Posts Tagged ‘Global Warming’

If you’re a regular reader you know that I broke up with my boyfriend a couple of weeks ago (I’m horrible with time so forgive any inaccuracies regarding estimates).  Well, we forgave each other and learned a good deal about ourselves.  And I’m so very grateful for his continued love and forbearance and I believe that he feels the same way about me.

However, all that joy of reconciliation is tempered this week by the loss of the 19 firefighters in Yarnell, AZ.  My boyfriend is a firefighter with over 14 years experience.   Arizona is a small state and there are connections and relationships throughout not only the firefighting community but also among the larger emergency responders community.  Every time anyone of them is injured or dies be it a police officer, an EMT, a firefighter, etc, the entire community is affected. Many of them have suffered numerous traumatic experiences as part of their careers and every time an incident like this happens it dredges up all those awful feelings.  They relive the past quietly bearing those burdens while they continue doing their job saving the lives of their fellow citizens.  That ripple of pain spreads out to their family members, who often also know the lost and their families.  And it becomes amplified by the worry of  their spouses, children and parents who know that their loved one could be called upon to go help with the Yarnell fire.  Today it is still 0% contained.  As of yesterday firefighting departments across the state were already thinking about what resources they will send and which people they will ask to volunteer.  So emergency responders are grieving, struggling, still continuing to do their jobs and putting themselves into harm’s way.

In a just world such heroes would receive compensation commensurate with their sacrifice.  But we know that’s now how the real world is, so our only other option is to show our gratitude individually.  To make a donation to help the families of the 20 who lost their lives or were injured, click here.  And in future, remember these every day heroes the next time their pay and benefits comes up as an issue in state and local elections.    Our taxes do pay for good things and those firefighters are proof of that.

Yesterday I heard on the radio an interview with a representative of a local non-profit, the 100 Club, that helps the law enforcement and firefighting community in such situations.  The rep said that it’s not the fact that they died that makes them heroes, but it’s how they lived their lives that does.  Truer words were never spoken.

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Arizona:

1.  Thanks Joe, you idiot!  Once again, Maricopa County taxpayers will be shelling out money to a victim of Sheriff Joe’s illegal activities to the tune of over $1 million.  Good ol’ Joe has literally cost the County (and in some cases the State) millions in funds that could have been used for infrastructure, education or even tax refunds.

2.  The second major lawsuit against SB1070 is progressing through the Federal courts.  Known as the Friendly House case it is different from the Federal Government challenge.  This “Friendly House” case is based on the 1st, 5th and 14th Amendments and represents individuals as a “class action”.  The other case, brought by the DOJ is based on the definition of Federal constitutional authority versus State authority.  Both cases seem to be based on solid and established legal precedence, but what do I know?  I only play at being a lawyer in my head.

3.  Local veterans are advocating the use of marijuana for symptoms of PTSD.  Right now, all they have is anecdotal evidence that it works.  Of course, their VA doctors are against it. I would like to think that if I was a doctor and I had a patient for whom nothing else worked, I would not be so rigid as to deny them access to the treatment.  Medical treatment is always weighing the damage that the treatment can cause versu the possible benefits, so marijuana doesn’t create some new dilemma in this regards.  I’m all for it if it helps veterans cope with their mental and physical scars.

4.  It has been hotter than Hades here this week.  This past weekend it started around 100 and then shifted into high gear by mid-week, June 1, cranking up to 111 (a new record for that day, BTW).  Now it is finally starting to go back down again to 100 today.  Ugh, I really hate summers in AZ.

5.  More on the weather…it is supposed to be windy today.  Combined with high temps, that means we will be under a red-flag warning for wildfires.  Will that stop AZ residents from tossing their lit cigarettes out of their speeding cars or from lighting camp fires, etc?  No, probably not.

6.  There’s Bears in them there hills!  An elderly woman was attacked while she was in her tent and this sent lots of campers scurrying out of the woods back to the city, including a co-worker who saw a bear a little to close to his family.  Whenever you start seeing more Coyotes and Bears getting closer to people, it means it is too dry, too hot and the animals are hungry enough to risk human contact.  And it is only June.

National:

1.  The recall election against Gov. Scott Walker (bought and paid shill for Koch Brothers) is being held in Wisconsin today.  I am disappointed in the DNC’s (Democratic National Committee) response, which was to do as little as possible to support Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barret in his bid to replace Walker.  To the people on the ground in Wisconsin, this election is crucial but for some reason the DNC didn’t feel it was all that important.

2.  And speaking of Gov. Walker, the corruption and scandal emanating from this man smells worse than a shit house door on a tuna boat.  One his aides have been convicted for embezzlement and campaigning on the taxpapers’ time and four more are charged.  Of courses, his aides are starting to sing and Walker isn’t looking so good (go figure).  Odds are good he will face an indictment; even Gov. Walker thinks so as evidenced by the legal defense fund he has already established from his campaign money.  ONly problem is, it is illegal in Wisconsin for the Governor to establish the fund BEFORE he is indicted.  There was a rumor floated about Walker having a love child but that has been debunked already.  The right is claiming that it was a just a desperate ploy by activists on the left to smear Gov. Walker’s name, but the left doesn’t have to work very hard at that since he’s doing a fine job all by himself. (And note bloggers on the left admitted it was debunked, something bloggers on the right hardly ever do).

3.  If Romney wins the Presidential election, he will get a $5 million raise.  Good news for the bank workers in the Cayman Islands!  Looks like the rich do sometimes create jobs.  /snark

4.DougJ over at Balloon Juice makes an excellent point:  The Republicans created the current fiscal crisis we are in with the Bush Tax Cuts, the wars, and the Recession that have pushed up our Debt to unacceptable levels and it will eventually threaten funding for Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.  They also have purposely obstructed any attempts to make the economy better (reduce Health Care Costs, provide sufficient stimulus, etc).  So they created this huge economic problem, they are doing everything in their power to make that problem continue, and they are using it not only as a campaign point but also as an excuse to gut Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare.  This is the new GOP playbook.  It happened in Wisconsin under Gov. Walker.  When he entered office he had a surplus of $56.3 million and then he gave a huge tax cut to corporations, which created a big deficit.  Walker then used the existence of the deficit as an excuse to gut the unions.  In the military this called “false flag” operations.  In psychology, there is a syndrome for individuals called “Munchausen by Proxy” or “Induced Illness”.  Ironically, while the GOP has been using this strategy ever since Pres. Obama has been elected, you will see that there are many cons online that will accuse Pres. Obama has engaging in “artificial crisis creation” in order to gain more power for himself and “soshulism”.  And that my friends is called “projection.

Now in addition to the Wallow fire in the eastern part of the state (as of this morning it was only 33% contained), we are now having to deal with a second large wildfire that has exploded in the southern part of the state. The Monument fire, which started on June 12, occupies over 18,000 acres near in the south central section of the state and over the Mexican border.

As of this morning the Monument fire had consumed 40 houses and one church, but within the last 24 hours had doubled in size.  There is also another fire nearby called the Horseshoe Two fire which has been burning at least since June 15th.  Taking just these three wildfires together, it would appear that the following area within Arizona is an active battleground of man v. fire:

Wildfires

2011 Summer Wildfires

The majority of the land is Federal Park land and therefore the majority of the cost is borne by the U.S. Government.  See all of the colored land below versus the colorless areas and the red circle that show the wildfires?  It is either Federally managed land or it is an Indian Reservation (which means more Federally Managed land*).  Do you see how little Gov. Brewer is actually responsible for?**

Wildfires compared to Federal v State Lands

Wildfires compared to Federal v State Lands

Gov. Brewer has declared a state of emergency so that extra funds can be allocated to deal with those area that the state controls.  I think it is important to note this discrepancy but I am willing to bet that if the fires are controlled successfully that  Gov. Brewer  will take credit for it and if they aren’t, she’ll be blaming the Feds.  After all, that is her MO.  Make note, I am making a bet on how she will behave, anyone want to bet on the outcome? I don’t mean to trivialize what the residents (human, domesticated pets, wild animals, etc) are going through as a result of these fires.  I AM being cynical about how our esteemed Gov. will behave.

Notes:

*Yes, the Indian Reservations are sovereign nations but no nation is sovereign absolutely, in a de facto sense, not even the U.S., no matter what right wing conservatards may say or believe.  Indian Nations govern themselves, but they receive a great deal of money and support from the Federal Government particularly in the area of law enforcement and safety support such as wildfire fighting.  From a practical standpoint it would be absurd for the Feds to sit back and wait for an Indian nation to deal with a rapidly spreading wildfire because it would then spread to non-Reservation land and they’d have to become engaged once more anyway and it would have more momentum.

**So after two or three or four glasses of vodka and Cranberry Juice, I took the map of Arizona from AZCentral showing the fire locations (although I don’t think they take into account the acreage affected, it seems more like they are giving dots for the center of the fires) and then combined that with the map of Federal Lands). So what we get is what you see here, as best as I can muster at midnight, Arizona time after a few cocktails.  So sue  me……

Sources:

http://www.azcentral.com/news/wildfires/monument/monument-fire-timeline.php

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/06/17/20110617arizona-fires-monument-fire-evacuation.html

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/06/15/20110615arizona-fires-horseshoe-two-fire-0615.html

http://www.abc15.com/generic/news/state/wildfires-horseshoe2-fire-map

Unfortunately, Arizona is facing another difficult and dangerous fire season.

The Wallow fire has scorched over 300,000 acres in the eastern part of the state and has been jumping over containment lines.  The fire covers over 600 square miles in both the Apache and Sitegreaves National Forests–this is about the areas of New York City and Chicago combined (ht NYTimes).

According to the news on the radio (KTAR 92.3) this morning, the fire swept through the town of Greer last night.  They can’t report just how bad the damage is until all the residents have been notified as to the status of their properties.  I suspect this means that the town was decimated.  I really hope I am wrong.

In the White Mountains, Greer is a gorgeous vacation spot with lots of things to do year round.  The loss of that beautiful landscape, and of course, the personal losses that will have occurred is incredibly sad.

Greer, AZ

Beautiful Greer, AZ

One thing they said on the news was that yesterday the humidity was 4% and today it is 6%–this is drier than kiln dried lumber you can buy at Home Depot.  It’s not uncommon for AZ to experience 10% to 20% humidity levels but 4%?!  It’s also not uncommon for area very high in altitude to maintain single digit humidity readings because the thin air just can’t support that much water.  But we’re talking Rocky Mountain elevation, not the 8500 feet of somewhere like Greer or Eagar, AZ.

As this fire spreads new evacuations are occurring in Eagar and Springerville. As of today, the fire is 0% contained.

Someone thought they make everyone’s lives worse and started 9 separate fires near Flagstaff in a rural subdivision.  That one is 20% contained. Flagstaff, one of my favorite areas to visit, is surrounded by Coconino National Forest.

In addition to the stress and loss the residents will suffer, there are some short-term effects that all Arizonans will feel including:

  • Added stress on animal rescue societies that have been over capacity due to the Recession
  • Dangerously high particulates in the air.  An Ozone High Pollution Advisory has been issued for today by the National Weather Service.  This is a result of high temps, dry weather, lack of wind, man-made pollution and wildfire particulates.  People with asthma, like my daughter, are advised to stay indoors.  That sucks, quite frankly because in the summer the only thing for her to do is swim.
  • Local economies will tank since so much of the areas affected rely heavily on tourism.  No one is going to go visit an area wiped out by a wildfire for years to come.
Arizona has always had wildfires so this isn’t anything new.  However, a study (and I’m sure it’s not the only one) has found that global warming that causes an earlier Spring has increased the incidents of Wildfires over the last 30 years.  So it looks like we’re going to be seeing this  more and more often.

 

Sources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/10/us/10wildfire.html?_r=1

KTAR 92.3 News-Talk

http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/06/09/2258067/fires-prompt-home-evacuations.html

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/313/5789/940.full