Even as the national air quality seems overwhelmingly healthy at large, the deep red pool around the Bay Area suggest a future of increasingly dangerous air quality fire-spread whose topography has been understudied under high winds.
And that bright red patch, which spread out clouds of compromised air over the previous week, and would continue to do so in future fire seasons, leading to predictions of a decade of future shut-offs, disrupting the economy, security, and personal safety of Californians for years to come, and especially compromising the health of elder communities, many of which are located in extra-urban areas.
The new ways that fires spread in an age of global warming and climate emergency has not been studied–President Donald Trump, elected as a climate change partisan, has helped to eliminate research into increased gustiness, working on ensuring fire-protection in an era of heightened patterns of fire ignition and fire spread. The spread of wind-driven fires between different fuels–dry brush and grasses; houses; trees; eucalyptus; gas reserves; propane tanks–and in fiery infernos of increasing temperatures–that make the practices of ensuring “defensible space” around houses a tragically dated postulate. The very prospect of winds coursing over ninety miles per hour, or spreading fire at eighty miles per hour suggest a new physics of fire’s spread–making the prospect of breaking up vegetation all but antiquated–
Extreme fire prevention funding, long precarious in the Trump Era, stands to be abolished from how the Dept. of Interior oversees federal fire programs: the Wildland Fire Office; funded at $13 million in 2012, if initially slated to be abolished in the Trump era, is now without funding, undermining scientific examination of this new topography of fires, as climate change has increased the costliness of fires’ spreads, and costs of the Camp Fire of 2018 grow beyond $10 billion, or six times as much as the Oakland Firestorm of 1991. The poor planning of climate readiness has grown, as we lack real images of extinguishing fires’ spread–and imagine the temporary shut offs can intervene as a deus ex machine to prevent fires’ spreads.