Thomas Fire Still Growing Under Longest Running Red Flag Warning
Brown smoke continues to spew from the Thomas Fire in this image captured by the Aqua satellite on December 14, 2017. A red flag warning which has been active for the last 14 days, the longest in California’s history, continues today. The Thomas Fire now stands at 252,500 and if the fire spreads another 2,000 acres, it will move into the number three spot. Not an auspicious record to hold. Close to 1000 structures have destroyed and another 218 damaged during this outbreak and one firefighter fatality has been attributed to the blaze according to CAL FIRE. The fire is 35% contained and the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
That was written by NASA Goddard on December 15th, Bold mine. Today, that concern came true and the fire is at 269,000 acres:
#ThomasFire [update] Hwy 150 and Hwy 126, north of Santa Paula (Ventura County) is now 269,000 acres and 40% contained. Unified Command: CAL FIRE, @VCFD_PIO ,@LosPadresNF, and @VenturaCityFD. https://t.co/vfLtDXYjzO pic.twitter.com/vpyezW08vC
— CAL FIRE (@CAL_FIRE) December 17, 2017
The weather continues to be the catalyst for this fire. The worst possible conditions for fire growth are still in place. High winds with gusts up to 40 mph in Santa Barbara and up to 55 mph in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties with low humidity at the 10-20 percent range will continue through Sunday evening. These conditions cause extensive fire growth, not to mention poor air quality due to smoke and ash in the area.
NASA’s Aqua satellite collected this natural-color image with the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, MODIS, instrument. NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC. Caption by Lynn Jenner with information from Inciweb and CAL FIRE.Image and information via NASA Goddard
From KTLA on December 15th:
“We put out plenty of red flag warnings, but we haven’t seen them out 12 days in a row. That’s unusual,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Curt Kaplan. “This has been the longest duration event that we have had a red flag warning out without any breaks.”
Definition of a Red Flag Warning:
A red flag warning is a forecast warning issued by the United States National Weather Service to inform area firefighting and land management agencies that conditions are ideal for wildland fire combustion, and rapid spread.
Here is are the current warnings from the Los Angeles National Weather Service:
While California Governor Jerry Brown wants to blame “climate change” for the fire, suggesting that the weather is a direct result of climate change, it should be pointed out that we have only about 150 years of good weather data for California, and dry, drought like conditions existed for extensive periods long before the catch-all boogeyman of “climate change” entered the political blame-game. For example:
If “red flag warnings” had been invented in the past for weather during those dry periods, I wonder how many days the actual record would have been.Probably a lot longer than 14 days.
Politicians who throw out “climate change” as blame for any “out of our current experience” weather pattern are simply ignorant of climate history and banking on the electorate being ignorant as well.
Note: about 10 minutes after publication, this article was updated to reflect new acreage values on the Thomas Fire from CalFire information, along with updated wind gust information.