u0hR62YK.dpuf

=========================================

 

I’m late thanks to having to deal with some BS this AM, but I’ll add comments that have factual information to

dispute this. – Anthony

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71 Responses to Michigan State claim: Extreme wildfires likely fueled by climate change

  1. Mike Lewis says:

    The stupid, it burns…

  2. John says:

    Apparently they’ve never been to the National Interagency Fire Center at http://www.nifc.gov/fireInfo/nfn.htm which shows this is the next to lowest year in total acreage year-to-date.

  3. John W. Garrett says:

    Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology? Can you get any more obscure? A professor of geography? Scientists?

    This is the kind of wildly speculative nonsense that bubbles to the surface in the “publish or perish” world.

  4. GlynnMhor says:

    The biggest contributor to the size and danger of wildfires is still the build up of fuel as a result of decades of well-meaning but ill-considered fire suppression.

  5. Bob K. says:

    John @ 8:56 am – the link is broken…?

  6. John says:

    I think the server is really slow. I finally got into it.

  7. milodonharlani says:

    I don’t feel like reading the paper, yet can’t help wondering what factors supposedly caused by “climate change” could account for alleged “extreme” fires.

  8. Caleb says:

    If you use incorrect models to determine how dry future forests will be, do you expect your results to be correct?

  9. Kaboom says:

    MSU has a department of speculative scienciness? Those are really catching on. I hope their salaries get paid in Zimbabwean dollars which equals the value of their results.

  10. I would suggest that they have left out of their study several key elements –

    1. The clearing and control of underbrush has been curtailed due to “ecological” concerns raised by “Greens” who think the pristince (pre-human) world was better managed, and this higher fire loading has not been considered,
    2. Increasing exposure due to population pressures with human habitats now intruding into areas which increase the likelihood of fire damage, and
    3. The curtailing of “controlled burns” to clear underbrush and create fire breaks.

    All of these have contributed to a larger number of fires (thanks to careless human activity) in an environment where the fuel loading is increasing and the property exposure is higher than it has ever been. The Australian experience is a salutory one, but none of these academic studies takes any note of the “non-climate” factors involved.

  11. Colin says:

    These claims remind me of the “whack-a-mole” game at fairs. You whack the North Pole Lake claim down, another claim pops up. That one gets whacked down when the picture or data or something else gets shown to be false, another one pops up. It gets exhausting whacking all these moles that never cease. The mole pops up to great news coverage and fanfare (see the North Pole “Lake) and gets whacked down with no coverage.

  12. ThinAir says:

    Say again….Climate change? Global Warning? “….the most of any August since 2000″ ? Check that again dear scientists. There was not any .

  13. Michael A. Lewis says:

    Let ‘em burn. Fire is a friend of the forest.

  14. Mark says:

    I’m not convinced the build-up of fuel is well intentioned. Environmentalists profit from wild fires because they blame global warming, so advocate policies to make them worse.

  15. Eric says:

    Hmmm…maybe they should learn to Google. First hit on the terms “prehistoric fire”:

    http://www.sierraforestlegacy.org/Resources/Conservation/FireForestEcology/FireScienceResearch/FireHistory/FireHistory-Stephens07.pdf

    “Approximately 1.8 million ha burned annually in California prehistorically (pre 1800). Our estimate of prehistoric annual area burned in California is 88% of the total annual wildfire area in the entire US during a decade (1994–2004) characterized as ‘‘extreme’’ regarding wildfires. The idea that US wildfire area of approximately two million ha annually is extreme is certainly a 20th or 21st century perspective.”

  16. Resourceguy says:

    Jimmy Carter forestry policy has morphed into climate change impacts. Nice

  17. Pamela Gray says:

    Easy and cheap government solution to reduce fuels: Bring back open-access livestock grazing and this problem begins to disappear. Get loggers back in and reduce the “guvmnt” cost of logging which will also reduce the price of lumber and encourage construction. Open up the forests with roads and allow harvest of dead and downed timber for heating purposes by private businesses and for individual consumption.

    Which is better? Dead firefighters or putting forest service personnel back in the forests to monitor increased public use?

  18. Tom Trevor says:

    “Our findings suggest that future lower atmospheric conditions may favor larger and more extreme wildfires, posing an additional challenge to fire and forest management,”
    _______________________________________________________________________________
    Or may not, depending on what happens. There also maybe more floods, or maybe fewer, it depends.

  19. milodonharlani says:

    American Indians managed woodland & grassland with controlled burns.

    Ditto slash & burn agriculture on both continents.

  20. Tom in St. Johns says:

    Time for me to write another letter to the alma mater and more reasons to not send donations. What an embarrassment.

  21. Jorge says:

    This year has remarkable only for it’s lack of remarkable weather events. This is so much so, that the death of those 19 firefighters was the only real tragic event the warmistas can hang their hats on. This is really embarrassing for the families of the fallen to watch these people try to exploit those deaths for their own gain.

  22. Fred from Canuckistan says:

    Very embarrassing for Michigan State.

    Wwhen these chuckleheads come up for academic review and promotion, ask them how they could get this so backwards, how they can determine wild fires are out of control and scorching the West when the number and area of fires is at record or near record lows.

    If I was their Dean/Faculty Head, I’d fire them for such shoddy research. A 6th grade science class could do better science than this crew.

  23. Rex says:

    I asked on another post whether the term “climate change”
    was intended to describe a cause or an effect.

    So far no illumination has been forthcoming.

  24. Chad Wozniak says:

    Actually, large fires are often driven by poor forestry practices, such as failure to thin undergrowth or remove dead trees.

    As usual, ideology trumps science with this sort of “research.” More of the kind of performance we saw from Heidi Cullen at the Senate hearings.

    @Fred from Canuckistan –

    I’d houseclean the entire educational establishment from preschool to graduate school to get rid of these furuncles and stop them from corrupting our young people.

  25. JimK says:

    I think extreme wildfires are due to excess carbon dioxide causing extreme growth which leads to evermore combustible material. Oh noes!!!

  26. Annie says:

    The Gray Monk @ 9:09 am:

    Exactly so.

  27. AnonyMoose says:

    So they see changes in the weather and models since 1975, and give their opinion of the effect of those changes. Did they examine how often in the past similar conditions existed?

  28. BradProp1 says:

    More predictions based on models that have been proven wrong. Nothing like ignoring facts to fuel an agenda. No matter how you look at it; BS + BS still equals BS. Just more of it!

  29. MLCross says:

    who cares what the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology says about Extreme Wildfires? You want actual information, you go to the Extreme Journal of Extremely Applied Extreme Meteorology and Extreme Climatology. And MSU? They don’t even have an Extreme Department of Extreme Climatology or Extreme Meteorology, so I don’t know where they get off doing a totally non-extreme study on anything.

  30. faboutlaws says:

    Additional authors were Sum Ting Wong, Wi Tu Lo and Ho Lee Fuk.

  31. Tom in Minnetonka says:

    Seems like an increase of CO2 is almost always associated with a decrease in O2 which should decrease fire danger. See for example: http://bluemoon.ucsd.edu/publications/ralph/3_Seasonal.pdf

  32. knr says:

    ‘May’ is a month of the year , and a great get-out trick for those that wish to make a claim which allows them to say ‘its not happened yet but it could’ or those that want to get their excuses in early for when their BS turns out to be total wrong.

  33. NucEngineer says:

    As usual, pick a location in question, run the 21 General Circulation Models (GCMs) out to the year 2100, and find that 13 of 21 models predict that location will be dryer (or wetter, or warmer, or windier, or less windy, or in some cases cooler).
    Then pick another location. At this other location perhaps 13 models will predict a wetter future, but not the same 13 models.
    Models are not thrown out because they disagree with the average of all models 80% of the time. The 20% where a poor predictor agrees with at least 12 other models is important to these statistacally challenged computer modelers.

  34. D Nash says:

    I believe the increase in stupidity in the last nine months with regard to these ‘studies’ is directly related to the lack of the hostess Twinkie (and to a lesser extent the other tasty hostess snacks). All students and researches lived off of these delicious morsels and their lack was sorely felt. I am appreciative of the efforts of the great state of Michigan in their efforts to distribute the hostess products to my local store. If they could also distribute a little sanity along with the spongy goodness I would be even more grateful.

  35. rogerknights says:

    Another reason for the increase in forest fires is that (I’ve read here) in recent years fewer water dumping planes have been put on retainer, and the policy has been not to extinguish small fires unless they become large ones.

  36. Tom J says:

    I would think the University of Michigan should be more interested in what likely caused Detroit.

  37. Gary Pearse says:

    “…assistant professor of geography and lead author on the study.
    August 2012 saw 3.6 million acres burn in the region, the most of any August since 2000. However, there were only 6,948 fires in August 2012 – the second fewest in that 12-year timeframe – meaning the fires were much larger”

    Assistant prof of geography. Did he consult with anyone from the MSU department of alchemy? We map the world several times a day with great accuracy and have no more need for “graphiness” of the “geo”. As a child in school in the 1940s, it was already clear that they had nothing to do. They took up topics such as coffee grows in Brazil and Polynesia grows breadfruit. Clearly I have encapsulated their trite thesis in the paragraph above. This is the extent of the geographer’s mathematics and science.

    From all these inane studies I’ve become worried about a more likely scare:
    http://humanorigins.si.edu/human-characteristics/brains

    “As early humans faced new environmental challenges and evolved bigger bodies, they evolved larger and more complex brains.Over the course of human evolution, brain size tripled. The modern human brain is the largest and most complex of any living primate.”

    By 2100, we could all have pea-heads and grow thick fur.

  38. tadchem says:

    Wildfires are *CERTAINLY* fueled by dry cellulosic material, remains from expired plants, that did not get previously consumed by herbivores, decay-microbes (fungi and bacteria), or earlier fires. The key to wildfire prevention is the prevention of the accumulation of fuel, since the humidity cannot be controlled.
    More locusts, more rot, or more controlled burns. Pick your winner!

  39. AGU investigate the effects of wildfires!

  40. pokerguy says:

    Can’t even read it. Global warming sure has been causing a lot of stuff recently, especially considering that the curious fact that it actually hasn’t gotten any warmer in 16+ years.

    You know that “pause” thing that the NYT’s recently called, “a bit of a mystery for climate scientists.”
    Idiots.

  41. u.k.(us) says:

    Gaia can only produce so much fuel at a time.
    Once that fuel has been burned, it may take decades to litter the forest floor with fuel again.
    She will though, and some plants depend on the ensuing fires.
    Not sure if adaptation will ever work, for the houses built in the ecosystem.

  42. Steven Hill from Ky (the welfare state) says:

    Wow, are they also running Detroit economic policy?

  43. James Sexton says:

    Heh, how timely. I just got done graphing the YTD data for the last decade from the National Inter-agency Fire Center. And making a little derisive post on such posits. http://suyts.wordpress.com/2013/08/01/climate-update-climate-change-means-more-wildfires/

    You all are more than welcome to use the graph. Canada also has an agency tracking fires. Here’s theirs http://www.ciffc.ca/images/stories/graphs/fires.gif

    Lunatics trying to tie wildfires to CC are only missing about a gadzillion other factors. Clearing the underbrush would probably be the best deterrent.

  44. DJL says:

    They didn’t talk to the Michicgan DNR either.
    http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-30301_30505_30816-24038–,00.html
    “On October 8, a great wildfire struck the town of Peshtigo, Wisconsin, killing 1300 people in a single night (the same night as the Great Chicago Fire, which received the greater attention). This fire burned over 1,100,000 acres in Wisconsin and Michigan before late fall rains put it out. The Peshtigo wildfire is considered the most devastating fire in U.S. history in terms of both lives and property lost.”

  45. DJL says:

    The fire is from 1871

  46. michael hart says:

    “Our findings suggest that future lower atmospheric conditions may favor larger and more extreme wildfires, posing an additional challenge to fire and forest management,” said Lifeng Luo, MSU assistant professor of geography and lead author on the study.

    So it’s in the future again. Definitely maybe. Perhaps. If was happening now I presume they would tell us. While we’re waiting, let’s have a musical interlude.

  47. Ken Harvey says:

    In press reports on wild fire events in the U.S.and Australia, I never see any reference to the diverse species of plants that have co-evolved along with fire and need periodic burning to reproduce. Such plants are widespread from one end of Africa to the other and are most densely spread in those locations where mountain slopes coincide with general vegetation that provides a fuel supply. Arizona in particular has the right type of topography for wild fires to be a fairly common event. Does the U.S. in fact have such plants, evolved over eons of time?

  48. Ian W says:

    The lack of general knoweldege about nature is extremely disappointing in academia. Country wide there are multiple insect species that have evolved to breed in burned wood. That takes a lot longer than just a few years of AGW. Wildfires are part of nature and have probably been so since plants grew into forests.

  49. elmer says:

    Because everyone know fire burns better when it’s warmer.

  50. Chuck Nolan says:

    JimK says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:57 am
    I think extreme wildfires are due to excess carbon dioxide causing extreme growth which leads to evermore combustible material. Oh noes!!!
    —————————————————————-
    Isn’t it strange the one thing that could be attached to increased CO2 is more vegetation and therefore more forest fires but the greens won’t even say that.
    I guess that would mean CO2 increases are needed to feed the world.
    And we know they don’t care about feeding the world.
    cn

  51. higley7 says:

    Hard to contain fires are due to forest fire management which has suppressed healthy brush-clearing forest fires for so long that, now, when a fire gets going it is so hot it is difficult to put out and it burns the canopy as well, which normal fires do not. It is open season on Smokey Bear, he screwed up big time.

  52. jim Steele says:

    Forest fire frequency is universally well correlated with natural droughts and in the western USA that correlates with La NInas and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. When the -PDO and La NIna coincide fire frequency gets worse. Schoenannagel wrrote “the combined cool phases (negative PDO during La Nifia) appeared to promote large fires in the southern Rockies. Almost 70% of large fires in RMNP burned during La Nifia events that coincided with a negative PDO, although these phases co-occurred during only 29% of the 1700-1975 period.”

    Schoennagel, T., (2005) ENSO and PDO Variability Affect Drought induced Fire Occurrence in Rocky Mountain Subalpine Forests. Ecological Applications, vol. 15, pp. 2000-2014.

    Fire intensity is universally associated with increased fuel loads due to fire suppression as people have moved into fire prone regions.

    CO2 advocates like Hansen argue Co2 global warming will increases summer droughts. However all studies suggest just the exact opposite. Studies linking natural climate change and fires reveal we are now in a golden era of reduced fires and more fires occurred during the LIttle Ice Age. For example Higuera, P. (2010) in Linking tree-ring and sediment-charcoal records to reconstruct fire occurrence and area burned in subalpine forests of Yellowstone National Park, USA.” found the greatest fire frequency occurred in the 1600s and 1700s. Today’s fire frequency is relatively non-existent.

    Similarly in “An ice-core based history of Siberian forest fires since AD 1250″ (2011) by
    Dr. Anja Eichler they report “period of exceptionally high forest-fire activity was observed between AD 1600 and 1680, following an extremely dry period AD 1540e1600.”

    I noticed over Joe Romm is pushing this fire angle with “A Nation On Fire: Climate Change And The Burning Of America”. It appears when the average temperature pauses they need to push more unsupported catastrophes.

  53. jim Steele says:

    Last year’s devastating Colorado fire centered around Wade Canyon happened when a -PDo and La NIna coincided as researchers like Schoennagel (above) report. To further show the lack of correlation with global warming, we can look at the maximum temperature trends at USHCN weather stations just north and south of that major fire. In both cases maximum temperatures are lower than the 1930s and 40s. At Canon City

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/cgi-bin/broker?id=051294&_PROGRAM=prog.gplot_meanclim_mon_yr2012.sas&_SERVICE=default&param=TMAXRAW&minyear=1888&maxyear=2012

    and at Cheesman

    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/cgi-bin/broker?id=051528&_PROGRAM=prog.gplot_meanclim_mon_yr2012.sas&_SERVICE=default&param=TMAX&minyear=1893&maxyear=2012

  54. AndyG55 says:

    And all that heat from those fires, where does it go..

    The atmosphere gets rid of it, like it ALWAYS does with excessive heat.

  55. Bob says:

    We don’t need to totally clean house at MSU (especially the part of the house that supports my daughter and grandson :) ). However, someone at that august institution of higher learning should be able to distinguish between forest management practices, cyclic weather patterns and long-term climate change. Seems they have a real problem with that.

  56. Ragnaar says:

    Forests have been burning for a long time. It’s what they do. It’s natural and usually beneficial, We keeping trying to stop them from burning as we must know better. To not like forest fires is like trying to tell Nature she doesn’t know what she’s doing.

  57. Gail Combs says:

    milodonharlani says:
    August 1, 2013 at 9:04 am

    I don’t feel like reading the paper, yet can’t help wondering what factors supposedly caused by “climate change” could account for alleged “extreme” fires.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>
    That is easy. The factors are the environuts who have completely changed how the USA manages her forests. These are the same people as the “climate change” econuts.

  58. Warren says:

    Yeah, it couldn’t have anything to do with the fact that Clinton put a halt to all real forest management in ’93.

  59. Jimbo says:

    Climate change is likely fueling the larger and more destructive wildfires that are scorching vast areas of the American West, according to new research led by Michigan State University scientists.

    Don’t they mean:

    Budgetary constraints are likely fueling the larger and more destructive wildfires that are scorching vast areas of the American West, according to new research led by Michigan State University scientists.

    Just joking.
    Maybe the cause can be found at: Forest management. Fuel load. Tinder. Lightening. Campfires. Cigarettes. Fire is also a part of the natural cycle of some vegetation. If they are worried about fire and global warming then leave it alone. Fuel will burn meaning less to burn later. Problem solved?

    Here is what global warming has meant to boreal forest fires as the world warmed from the end of the Little Ice Age around 1850. Give up hope all ye who enter here. It’s worse than I thought.

    M.D. Flannigan et. al. – 1998
    Abstract
    Future wildfire in circumboreal forests in relation to global warming

    Despite increasing temperatures since the end of the Little Ice Age (ca. 1850), wildfire frequency has decreased as shown in many field studies from North America and Europe. We believe that global warming since 1850 may have triggered decreases in fire frequency in some regions and future warming may even lead to further decreases in fire frequency….
    doi:10.2307/3237261

    Yves Bergeron et. al. – The Holocene – September 1993
    Abstract
    Decreasing frequency of forest fires in the southern boreal zone of Québec and its relation to global warming since the end of the ‘Little Ice Age

    We present here evidence from fire and tree-ring chronologies that the post-‘Little Ice Age’ climate change has profoundly decreased the frequency of fires in the northwestern Québec boreal forest.
    doi: 10.1177/095968369300300307

    Henri D. Grissino Mayer et. al. – The Holocene – February 2000
    Abstract
    ….Century scale climate forcing of fire regimes in the American Southwest

    Following a centuries-long dry period with high fire frequency (c. AD 1400-1790), annual precipitation increased, fire frequency decreased, and the season of fire shifted from predominantly midsummer to late spring….

    ————–

    Quietest Year On Record For US Forest Fires
    Posted on May 5, 2013
    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2013/05/05/quietest-year-on-record-for-forest-fires-in-the-us/

  60. Jimbo says:

    Oh crap! Bad blockquote. Sorry.

  61. Bill H says:

    well…

    There seems to be a rabid dispensation of crap to get the masses all riled up and the climate catastrophic destruction crap going again.. Mann is telling us fact dont matter, Stanford is telling us some really strange unsupportable crap and now Michigan State doing the same..

    Can anyone say Obama Orchestrated climate catastrophe barrage..

    So many stooping to such a low so quickly, one right after another..

    The Stupid…. IT BURNS…

  62. LKMiller says:

    As a forester for more than 30 years, and with some wildland fire experience, permit me to give a few thoughts on this:

    * Fires and acres burned to date in 2013, despite a recent lightning bust in Oregon, is WELL BELOW the 10 year average. https://www.nifc.gov/nicc/sitreprt.pdf In this version, scroll down to page 8.

    * Those commenting on the “success” of national forest fire efforts as part of the problem – there is some truth here. However, there were HUGE forest fires in the era before coordinated efforts at wildland fire control. Peshtigo, Cloquet, 1910 (The Big Burn) in WA, ID, and MT, e.g.

    * Bigger issues are the failure of those agencies controlling massive areas of the US West, the USDA Forest Service, to manage the lands under their jurisdiction. In large parts of the West, this has resulted in large areas of over-mature and decadent forest, ripe for bark beetle attack.

    * There has been a number of years of drought in the West, but certainly nothing that hasn’t been experienced before. However, add the mis-management of forest lands, fuels build up, and over-mature forests, and occasionally we will get large, stand replacing fires.

    * Finally, reference was made to the recent tragic deaths of 19 firefighters in Arizona. At the risk of being misunderstood, when such burnovers occur, one or more people involved with the incident SCREWED UP BIG TIME. Wildland firefighters are trained to avoid situations that shout “Watch Out!.” Any time a fire fighter is forced to deploy his fire shelter, one or more mistakes were made, mistakes that they are trained not to make. Clearly, their “safe zone” wasn’t safe enough, because it was not survivable. That they had to retreat to their safe zone means they, and this includes the overhead who should have been monitoring the weather and how it was changing, weren’t paying close enough attention to the fire weather. Finally, it is arguable that this crew was protecting resources of little value, so perhaps a change in strategy would have saved their lives. Building line one or more ridges away, putting more space between themselves and the fire, could have resulted in a different outcome. Ultimately there will be an investigation and report, which I strongly suspect will be along the lines summarized above.

    *

  63. Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:

    You’d think that being from the same part of the country, University of Michigan would be aware of one of the worst wild fire disasters in U.S. history in the neighboring state of Minnesota. Seems to me this was long before global warming was a worry, and modern fires seldom even approach this level of destruction.

    source : http://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/wilderness-resources/stories/10-of-the-worst-wildfires-in-us-history

    The worst natural disaster in Minnesota history, the Cloquet Fire of 1918, claimed nearly 500 lives in a single day. The fire began after sparks from local railroad tracks ignited dry brush. When the flamed abated, as many as 38 communities had been razed to the ground, 250,000 acres had been scorched, 52,000 persons had been injured or displaced and the costs mounted to nearly $75 million.

    Also the Great Michigan Fire in 1871 which burned 2.5 million acres.

    Good list of major wild fires here:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_wildfires

    These recent fires are nothing new or unusual, as large wild fires are well represented in the historical record, prior to modern times when global warming is assumed to be the key factor in their occurrence.

    Can anyone in climate science do a study that would get a passing grade from my 6th grade science teacher in the early 1960’s?

  64. LKMiller says:

    Larry Ledwick (hotrod) says:
    August 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    “…The worst natural disaster in Minnesota history, the Cloquet Fire of 1918, claimed nearly 500 lives in a single day. The fire began after sparks from local railroad tracks ignited dry brush. When the flamed abated, as many as 38 communities had been razed to the ground, 250,000 acres had been scorched, 52,000 persons had been injured or displaced and the costs mounted to nearly $75 million….”

    I lived in Cloquet from 1986-96, so the history of the Cloquet Fire of 1918 was a big deal. The fire started in mid-October, during (not global warming induced) a dry, warm Indian Summer. The house we owned must have been started when the ashes were still warm. Understand that this is MN, and winter frequently comes early. Add to this was an influenza outbreak that ultimately resulted in the death of millions across the globe. Essentially everyone in Cloquet, overnight, was homeless at the onset of winter. Those who could, moved in with friends or relatives. The Red Cross came in with emergency housing, solid structures a few of which survive to this day (my family lived in one for 7 months while we were building a house).

    In 1918, there were two sawmills in town, one on the east end, the other on the west. These mills were competitors, and by far the major employers in town. Facing a rapidly approaching winter and a devastating future for their employees, these two mills decided to cooperate in order to keep the men working. One mill had lost their dry kiln in the fire, the other had lost their planer. The two mills worked out a mutaully beneficial arrangement where one would dry the other’s lumber, in exchange for planing services. And, Cloquet survived and rebuilt.

  65. kuhnkat says:

    Forest Policy Up in Smoke: Fire Suppression in the United States
    Alison Berry∗
    Property and Environment Research Center

    http://perc.org/sites/default/files/Forest%20Policy%20Up%20in%20Smoke.pdf

  66. This comes under the heading: Why should MU get all the federal grant money for global climate warming change.

  67. Louis says:

    If more CO2 causes more fires, and fires create more CO2, then the run-away global warming death spiral has begun. We’re all doomed! But wait. If this positive feedback was real, wouldn’t it mean that global temperatures should have been accelerating over the last 15 years? Never mind.

  68. page488 says:

    Have these people ever studied the effects of lightning strike wildfires that existed in the Americas before the institution of firefighters.

  69. Olaf Koenders says:

    Yada yada, global warming, global climate disruption, climate change, weather.. Quick, gimme more funding while Knobama’s yakking about it and before more people find out it’s a con.

  70. jim Steele says:

    Much of Michigan’s forest as well as the Great Lakes Region and Canadian Tundra has evolved in concert with frequent natural fires due natural cycles of drought. The Jack Pine specifically only open its cones and drops its seeds only after a fire has cleared the land. The Kirtland’s warbler co-evolved with the Jack Pine and due to fire suppression and logging was listed as endangered in 1973.

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