Summary of “Drones And Planes Are Replacing Human Fire Lookouts”

Drones And Planes Are Replacing Human Fire Lookouts The number of manned fire lookouts in the U.S. is dwindling, as technology is increasingly used to spot and monitor wildfires.
The tools at his disposal – binoculars, maps and notebooks – have gone virtually unchanged since the first fire lookouts were built on high peaks with unobstructed views in the early 1900s.
In those early days, fire lookouts were also firefighters.
American authors Norman Maclean, Gary Snyder, Jack Kerouac and Edward Abbey all spent summers as fire lookouts.
“The technical aspects of a lookout’s job can be mastered by any literate anthropoid with an IQ of not less than 70 in about two hours,” Abbey wrote in the essay Fire Lookout: Numa Ridge, published in 1977.
A survey by the Forest Fire Lookout Association estimates that only about 300 fire lookout towers are still manned today, many by volunteers.
Mendonca still values having human lookouts watching over his forests.
Fire crews are finishing their shifts on a fire to the northwest.

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Summary of “Amazon rainforest fires: Ten readers’ questions answered”

We asked you to send us your questions on the Amazon fires, so we could fill in the gaps and clear up some common myths.
Many of the fires burning through the Amazon are believed to have been started deliberately.
2) The number of fires seems like a bad metric, because the size of fires varies.
The humid forests of the Amazon have no adaptation to fire and suffer immense damage.
6) How quickly does the Amazon rainforest regenerate after a fire? – Emily.
Any fires that are currently burning will leave the surviving trees more vulnerable to drought and repeated fires.
Prof Malhi is worried that if the Amazon is hit by fires every few years large parts of it will shift to a degraded shrubby state.
A reduction in rainfall would create dry conditions for fires to spread. If 30-40% of the Amazon was cleared, then there would be a danger of changing the forest’s entire climate, he says.

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Summary of “A Trailblazing Plan to Fight California Wildfires”

The shortfall has several causes some fifteen years ago, Brown set himself the almost impossible task of devising a plan for the forest he helps maintain that would be sophisticated enough to overcome all obstacles.
The local district ranger at the time was worried, too, and asked Brown whether she and her team could help reduce the forest’s fuel load by doing some thinning-something the Forest Service does either by sending in loggers with chainsaws or by using a backhoe-like machine called a masticator, which shreds anything in its path.
The Sagehen planning team heard from Craig Thomas, the director of the environmental group Sierra Forest Legacy, which has a long history of litigation against the Forest Service.
Typically, a Forest Service project takes two months to plan.
Sagehen had been in the works for nearly a decade, but Brown eventually achieved the impossible: a plan that everyone-environmentalists, scientists, loggers, and the Forest Service-agreed on.
With a grant of $1.3 million dollars from the Moore Foundation and the support of Silicon Valley startups, he has begun work on creating an open-access platform currently called the California Forest Observatory.
The “Forest” felt more like a lightly wooded park-it has an average of fifty trees per acre, compared with the four to five hundred that are typical elsewhere in the Sierra Nevada-and I began to realize that saving these forests will require a profound adjustment in our sense of what nature looks like here.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the dollar amount granted by the Moore Foundation for the development of the California Forest Observatory.

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Summary of “Amazon rainforest fire: Forests in Brazil, Greenland, and Siberia are burning”

More than 21,000 square miles of forest have gone up in flames in Siberia this month, putting Russia on track for its worst year on record for wildfires.
Over the weekend, new fires ignited in Alaska, extending what’s already been an unusually long fire season for the state.
California, which suffered its most destructive wildfire season on record in 2018, is having a much calmer year by comparison, although the potential for a major fire remains.
The Amazon rainforest, which remains drenched for much of the year, does not burn naturally.
Farmers use slash-and-burn tactics to clear land for farming and pasture, though it’s illegal in Brazil this time of year due to fire risk.
The Amazon rainforest has experienced a record number of fires this year, with 72,843 reported so far.
“The dry season creates the favorable conditions for the use and spread of fire, but starting a fire is the work of humans, either deliberately or by accident.”
The source of the current wildfires in Brazil is not yet known, and the government in Brazil is not all that inclined to find out.

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Summary of “The California Sunday Magazine”

“Did fire come to Paradise or did Paradise go to the fire?” I asked.
On his director’s watch, the big fires began to erupt: the Oakland-Berkeley Hills Fire in 1991 that killed 25 people, injured 150 others, and destroyed 3,000 houses; the Old Topanga Fire two years later that scorched 18,000 acres, destroyed 359 houses, left three people dead, and would have burned down Pepperdine University, if not for the response of his firefighters.
The most the fire agency could muster was that locals “Should” include a consideration of fire danger when approving growth.
Each battle required air tankers, helicopters, bulldozers, all-terrain fire engines, thousands of firefighters and inmate conservation workers, hundreds of fire stations, and a statewide communications system.
Cal Fire manned fire stations throughout the wildland-urban interface.
During my first visit to Paradise, Joan Degischer remembered getting a phone call from PG&E on November 7, the evening before the fire.
“The drought did not start the fire. Global warming did not start the fire. PG&E started it. What do we do? Does the judge just turn a blind eye and say, ‘PG&E, continue your business as usual. Kill more people by starting more fires’?”.
During the same period, Southern California Edison caused 344 fires, with seven greater than 300 acres.

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Summary of “Smokey Bear is still keeping his watchful eye on America’s forests after 75 years on the job”

Some 96% of Americans recognized this constant reminder to keep forests safe, according to a survey in 2013, making him about as familiar as Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus.
After briefly featuring Bambi, the deer from the popular Walt Disney 1942 film, the Forest Service landed on a black bear.
In 1944, Staehle created a tender-looking bear pouring a bucket of water over a campfire for the Forest Service.
Three years later, came the well-known slogan that told Americans “Only you can prevent forest fires.”
In the forests of Northern New Mexico, local people see Smokey’s fire prevention message as a threat because they burn off small parts of the forest to plant crops or graze animals.
Kosek said the fire-suppression campaign reflects a belief, deeply rooted in the Forest Service’s history, that people who set fires in forests are deviants and evildoers.
Contrary to Smokey’s message, fires can be good for forests.
The Forest Service itself said this phenomenon has made forests less healthy and increased the intensity of wildfires in some areas in its 2007 report, “Be Careful What You Wish For: The Legacy of Smokey Bear.”.

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Summary of “The Case for Making Cities Out of Wood”

An Alphabet subsidiary is planning to build a futuristic neighborhood, not out of concrete and steel, but wood-and wood is looking good.
Quayside’s newsworthy for another, more encouraging reason: The plan is to build the place, not out of concrete and steel, but wood-and wood is looking good.
A recent advance in wood technology should interest the neighborhood’s developers: Teng Li, a University of Maryland mechanical engineer, created with his colleagues wood that’s as “Strong as steel, but six times lighter,” he said.
The scientists first boiled natural wood in a mixture of sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfite, to remove some of the lignin and hemicellulose, substances contained in the walls of wood cells.
The idea of future wood cities has been hanging around for at least a few years.
Bartlett, along with some colleagues, tested the sort of wood mid- and high-rise buildings-like Framework, in Portland-have recently been made out of, known in the industry as “Cross-laminated” or “Mass” or “Tall” timber, which is how Quayside’s developers refer to it.
Alongside the environmental and economic, an aesthetic-psychological case for wood cities.
Clare Farrow, who is co-curating a current London exhibit called “Timber Rising-Vertical Visions for the Cities of Tomorrow,” wrote in Dezeen, “Studies are showing that the presence, scent and touch of wood can have remarkably positive effects, not only on people’s wellbeing in a general sense, but more specifically on stress levels, blood pressure, communication, learning and healing.” A 2015 review in Wood Science and Technology supports her claims and also suggests that “Specific aspects of wood such as colour, quantity, and grain pattern should be examined” in future studies.

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Summary of “The Case for Killing the Campfire”

Scorching a total of 400 square miles, the Rim Fire was the third-largest wildfire in California’s history.
Will you be able to enjoy a fire on your next camping trip? For residents of California, Oregon, and Washington, the likely answer is already no.
Outside of the metal fire rings in organized campgrounds, you could not have a fire on public land.
It’s not just ongoing fires that can injure people: embers cause 70 percent of campfire injuries after a fire is supposedly extinguished.
To me, having a fire has always been a fundamental component of enjoying a night outdoors.
That’s textbook bad-weather fire making, there was obviously no risk of wildfires during a very rainy winter, and we caused no damage to the local ecosystem by using a small amount of dead wood, yet an online firestorm still developed.
Simply leaving a fire unattended or having a fire in a restricted area in Arizona can incur fines of up to $5,000 or six months in jail.
The penal code defines such activities: “A person is guilty of unlawfully causing a fire when he recklessly sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned, any structure, forest land or property.” Penalties include up to six years in prison-and you’re held responsible for the costs of fighting the fire, even if those costs are in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Case for Killing the Campfire”

Scorching a total of 400 square miles, the Rim Fire was the third-largest wildfire in California’s history.
Will you be able to enjoy a fire on your next camping trip? For residents of California, Oregon, and Washington, the likely answer is already no.
Outside of the metal fire rings in organized campgrounds, you could not have a fire on public land.
It’s not just ongoing fires that can injure people: embers cause 70 percent of campfire injuries after a fire is supposedly extinguished.
To me, having a fire has always been a fundamental component of enjoying a night outdoors.
That’s textbook bad-weather fire making, there was obviously no risk of wildfires during a very rainy winter, and we caused no damage to the local ecosystem by using a small amount of dead wood, yet an online firestorm still developed.
Simply leaving a fire unattended or having a fire in a restricted area in Arizona can incur fines of up to $5,000 or six months in jail.
The penal code defines such activities: “A person is guilty of unlawfully causing a fire when he recklessly sets fire to or burns or causes to be burned, any structure, forest land or property.” Penalties include up to six years in prison-and you’re held responsible for the costs of fighting the fire, even if those costs are in the hundreds of millions of dollars.

The orginal article.

Summary of “On the arsonist’s trail: inside Australia’s worst bushfire catastrophe”

Pridgeon showed the assembled police team how he had traced his way to the place where the two fires joined.
The gum leaves, pliable up to a certain temperature, were like thousands of fingers pointing the way the fire had gone: a sign to the investigators that if they entered the fire zone here and moved back in the opposite direction, they might come to where it started.
The fire scientists weren’t about to speculate on who had lit this fire.
As the scientists inspected the ground for signs of whatever the arsonist had used to start the fire, Henry stood and wondered: “Why?” Surely whoever did this had known that on such a day a blaze would likely cremate everything in sight? Or was knowing this the reason?
The suspect, Brendan Sokaluk, had grown up only a few kilometres from where the fire began.
Two years earlier someone from the Country Fire Authority had notified police that when Sokaluk tried to join up as a volunteer his demeanour was strange.
Another report suggested that fires had been previously lit on Glendonald Road, where the Black Saturday fire had started, using teepee-style configurations of leaves and twigs.
Natalie Turner calculated that she had left her parents’ place around 1.45pm, placing Sokaluk a little closer again to the time of the fire’s start.

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