California wildfires

California is living America’s dystopian future

The Golden State is on fire, which means that an idea of American utopia is on fire, too. Utopias are the good places of our imagination, while dystopias are the places where everything goes terribly wrong, where evil triumphs and nature destroys her own. Frequently utopias and dystopias are the same place, because perfection may not be possible without someone suffering. Ursula LeGuin writes about…


Fire up: Windy, getting windier through Friday

Look around and feel the wind. It’s a blowing, and along with it, raising local fire risk to what are called “extreme” levels — a first — by state fire officials. Strong Santa Ana winds are expected again in San Diego County beginning late Tuesday night, raising the threat of wildfires through Thursday evening. The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning that will be…


Many people can’t afford wildfire insurance

California’s relatively quiet 2019 fire season ended in October, with serious wildfires in both Northern and Southern California. There are many things Californians can do to prepare for these blazes, but one option – taking out wildfire insurance – is out of reach for many of them. For example, after massive fires in 2018, an estimated 350,000 Californians could no longer get property and casualty…


Learning from Native American wildfire management strategies

For several months in 2019, it seemed wildfires wouldn’t rage across the West as they had in recent years. But then came the dry autumn and California’s Santa Ana and Diablo winds, which can drive the spread of wildfires. Utilities are shutting off power across the state to reduce the risk of damaged equipment or downed trees on wires causing fires. There’s no lack of…


Treating wildfires as a public health issue

Deadly fires across California over the past several years have shown how wildfire has become a serious public health and safety issue. Health effects from fires close to or in populated areas range from smoke exposure to drinking water contaminated by chemicals like benzene to limited options for the medically vulnerable. These kinds of threats are becoming major, statewide concerns. Many people still think of…


UCSD study links climate change to wildfires

A new study by researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and colleagues combs through the many factors that can promote wildfire, and concludes that in many, though not all, cases, warming climate is the decisive driver. The study, led by Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, finds in particular that the huge summer forest fires that have raked Northern…


Climate change and wildfires, is there a link?

Once again, the summer of 2018 in the Northern Hemisphere has brought us an epidemic of major wildfires. These burn forests, houses and other structures, displace thousands of people and animals, and cause major disruptions in people’s lives. The huge burden of simply firefighting has become a year-round task costing billions of dollars, let alone the cost of the destruction. The smoke veil can extend…


Escondido firefighter dies in Thomas Fire

California fire officials say the massive Thomas Fire has claimed the life of an Escondido firefighter. The body of Cory Iverson, a 32-year-old father from Escondido, was driven out of the fire zone in a procession as firefighters lined the road saluting in respect. He had been with Cal Fire since 2009. The San Diego County resident is survived by his wife, Ashley, and a 2-year-old…


Del Mar racetrack back to normal after Lilac Fire horse rescues head home to Bonsall

Thoroughbreds jogged on the main racetrack at Del Mar this week as life after the horrific training track fire in nearby Bonsall began to settle for horses and horsemen involved with the events at San Luis Rey Downs last Thursday. Del Mar Thoroughbred Club and 22nd District Agricultural Association officials reported that there were currently 260 Thoroughbreds and approximately 500 other-breed horses stabled on the…