Nov 8th, 2018 #CampFire – captured by LANDSAT satellite at peak rage

This image captured at 10:45AM yesterday, by the Landsat8 satellite shows the town of Paradise, CA fully engulfed in the fire. I have added annotations to the image to help identify landmarks.

Ultra-hi-res image, 3017×2011 pixels – click to enlarge

On the morning of November 8, 2018, the Camp Fire erupted 90 miles (140 kilometers) north of Sacramento, California. By evening, the fast-moving fire had charred around 20,000 acres and remained zero percent contained, according to news reports.

The Operational Land Imager on Landsat 8 acquired this image on November 8, 2018, around 10:45 a.m. local time (06:45 Universal Time). The natural-color image was created using bands 4-3-2, along with shortwave infrared light to highlight the active fire.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Joshua Stevens, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey. Caption by Kasha Patel. Annotation by Anthony Watts.

DOWNLOAD LINKS TO MAKE PRINTS – right click and “save as” to save to your computer.


With inset reference image

Small reference image (used in inset above):

Large image with labels:

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
November 9, 2018 8:13 am

Anthony, we all hope your residence is not in the path of this beast.

Stay safe, and best wishes to you, Benji, and all

Reply to  GeologyJim
November 9, 2018 11:00 am

Sorry, Anthony, you are about to learn that climate change is, in fact, a reality. I hope you and your family are safe. Best, former skeptic Charles the DrPH

[First, how rude. I’m in the middle of this, and have 3 of my five employees losing their homes, friends that have lost their homes, and more, and you want to lecture me. Second locally, high winds, locally low humidity, and sparks from the preliminary suggested cause of “line slap” HAVE NOT ONE DAMN THING TO DO WITH CLIMATE.

Third, let me say, you can go straight to digital hell, I don’t have to put up with this crap from you. You’re as bad as Eric Holthaus, seeing climate under every rock and behind every tree. -Anthony]

Carol Foster
Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 9, 2018 11:13 am


Pop Piasa
Reply to  Carol Foster
November 9, 2018 2:38 pm

Just another annoying sockpuppet.
I keep my PHD in the barn with my hitch-mounted auger. You can’t put up fences without a post hole digger.

Carol Foster
Reply to  Carol Foster
November 9, 2018 2:48 pm

Thank you, mods, for showing my comment.
It seemed appropriate at the time.
I still haven’t heard from my brother or sister-in-law who live in Paradise.
One has a heart condition, the other is on oxygen.
I’m scared to death for both of them and along comes CRS, DrPH!

Well said, Anthony!

Carol Foster
Reply to  Carol Foster
November 9, 2018 4:33 pm

UPDATE: My brother and sister-in-law called, they are both alive and well!

[Good to know. Many were (and still more will be) affected. Others hurt or killed. .mod]

Reply to  Carol Foster
November 10, 2018 4:21 am

Sorry, Anthony, you are about to learn that climate change is, in fact, a reality.

How can people, who appear to be functional…….be this stupid

[???? .mod]

Reply to  Latitude
November 10, 2018 11:46 am

This is just utter nonsense. This area sees 1-3 fires every year for the past 100+ years. They average over 60 inches of rain/year. Things grow well there. If it’s not the pine trees catching fire it’s the grasses. A horrible event started this and prime wind conditions did the rest. I’m so tired of hearing people link every last damn event to ‘climate change’. This has become the ‘spontaneous generation’ of our generation. When you don’t understand what happened and/or are just too lazy to do the research you reach for some magical, all-encompassing catch phrase.

Reply to  Latitude
November 10, 2018 1:02 pm

first line was a quote from CRS, DrPH…..

…second line was me asking how someone that appears to be functional ….referring to CRS, DrPH…..could be that stupid

Thomas Homer
Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 9, 2018 11:14 am

CRS, DrPH: “former skeptic ”

Would you elaborate on what prompted you to no longer be skeptical?

Reply to  Thomas Homer
November 9, 2018 11:40 am

The dryness at the higher lats is as a result of global cooling.
Click on my name to read my report and figure it out for yourself.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Thomas Homer
November 9, 2018 2:48 pm

Once he started publishing, he realized that skeptic scholars don’t get to ride the gravy train.
Now he apparently gets paid to troll the blogs making drive-by asinine remarks.

Reply to  Thomas Homer
November 9, 2018 10:10 pm

Uh, won’t be hearing from him no more. “He chose poorly.”

Reply to  Thomas Homer
November 10, 2018 7:00 pm

Thomas, I’ve worked in anthropogenic methane mitigation since 1979, including a stint as Senior Environmental Scientist at the Gas Technology Institute (gas industry think tank). I don’t have a dog in this fight, and have always worked with fossil fuel interests (my first client was Amoco Oil Company in 1982). As I’ve reviewed data and trends, I’ve come to realize that global warming is, in fact, accelerating and has been masked by heat uptake by the oceans. This heat has driven the atmosphere to do some rather amazing things, such as the recent Super Typhoon Yutu that destroyed the Northern Marianas Islands. Energy is energy, and the atmosphere is retaining vast amounts of it from the carbon dioxide and methane (both natural and manmade) that has accumulated. I’ve pissed off plenty of Al Gore’s folks when I tell them “It is too late, the atmosphere is ruined,” but that is the fact of it. I’m old (63), no kids, so I really don’t give a damn anymore. If any of you have kids/grandkids, they will inherit a ruined planet. Sad but true. Best, CRS, DrPH (not a PhD by the way).

Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 11, 2018 9:38 am

Your “explanation” of Yulu makes no sense at all.
“anthropogenic methane mitigation” sound like you are a waste treatment plant janitor flushing out sewage tanks.
And your idea of a “ruined atmosphere” is so stupid it is not even wrong.
You are just another full of schitt neverwuzzer.

Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 9, 2018 12:04 pm

Hey CRS, DrPH, the southwest US has been hit with several megadroughts over the last 600 or so years and long before white males began using fossil fuels and ‘contaminating’ the atmosphere with plant and tree food.

I can post links if you don’t believe me. Let me know…

Reply to  kramer
November 10, 2018 7:07 pm

I live south of Tucson AZ, and we just had massive rainstorms. The southwest will have increased rainfall as the Pineapple Express moves to dump massive amounts of rain onto the Sonoran Desert. From a November 2018 newsletter:

[blockquote]”So far, this season has been a unique experience, a wet season. Even those who have lived in this area for decades cannot remember a September and October like the last two. For at least
the last two decades this part of Arizona has been in a drought, lucky to get close to an average rainfall of about eleven to fourteen plus inches. (Tucson’s average is about eleven inches while the average for Green Valley is just over fourteen inches.) You could say, justifiably, that the last two months have seen more rain and cloud cover than usual, including rain and the unfortunate flood damage in Amado.[/blockquote]

John C
Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 11, 2018 8:20 am

Apparently you haven’t been in southern Arizona for long. I have been here for over 50 years. Rain happens in the deserts sometimes. Always has, always will. I have seen the Santa Cruz overflow it’s banks numerous times from lots of rain. There is an area of washed out land between Tucson and Green Valley that happened way back in the late sixties. At that time the word was global cooling was coming and c02 was much lower than today. You can believe in your man made warming as long as you respect those with a different opinion or experiences. Your attack on Anthony was way out of line. Especially your so called evidence. My “recollection” is vastly different than yours. I’ll keep driving my diesel truck thank you.

Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 11, 2018 4:18 pm

That’s deep. Who ever heard of alternating drought and wet periods? Two whole decades drier than normal? That’s a very long time (and significant) – about as long as that inconvenient truth ” The Pause” which so many of your ilk have been scrambling to explain … or rather to “disappear”.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 9, 2018 6:40 pm

The essence of being a jerk is not being able to recognize that you are being a jerk. Thank you for demonstrating that so clearly. You probably also have no shame.

Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 9, 2018 7:11 pm

Oh My God….The depth of depravity writ large…. I seethe with pure rage at this. This…………………..

Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 9, 2018 7:45 pm

Property can be replaced. Thank God all your family, friends, and employees are safe.

Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 10, 2018 2:49 am

climate change is, in fact, a reality…..

Thank God we didn’t have internet trolls back in the decade of the dust bowl

Angela Thomas
Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 10, 2018 10:24 am

I so want to say very rude words to the twat who thinks this is due to climate change! It’s probably more due to dimwits like himself who are appalling green forest managers whose inefficient strategies make natural events ten times worse. And, in some cases, the firebugs who think starting fires is fun. Both beneath contempt.

Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 10, 2018 6:54 pm

Sorry, Anthony, that was rude of me. I hope you and yours will be OK. I’ve pissed off Al Gore’s folks by telling them what I’ll tell you and WUWT world = the atmosphere is ruined, no amount of money will be able to remediate the carbon in the atmosphere. Nobody seems to want to hear the truth on either side.

Please track the winds on this web tool – the easterly winds coming down off of the Sierra Nevada are creating a “blow torch” effect, increasing the effects of ambient lack of humidity, dry forest fuel, etc. This will get worse before it gets better.,36.22,1736/loc=-122.260,39.218

Reply to  CRS, DrPH
November 11, 2018 5:15 am

…in other words….no one on either side is agreeing with your delusional paranoia

Reply to  GeologyJim
November 9, 2018 7:10 pm

We all could pray for rain or a west wind to send the fire back over ashes. Anthony is right on the edge, and could lose everything tonight.

Being very close to huuricane Michael three weeks ago and a few more close ones the last 30 years, it isn’t anything like a fire. Little or no warning, and sometimes only one way out of danger.

Alan the Brit
Reply to  GeologyJim
November 10, 2018 2:46 am

Hear hear!

November 9, 2018 8:13 am

How awful….

These fires are too common and get too big..for Calif to not have the equipment to stop them before they get this big… the very least even at the federal level there needs to be an army ready to go at a mins notice…all over the country

Thomas Homer
Reply to  Latitude
November 9, 2018 8:24 am

Latitude: “for Calif to not have the equipment ”

Dovetail this with California’s desire to eliminate the use of fossil fuels – how effective would a fleet of electric fire trucks be?

Gary Meyers
Reply to  Thomas Homer
November 9, 2018 10:19 am

I’m still laughing at the electric fire trucks!

Reply to  Gary Meyers
November 9, 2018 10:27 am

My innate spoonerism misread ‘Fire Trucks’….

Jeff Mitchell
Reply to  Leo Smith
November 9, 2018 12:03 pm

I knew a guy who didn’t use profanity, but who liked to do spoonerisms, was totally embarrassed when he did that one. It was really funny.

Dr. Bob
Reply to  Leo Smith
November 9, 2018 1:04 pm

I always mix up the words Fire Trucks with Friar Tuck’s. A splendid restaurant & wine bar in Nevada City, CA. Been there often and love it. They also do a great Fondue that my wife and daughter love.

Reply to  Leo Smith
November 9, 2018 1:22 pm

Could you translate? My innate spooner engine is not tuned for English. Trier?

Reply to  Leo Smith
November 9, 2018 1:36 pm

Spent couple of weeks on business in Grass Valley, staying in Nevada City, with the USA colegues every evening we were regular at the splendid Friar Tuck’s, while two weekends were at Jimmy’s at lake Tahoe.

Reply to  Leo Smith
November 9, 2018 1:55 pm

Hugs, you’re on the right track, but it’s the second word that causes issues.

Reply to  Thomas Homer
November 9, 2018 12:21 pm

You mean Lime scooters coming from Oroville Reservoir right?

Reply to  Latitude
November 9, 2018 8:33 am

Well… wind is the enemy. Wind is the multiplier, that can turn a glowing ember into a little fire, that leaps from leaf to leaf, twig to twig, branch to branch and in minutes becomes a tiny out-of-control forest fire. In hours, its thousands of acres big. Wind. All the things we always hear about: extra warm weather, high wind, late in dry season. Wind.

Reply to  Latitude
November 9, 2018 11:18 am

It has been reported that the fire-bombing aircraft were unable to operate in the fire because the smoke was too dense. Some helos were bale to operate, but they don’t carry much water or retardant.

You can have all the equipment you need and Nature may conspire to prevent its use.

However, California is totally incompetent in forest management and in having the resources necessary to fight large fires.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
November 9, 2018 11:19 am

Duh, “bale” = “able” And I used to earn my keep as a proof-reader. Arggh.

Jeff Mitchell
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
November 9, 2018 12:16 pm

Typos happen to everyone. You’re not alone. I read lots of books, and I see even the editors and proofreaders miss some.

Reply to  Jeff Mitchell
November 10, 2018 12:52 am

I remember the well known typing error, Spike Mulligna.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
November 10, 2018 4:56 am

yup and they ran items sledging trump , here in aussie papers today- for stating the fact they wont burn firebreaks or cut trees in cali due to enviro sjw types
he was spot on correct.

Reply to  Latitude
November 9, 2018 2:42 pm

Our Government at work: they don’t like the SuperTanker because it is too big and can drop too much retardant.

COLORADO SPRINGS — With the ability to drop nearly 20,000 gallons of water or retardant in a single pass, the Global SuperTanker could be an airborne, blaze-battling behemoth on the front lines of the 416 fire near Durango — or any of the other wildfires burning in Colorado this week.

But the converted Boeing 747-400, which started life 26 years ago as a Japan Airlines passenger jet, instead sat Wednesday on a runway at Colorado Springs Airport, its engines off and its cockpit empty. Lacking a contract to fight fire on federal land, the Global SuperTanker appeared to be little more than an oversized tarmac ornament.

Global SuperTanker, which carries nearly twice as much firefighting capacity as the next biggest aircraft that is used to fight fires — the DC-10 — hasn’t been completely idle over the past year. It dropped retardant on a wildfire in California last fall and has been used to fight blazes in Chile and Israel.

But the big play in the wildfire business is on federal forest land in the United States, where stands of trees go on for miles and fuel is plentiful to support a large conflagration. However, arriving at an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service to fight wildfires on territory the agency oversees, both in and outside of Colorado, has been no easy feat.

First, the Colorado Springs-based company had to challenge a capacity limit the Forest Service placed on the air tankers it would consider using to fight fires. In November, the U.S. Government Accountability Office took Global SuperTanker’s side when it determined that the Forest Service’s decision to exclude the jumbo air tanker — with its 19,200-gallon capacity split between two giant onboard tanks — from competing for federal contracts wasn’t reasonable.

“When significant fires in virtually any terrain are raging, the SuperTanker can lay the longest retardant lines in a single pass or multiple drops rendering the lowest cost per gallon dropped,” he said. “Rather than several aircraft flying to achieve the same thing, the size and speed of the SuperTanker make the best value proposition.”

Global SuperTanker got a generally positive grade from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, which hired the aircraft to fight fires in the state last year. It gave the plane an “above average” rating in a final report, praising its performance in heavy timber, “wider than normal drop patterns,” and “notable performance in reload times and speed to fire traffic areas.”

Company officials say Global Supertanker can reach any fire in the United States from its Colorado Springs base in 2 1/2 hours or less. And the four ejection nozzles on its belly, which can provide a combined 60,000 pounds of thrust in getting water and retardant onto a fire, make for a powerful attack on flames.

Reply to  Phil
November 9, 2018 6:22 pm

The #SuperTanker is at MCC and crew members are on the ramp this morning. They have been briefed for missions to support CAL FIRE. We will be in the air soon. Stay safe everyone. T-944

Reply to  Phil
November 9, 2018 10:23 pm

I just want to clarify (although I think the article I referenced states so) that it is the federal government that wanted to prohibit the use of the 747 Supertanker and not the state of California. Presumably pursuant to the contract referenced in the article, the Supertanker made 4 sorties today on the Camp Fire. You can search for N744ST on Flightradar24.

Don K
Reply to  Latitude
November 9, 2018 5:32 pm

Sadly, it’s not really a question of equipment. Except for some high altitude sub-arctic and some desert climates, the state mostly has Mediterranean Climates (Koppen Csa, Csb, Csc). Basically that’s six months roughly of “normal” wet weather and six months of unremitting drought. The vegetation is adapted to that. It dries out in Summer /Fall and grows lushly in Winter/Spring. When it’s dry, it can and often does burn — spectacularly.

Moreover, a lot of the countryside is very rugged. Good sized mountains punctuated by steep canyons full of rattlesnakes and hostile vegetation.

Wildfires can, and do spring up pretty much without warning in Summer and Fall and grow to huge size in hours. About the best that can and usually is done is to get people out and protect structures to the extent that’s possible.

It’s always been that way and probably always will be that way. A few months ago, I read Richard Henry Dana’s classic “Two Years Before the Mast”. Dana commented that there were no trees at Santa Barbara because a wildfire had burned the settlement out and required everyone to retire to the beach a few years before his ship’s visits in the 1830s to trade manufactured goods for cow hides.

November 9, 2018 8:34 am

Well… wind is the enemy. Wind is the multiplier, that can turn a glowing ember into a little fire, that leaps from leaf to leaf, twig to twig, branch to branch and in minutes becomes a tiny out-of-control forest fire. In hours, its thousands of acres big. Wind. All the things we always hear about: extra warm weather, high wind, late in dry season. Wind.

Reply to  GoatGuy
November 9, 2018 9:16 am

Just to note that in LA & Ventura counties, a fire broke out Thursday afternoon in mountains above Chatsworth, and it has been driven by Santa Ana winds in 18 hours nearly to Malibu. It jumped the 101 freeway at several locations, the flames blowing nearly horizontally as it marches south-southwest through Thousand Oaks to the ocean.

Jeff Mitchell
Reply to  GoatGuy
November 9, 2018 12:12 pm

No. Suppressing forest fires is the enemy. The underbrush builds up and creates a massive store of fuel.

Building homes and businesses in fire prone areas is the enemy.

The enemy is us, the wind just helps us out. Yes, there is some sarcasm there.

This is NOT from climate change.

Reply to  Jeff Mitchell
November 10, 2018 4:00 pm

Small fire now, small fire later.
No fire now, big fire later.
No fire now, no fire later, GINORMOUS RAGING INFERNO much later.
There will be fire. LET IT BURN.

Don K
Reply to  GoatGuy
November 10, 2018 6:19 am

Indeed, In California, it’s the East (“Santa Ana”) winds that are a problem The normal winds during fire season (half the year pretty much) are weak westerlies that bring in somewhat cool, fairly humid air from the Pacific. Fires under those circumstances are relatively controllable. But occasionally, high pressure over the Great Basin causes winds to blow from the East. Hard. And the air is not only hot from compression as it drops from the plateaus of the Great Basin to near sea level, it’s dry. Humidities in the low single digits. Add that to dry, flammable vegetation and you have a recipe for annual disasters.

November 9, 2018 8:34 am
Reply to  ren
November 9, 2018 8:48 am

The arctic dry air core is located in the north-central US.
comment image

Reply to  ren
November 9, 2018 9:20 am

Very high pressure in Nevada.
comment image

James Breeding
November 9, 2018 8:58 am

Wow! I’m in downtown Sunnyvale,near San Jose, and can smell the smoke.

One of my coworkers just bought a house in Paradise last to retire to next year. He texted that he was evacuating and that his back yard was on fire.

Now they need to change the town’s name to “The Other Place”.

Sweet Old Bob
Reply to  James Breeding
November 9, 2018 10:27 am

Paradise IS lost ?

Jeff Mitchell
Reply to  Sweet Old Bob
November 9, 2018 12:19 pm

If you should die today, Paradise is NOT where you want to go.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Jeff Mitchell
November 9, 2018 3:10 pm

It’s snowing in East St. Louis right now, that’s about as far from Paradise as you can get.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  James Breeding
November 9, 2018 6:41 pm

It was originally “Pair o’ Dice.”

bruce ryan
November 9, 2018 9:00 am

have the flames in that picture been enhanced? Not saying anything they just seem to be off a bit.
I can imagine people outside of Chico being alarmed

Kevin Butler
Reply to  bruce ryan
November 9, 2018 9:07 am

Article says, “The natural-color image was created using bands 4-3-2, along with shortwave infrared light to highlight the active fire.”

Kent Noonan
November 9, 2018 9:09 am

Some food for thought: Many reports of people leaving their cars and running away. How does this happen? Somebody stopped in the middle of the road. If you find yourself in a fearful situation, think about the people stuck behind you. Hit the gas and get out of the way. Pull over if you have to stop. Being in a moving car is far safer than stopping and / or running.
My heart goes out to all who are impacted by this tragedy.

Steven F
Reply to  Kent Noonan
November 9, 2018 9:33 am

remember these are narrow winding mountain roads. Even if there are no accents and everything moves smoothly there will be a traffic backup and in some places traffic maya be stop and go. This commonly occurs in the morning or evening when everyone is driving to and from work. Roads are normally sizedfor these peak traffic hours. But they are not designed for the traffic that would result if every one in a town decided to leave at the same time.

If you are not moving fast enough a fast moving fire will over run the road with you on it. If you cannot move forward or sideways to get out of the way of the fire you may have one choice, run for your life.

Reply to  Steven F
November 9, 2018 12:10 pm

Damned if you do and damned if you don’t. Here in Victoria (Australia ) the advise is ALWAYS stay in your vehicle. If your on foot radiant heat and oxygen depletion are major contributors to death. The standard message in fire season is always carry a woolen blanket in your car, keep as low as possible and cover up. Many reasons for cars stopping in the wrong spot. Blinding smoke, fallen trees, panic etc. With some personal experience over many years, “try and keep your head while all around are loosing theirs” That said, involvement in bush fires is the most terrifying of experiences.

Angela Thomas
Reply to  Sambar
November 10, 2018 10:19 am

True! I once interviewed a couple who were behind a car whose occupants got out – instant conflagration for the poor devils.

To Anthony and staff – my thoughts are with you all in the hell that is a bushfire. Stay safe!

Reply to  Kent Noonan
November 9, 2018 9:51 am

My parents were evacuated from there yesterday. According to them many trees and power lines were on fire along the roadside. Apparently some people felt like sitting ducks as the roads became parking lots with all of the traffic. To them getting out of a stationary environment was a better option. I can’t blame them after looking at some of the videos of driving through an inferno.

November 9, 2018 9:40 am

I don’t have direct knowledge this area, but I think a lot of forests are overgrown and prone to uncontrollable fires.
There is just way too much over mature, dense forest here in southern BC Canada. It will burn again, like it did in 1910. I have evidence of that fire at my place.
My opinion.

Reply to  Billy
November 9, 2018 9:55 am

The whole town is a forest. Houses are carved out in lots with scores of large pine trees among them. I’m not sure it’s as easy as thinning out an uninhabited forest. Paradise for many years has been a retirement community, so a great deal of these folks don’t have the means to keep after these trees on their property, much less all of the dried pine needle litter. One other thing is that most of the power is through above ground telephone poles, heavily overshadowed by all of the pine trees. I wouldn’t at all be surprised if the fire started from the wind blowing a tree over onto a power line.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  flyfisher
November 9, 2018 6:46 pm

I once owned 5 acres on the south side of Paradise. I visited the property 10 years ago and hardly recognized it because it had become so overgrown. It, like many of the properties, did not have proper fire barriers.

Reply to  Billy
November 9, 2018 11:51 am

A University of BC forestry guy managed to mention on radio that we have enough fuel piled up for another 16 fire seasons like this years. With 60% human caused–significant percentage deliberate–CBC finds it much simpler to blame “climate change” instead of the obvious bad choices in planning.
Watching Ft Mac homes being rebuilt with asphalt shingle roofs again is enough to make you bash your head against…a brick wall?

Allan MacRae
Reply to  Betapug
November 12, 2018 6:02 am

Although this is not my expertise, I have learned enough to believe that forestry mismanagement is the primary cause of these excess forest fires.

I hope that there will be a competent and rational reassessment of forest management practises after the Paradise fire.

We have apparently learned nothing in Canada after the Slave Lake and Fort McMurray fires.

I hope that the American experience will nudge our imbecilic politicians into taking rational action to improve forest management, instead of just blaming climate change.

Phil Rae
November 9, 2018 9:41 am

Like everybody else here who benefits from the amazing WUWT, I sure hope this conflagration is brought under control quickly and with minimal loss of life. Clearly, the damage done to property, forest and wildlife is already very significant and an absolute tragedy for folks living in the area, many of whom may have lost everything. Our thoughts are with all those affected.

For the past 20-30 years, I have read numerous articles and seen documentaries about the western States discussing the fact that small, deliberate, controlled burns to remove brush and dead undergrowth are essential to prevent this type of raging wildfire. Despite this knowledge, it seems that whatever controlled burns are permitted by the authorities are woefully inadequate in addressing this problem, year after year after year.

Reply to  Phil Rae
November 9, 2018 12:24 pm

The most untended woods we have in Oregon belong to the feds and state who own ~50% of the state. Enviro’s typically oppose any work/fires/logging done on public lands with lawsuits so while the problem is recognized by foresters it’s easier for the government to spend money on fire fighting than lawsuit fighting.

Russ R.
Reply to  Darrin
November 9, 2018 1:04 pm

It is far easier to control a fire, when you can choose to do it when the conditions are favorable for keeping it under control, and with fire fighting resources in place.
The worst time to have a fire is when you are NOT ready, and conditions are favorable for the fire to burn out of control.
Any sensible court should help to prevent this, by setting greater liability for uncontrolled burns, versus controlled ones.
These fires are not accidental. They are caused by negligent behavior in forest management, to allow fuel to accumulate without action taken to manage it, under favorable conditions.
If an industry allowed the accumulation of flammable material to accumulate until it burned in an uncontrollable manner, you can be sure they would be held liable. There is no reason to absolve the forest management bureaucracy of liability for similar behavior.

Roger Knights
Reply to  Darrin
November 9, 2018 2:36 pm

Has anyone considered suing those environmental organizations after the fact? Just the publicity of the filing would have a corrective effect.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Roger Knights
November 9, 2018 3:23 pm

The press would vilify you and bury the story.

November 9, 2018 9:49 am

Judging by that smoke plume, that is a severe wind blowing constantly from a specific direction.lets hope it calms down soon to enable the blaze to be tackled effectively and that everyone is safe


November 9, 2018 10:01 am

Living inside a dry pine forest. What could go wrong. The question is not IF but WHEN.

Reply to  Robertvd
November 9, 2018 10:07 am

tik tik tik tik tik tik tik tik tik tik

November 9, 2018 10:04 am

Just to give you an idea of how quickly this moved, the site of the fire is about 6 miles as the crow flies from my parents house. It is reported to have begun around 6:45 am. At 7:30 am my folks were notified about the evacuation. They had no idea that there was a fire (windows closed). After going outside they could see/smell all the smoke and the pine needles in the gutters of the street were on fire from all of the falling embers. Didn’t have any time to pack, just got in the car and left.

November 9, 2018 10:51 am

Arizona had the Great Rodeo Fire a number of years ago. The Forest Service wanted to thin the forest, but an environmental group in Tucson went to court an prevented them from doing so. The forest joined an Indian reservation and the tribe reviewed the forest service plan an decided to follow it. When the fire burned onto the reservation they put it out, but the rest of the fire became the biggest in Arizona history.

Reply to  Bruce
November 9, 2018 11:47 am

Chip and pelletize the pine before it ashes you…

November 9, 2018 11:42 am

The dryness at the higher lats is as a result of global cooling.
Click on my name to read my report and figure it out for yourself.

Jeff Mitchell
November 9, 2018 12:22 pm

Is Anthony in the path of this thing? Please let the answer be no.

Reply to  Jeff Mitchell
November 9, 2018 1:29 pm


According to the satellite photo, Chico was at the edge of the smoke plume from the fire, but if the fire spreads with the same speed as before, I fear that Anthony will have to run. Hope WUWT is hosted not at his house, but at a safe distance.

Anyway for a lot of families it is a disaster with a loss of home and memories. And I hope that all will survive, but I fear that there will be many casualties…

Reply to  Ferdinand Engelbeen
November 9, 2018 2:30 pm

Unless Chico has changed a lot since I was last there in the 1980s, most of the housing areas are down in the valley without many trees to burn up. Many of the landscapes were dryland types with gravel and dirt rather than trees and shrubs. Of course it may have changes in the last 35 years.

My great aunt and uncle lived on one of the hills above Chico. My great uncle was a brush fire captain and complained about the fuel buildups in the hills all the time. No one listened to him then either.

My Great Grandfather lived in a retirement mobile home park in Paradise. Looking at that photograph, there is nothing left of that area of town. I hope everyone got out ok, as there were a number of folks up there when he was alive that had prudently given up their licenses. He was always getting rides with some of the “young widows” to the grocery or to church. The widows were pushing 70 and he was pulling 80 long behind.

Greg S.
November 9, 2018 1:25 pm

It’s sad that people out west continue to have to learn the hard way what many decades of fire suppression and abysmal forest management has lead to. The continued denial of this very real reality and the utterly ridiculous laying of blame on the “climate change” boogeyman is only going to result in these types of fire events persisting for the foreseeable future.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Greg S.
November 9, 2018 3:32 pm

Guvnor Doomsday Brown-eye is sure to have a real festival with this. he might even get to move the clock closer to midnight!

November 9, 2018 1:54 pm

Bruce Ryan,

NASA also credits MODIS in the image. In any case, IR detected heat “pixels” are displayed in a red color. So no, those aren’t actual flame images. Just red pixels to denote where sufficient heat was detected to assume there was a fire in that particular pixel.

Allan MacRae
November 9, 2018 3:46 pm

Paradise Lost

In Alberta, we lost the entire town of Slave Lake a number of years ago and more recently we lost about a quarter of the city of Fort McMurray to wildfires. Fort McMurray would have been lost entirely except for the heroic efforts of firefighters.

I believe that poor forestry management is a significant contributor to these problems. It makes no sense to me to have the boreal forest advancing right to the edge of human habitation. I suggest that a mile-wide fire break containing occasional trees and used as Parkland would be far more sensible.

It would also make sense to have prescribed burns and other advanced forest management techniques to cut down on the fuel load, especially the underbrush. The greens have reportedly opposed such measures

And none of these disasters had anything to do with climate change – that is specious nonsense.

Paradise Lost
The poem concerns the biblical story of the Fall of Man: the temptation of Adam and Eve by the fallen angel Satan and their expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Milton’s purpose, stated in Book I, is to “justify the ways of God to men”.
John Milton 1667

Reply to  Allan MacRae
November 10, 2018 12:44 am

Slave lake was not lost, a lot of structures burned.

Allan MacRae
Reply to  nc
November 10, 2018 12:52 pm

Most of the structures in Slave Lake including the civic structures – schools and municipal buildings – burned.

You are really arguing about the definition of the word “lost” – which I think is a specious argument.

Of course the town has since been rebuilt.

What is your point? Are you suggesting that Alberta forestry management practice is competent?

November 9, 2018 4:11 pm

I live in the bush east of Melbourne. The fence line of my property abuts a “nature reserve”.
I guess nobody on this site will be surprised when I say that the “nature reserve” is overgrown with dried out brush, dead trees and accumulated debris since the last fire about twenty years ago. It is just waiting for the spark.
From where I am now sitting in my living room, I can see the giant eucalyptus tree by my garage that had its core burned out by the last fire. Other trees still show scorch marks where the bark was burned off, and the underlying wood was carbonised.
So far this year, we have had about half our normal annual rainfall.
I am feeling somewhat nervous.

Reply to  William
November 9, 2018 9:34 pm

We drove through Warrendyte coming out of Melbourne today. We agreed that we wouldn’t want to be there in a fire situation. That whole area looks ready to go. Our area, around Marysville, has recovered well from the 2009 firestorm BUT loads of rubbishy bushy overgrowth has been allowed to spring up again.
We are thinking of you and praying for you, Anthony, and all hurt or still under threat from this nightmare fire.

Reply to  William
November 10, 2018 5:09 am

you NEVER buy land near any nat park..yeah its cheap, and theres good reasons for that!
the wildlife roam- the fences are ALL your costs- and the burnoffs never seem to be done there, just other areas easy to get to get repeat burns every 3 to 5 yrs to fit the quotas for areas done
never mind that the trees in those areas reburnt wont recover or flower in maybe 5 to 10yrs after a one time only fire either. also i notice our Vic dwelp mobs Always do burnoffs starting good friday to easter mon ( triple time pay) and peak risk to campers etc who went bush

Reply to  ozspeaksup
November 11, 2018 4:56 am

Actually, this year the conditions were perfect around our way for ‘cool’ burns at Easter. However, Forest Fire Victoria management in DELWP were prevented from doing it because of complaints by Melbourne tourists about possible smoke spoiling their holiday. Never mind what this area went through nearly ten years ago when the smoke alone was much worse than any burnoff would produce.
After Easter the conditions were nothing like as good for burning off and a perfect opportunity to render this area a little safer was lost. I know this because a family member was working with FF Vic at the time.

Reply to  ozspeaksup
November 11, 2018 5:01 am

Incidentally…one bad situation near here last season was caused by some campers who left a campfire still burning…it is some campers who produce danger for those of us living here. We also get their litter thrown out onto our frontages, including cigarette ends and glass bottles that can act as magnifying glasses for the sun’s rays.

November 9, 2018 4:44 pm

Here’s an animated GIF of satellite images showing the progression of smoke throughout the day today.

Mark Foster
November 9, 2018 8:49 pm

My Wife’s first cousin, his wife, 4 kids (8,6,4,1), two dogs, and cat barely made it out alive and are staying with us after their 3 year old custom home burned to the ground. They got one suitcase packed between the six of them. They said the traffic was stoped as flames were engulfing the town. People left their cars because the flames were moving faster than traffic. Sure makes my issues seem small. Our home (in Granite Bay) is very much alive and crazy right now(we are older and our 4 kids are 12 years older than theirs). The emotions are mixed. California requires a ridiculous permitting process to clear brush and trees on private land, and clearly can’t manage the public lands. Very sad indeed.
Hard to believe that Brown, Steyer et al actually believe their own BS.

Lewis P Buckingham
Reply to  Mark Foster
November 9, 2018 9:22 pm

‘ California requires a ridiculous permitting process to clear brush and trees on private land, and clearly can’t manage the public lands’
The same thing applies in Victoria Australia.
Speaking to one of the insurance estimators after a catastrophic fire in Victoria, his comment was that the understory fuel had never been burned off, the only choice was to turn round and run in the face of fire.

The area is full of memorials.
This is healthy as it reminds the agnostic that fire control and prevention are not just about ideology.
They are a practical matter.
When ignored the material and human loss are not replaceable.

Lewis P Buckingham
Reply to  Lewis P Buckingham
November 9, 2018 10:51 pm

Wording on Plaque
Left Side Inscription
On Saturday, 7 February 2009, Victoria experienced an unprecedented and catastrophic event as firestorms raged through much of the state. For many, this day will forever be remembered as Black Saturday.

In Bendigo, the Bracewell Street fire, as it came to be known, swept quickly and with little warning through the north-west of the city. Powered by wind gusts of up to 80 kilometres per hour and temperatures into the mid-40s Celsius, the fire took the life of one resident, along with numerous pets and wildlife. It destroyed 58 homes, countless sheds and outbuildings, cars, boats and caravans.
In a few short hours it devastated and area of almost 500 hectares, threatening to spread to the city’s CBD, and changed the lives of so many residents forever.

Right Side Inscription
Less than two kilometres north-west of this site, Bendigo resident Mick Kane tragically lost his life – fighting, like so many others – to save the home and family he loved under impossible circumstances. Many residents were forced to flee for their lives or watch their precious homes and possessions burn.
Bendigo remembers all those whose lives were devastated on Black Saturday, and who fought back with immense courage and optimism in the face of adversity.
In the face of unprecedented disaster, Bendigo banded together like no other time in its history. This memorial acknowledges the bravery and ingenuity of our emergency service workers, including our firefighters, police and ambulance service; the local residents who banded together in horrific circumstances, not only to fight the fire, but to support one another in so many ways; the many relief aid organisations, recovery agencies, counsellors, businesses, media outlets and caring citizens who gave so generously in the days, weeks, months and years following Black Saturday.

Inscription in Proximity
A special place of reflection, this memorial was installed to commemorate the devastating Black Saturday fires in Bendigo on 7 February 2009.
This memorial is a lasting reminder of our community’s incredible courage and spirit.
Bendigo will remember.

The memorial was created with contributions from:
Bendigo Bushfire Memorial Committee
State Government of Victoria
Community Bushfire Recovery Steering Group
Community Recovery Fund – Australian & Victorian Government
Bendigo Bushfire Action Group
Local artists, construction and fabrication companies

Reply to  Lewis P Buckingham
November 10, 2018 12:46 am

Yes Lewis, They are always unprecedented, I did the 2009 fires in the low part of the high country. I did the 1983 Ash wednesday fires in Upper Beaconsfield. The Dandenongs fires in the 1960’s I did in Dandenong . My cousin was burnt out in the 1960’s near Yea. The 1939 fires, Black Friday. The fires of the 1920’s. The great fires of the 1890’s. All of course totally unprecedented.
No I will not be attending any memorial services this coming February. Politicians, Royal Commissions and green B.S. I will sit at home and quietly reflect, wondering how I ever survived, and taking some comfort with the Bundy Bear. ( Aussie Rum for any international readers)

Reply to  Sambar
November 11, 2018 5:09 am

Locals here want to keep the ten years memorial low key. We are somewhat involved as my husband is an Anglican priest and will be taking a low key service in February. Today, the fires in California were remembered with our Remembrance Day prayers this morning at our church in Marysville.

November 10, 2018 12:03 am
Reply to  ren
November 10, 2018 12:48 am
November 10, 2018 2:57 am

Very dry air in the central and western US.
comment image

November 10, 2018 6:04 am

Not sure how up to date this report is or if it’s the latest up-to-date due to the rapid movement of the ‘Camp fire’ but it lists 6,453 residences and 260 commercial bldgs destroyed. Seems the entire town of Paradise may have been destroyed. Unbelievable destruction.

Fire leaves nothing whereas many flooding events are still water that at least leaves the building foundation and structure intact for some level of repair. Fire is truly the worst of natural destruction on a wide spread scale. And there are some ways that man can proactively limit the probabilities and damages of such a fire getting out of control. A little prevention goes a long way. Are government regulations and policies leading to or intensifying the destruction?

Reply to  eyesonu
November 10, 2018 6:10 am

Sorry, I forgot to post the link related to my above comment.

November 10, 2018 6:23 am


While we NEED you and WUWT please grab your servers and Kenji and evacuate as safety would require. We could live without WUWT for the short term if you need to shut it down. Of course it’s your call and I’m sure you will make the right one.

Safety first and this fire is really a threat to Chico. A threat of this magnitude with only a days warning is very serious.

November 10, 2018 3:20 pm

Interesting article discussing the physics involved in these fires.

Rory Redhead
November 10, 2018 5:45 pm

Neven defends rejoicing at deaths in Paradise on his forum .. worth a look ?

Sioned Lang
November 10, 2018 10:51 pm

Ten pm news mentioned that the power company was having problems in the area just before the fire started. Several years ago, a cousin living in No Ca lost his home to one of those big fires and the fire was caused by the electric company. It took several years to receive his settlement. So, let’s wait to see what the real cause of this fire is before crying wolf.

Bigh Lebowski
November 11, 2018 11:09 pm

My childhood spent living at the foot of the mountains in Chatsworth. I remember spending several summer evenings in a lawn chair watching the mountains burn. Anybody who has seen a Roy Rogers or Lone Ranger episode has a picture of the rugged landscape. But was a beautiful place to live 60 years ago.

Verified by MonsterInsights