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"Hell in all its fury has visited the good people of Victoria.  It's an appalling tragedy for the nation."   -Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, 2/7/2009


Scientists warned us this was going to happen

IT IS only a couple of years since scientists first told us we could expect a new order of fires in south-eastern Australia, fires of such ferocity they would engulf the towns in their path.

And here they are. The fires of Saturday were not "once in 1000 years" or even "once in 100 years" events, as our political leaders keep repeating. They were the face of climate change.
                 --Sydney Morning Herald

Our turn may come, too, probably starting in California or the mountain West.  It may not be long now.

The awful fires in Victoria, Australia have been covered by two of our most informed and best writers, Australia Burning Up and Drowning at the Same Time (JohnnyRook) and Australia Fires kill 128 (FishOutOfWater).  I would like to add to their coverage, and try to explain as clearly as possible why these fires should be regarded as the face of climate change, and why we can expect similar events to happen here.

 The fires have already come to be regarded as the worst natural disaster in Australia's history, worsethan the Bali bombings (which were themselves called Australia's 9/11).  

To get a sense of how traumatic this has been, check out the Sydney Morning Herald's front page.  The stories are horrendous.  According to one article

Nearly 600 patients have presented to emergency departments in Victoria, said a spokesman for the state's Health Minister, Daniel Andrews. Of these 120 were admitted, 55 of them children...

many of the victims had watched others perish in the fires and had run or crawled through fire to escape...  "The classic burns patterns that we are seeing is mostly due to people who have been forced to run through flames or have been exposed to extremely high radiant heat temperatures,"

 Briefly, Victoria (in Southeastern Australia) has been facing a severe drought for years.  There's also recently been a heat-wave, with the temperature briefly hitting 115 degrees F last week.  Extraordinarily dry conditions and heat led to massive fires, which as of this writing have killed at least 135 people and possibly over 200.  The latter figure is almost exactly the same fraction of the population as were killed in the US on September 11th, 2001.  And it all happened because southern Australia is very dry.

Why was Southern Australia So Dry?
Look at the world's deserts on a map.  Notice something?  They're all at about the same latitude, 25 (north or south), plus or minus 10 degrees.  All the deserts (Sahara, Saudi Arabia's Empty Quarter,  Mojave, Attacama, and all the others fit this pattern.

This is not a coincidence.

Basically, the equator is hot.  So hot air near the equator grabs lots of moisture, rises, cools and loosing moisture (which falls as rain on the tropics, creating rainforests), spreads out about 30 degrees towards the poles, and then (stripped of its moisture) descends.  (This is called the "Walker circulation".)  Throw in a rainshadow or similar geographic feature, and you have a desert.

Simplifying a bit, as Global Warming intensifies, the tropics expand.  As the tropics expand, the Walker circulation is expected to expand a bit too, and that dry area where all the world's deserts are located moves a bit closer to the poles.  Lots of other changes in precipitation happen, too.

FishOutOfWater has described how these "changes in precipitation" (such a mild-mannered phrase) lead to, well, firestorms.

Our turn is coming

Across the American west, trees are dying due to climate change.  A few weeks ago, a study found

Old-growth forests once studded with pine, hemlock and fir trees are dying across the western U.S. and Canada at double the rate of a half-century ago in what scientists are blaming on climate change... So far it’s only been a slight thinning of the forests," van Mantgem wrote. "The main concern is that thinning could become much more rapid.

This same part of the country is supposed to dry out due to climate change, and is indeed already in the midst of a multi-year drought according to the US Drought Monitor.

Meanwhile, California is experiencing an unusually severe drought

State water officials on Thursday announced that California's snowpack is 61 percent of normal for this time of year, prompting widespread concerns that after two previous dry years, the state... could face the first widespread mandatory water rationing since the early 1990s.

"We may be at the start of the worst California drought in modern history,'' said Lester Snow, director of the California Department of Water Resources.

Looking down the road several decades, as incoming Secretary of Energy (and longtime Californian) Steven Chu noted last week (my emphasis)

"I don't think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen," he said. "We're looking at a scenario where there's no more agriculture in California." And, he added, "I don't actually see how they can keep their cities going" either.

Again, Steven Chu is not some nut.  He is a Nobel Laureate and the Secretary of Energy.

Droughts, warming and dead trees- these are the necessary ingredients for massive fires.

How many canaries do we need?

When the Arctic Ice cap started melting much faster than predicted, the climate deniers implied it was caused by undersea volcanoes (without ever explaining why these undersea volcanoes warmed the air as well as the water, or how they melted ice thousands of miles away, etc.)

When Australia was hit by the largest fires in its history-- just as predicted by climate models-- the NY Times runs a front page article focussing on the role of arson.

The evidence is overwhelming, even if not yet a certainty.  The first hints of Global Warming are here; far worse is yet to come.  The risk is not only that it may wipe out half the species on earth or threaten the lives of hundreds of millions in the developing world.  It will hit developed countries, too.

How many more warnings do we need?

Originally posted to chapter1 on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 08:42 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Ah the arson focus (7+ / 0-)

    That's been a favorite of the Orange County Register as fires have devastated Southern California time and again during a prolonged drought.

    They're amazing climate change deniers at that paper, so they just love to find some environmentalists or arsonists to blame.

    They also like to add in blame for the unions that represent fire-fighters.

  •  Where the fires are burning is the temperate (7+ / 0-)

    zone of Australia!  This may fit with your analysis of the expansion of the tropics to some extent, but it's hard to believe they could expand that much.

    In any case something serious is happening there, and it is very hard to attribute it to "natural variation."

    Under its best conditions Australia can't support a lot of people.  Right now it looks like a continent in serious crisis.

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 08:52:21 AM PST

    •  Maybe it *was* the temperate zone (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Timaeus, Fabian, LookingUp

      Only ~5 thousand years ago, the Sahara was a lush land dotted with lakes.  It is still home to one of the world's largest aquifiers.  Then the climate changed.

      Victoria is in what has long been the temperate zone, and it has been rainy enough that such fires can't happen.  But it is drying out.  See FishOutOfWater's diary (linked above) for precipitation statistics.

      Its certainly true that no specific heat wave or drought can be definitively linked to climate change, but this is the sort of thing that has been expected to happen.

      So you're right-- the continent is in serious crisis.

      •  Something that is very predictable (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        is that when you have an area that is heavily forested dry out, the result is an area chock full of dry fuel.  Just add a spark for a full fledged conflagration.

        If this is a long term precipitation change, then the forested areas will transition to areas of sparser vegetation and the monstrous forest fires will stop.

        That is the "good news".

        With Climate Change, my constant question is "What are the long range predictions/consequences?".  

        Proud member of the Cult of Issues and Substance!

        by Fabian on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 09:05:26 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  But that's where bushfires occur! (0+ / 0-)

      Bushfires are pretty much most common in the southeast where there are the biggest eucalyptus forests. Koories used bushfires to help clear out undergrowth and some species can only germinate in bushfire heat.

      It's true that this is the most severe fire we've seen since white settlement, but the fact that there's a huge bushfire "in a temperate zone" isn't in and of itself, unusual.

  •  It seems to be human nature to pretend (10+ / 0-)

    the problem is ignorable again, in the past once all the canaries have died. We are preoccupied with our little accounting problems, which will look like a picnic in the park when the magnitude of ecosystem collapse becomes apparent.

    Quietly, with no press and no apparent concern, ecosystem damage is already cosing us trillions each year, and that is a foretaste.

    What's so hard about Peace, Love, and Truth and Progress?

    by melvin on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 08:52:59 AM PST

  •  This one-off stuff is bait for denialists (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    skywaker9, synductive99, Empty Vessel

    What of the 1983 fires--were they evidence of climate change?  

    No single catastrophic event is evidence of anything climate-related, and this kind of stuff only makes sensible people more willing to listen to the denialists.

    Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

    by Rich in PA on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 08:56:20 AM PST

    •  Two levels of response (7+ / 0-)
      1.  You're right that I should have included that disclaimer.  But I think anyone who follows the situation knows to include it now.  Also, as noted these trends fit well into a) scientists' predictions, b) long-term patterns.
      1.  I think you are misreading the politics.  Reading the Herald articles, it seems clear that this brings climate change home in a way that little else can.  The reality of Global Warming is huge fires-- not a barely discernible change in the thermometer.

      The denialists use every snow storm and cold snap to "disprove" global warming.  I think a major drought-- long predicted by scientists-- should not be ignored.

      •  third disclaimer (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BachFan, EthrDemon, chapter1

        one could make an argument that development patterns (as Austraila seems to follow ours) also added to the tragedy.

        A glance at a map of the areas burning tells me these likely are all exurbs of Melbourne.

        not discounting the climate change aspect, btw.

        (0.12, -3.33) ONE America! and I am Unanimous in that!

        by terrypinder on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 09:13:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep, this is like SoCal (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fabian, terrypinder, EthrDemon

          People living in places where fire risk is inherently very great.  With the added cultural complication that people in Victoria have officially been given what looks to me like insane advice, which placed an equal value on getting out quick vs. staying to defend your property.  As the premier of Victoria notes with some understatement, they may want to review that advice.

          Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

          by Rich in PA on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 09:17:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  i'm, of course, not arguing (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Rich in PA, smellybeast

            that the fires aren't somehow worse (reading up a bit, rainfall was up just a tad during their spring in Victoria, which of course would spur plant growth just as what happened in SoCal. I'm unaware of what the managed burn policy is there, since I do know we apparently didn't do it enough here.)

            But yes, I think I could make an argument that 200 people would not be dead if folks didn't have to have their exurban paradise.

            that said, anyone have a link to the relief effort? I'd like to help.

            (0.12, -3.33) ONE America! and I am Unanimous in that!

            by terrypinder on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 09:21:27 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  You're mixing up two things... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BachFan, EthrDemon, Milawe

        ...or, should I say, you're encouraging readers to mix-up two things.  One is climate itself, temperature and precipitation change over time.  If Australia is getting hotter and drier, that's climate change.  Catastrophic fires are a likely consequence of climate change, but they can never be evidence of climate change.  The idea that we should adopt the foolish style of argumentation favored by denialists is not attractive to me, not because I'm a moralist but because I don't think it will work.  It's not like the genuinely evidence-based line of argument is so complicated, after all.  

        Al que no le guste el caldo, le dan dos tazas.

        by Rich in PA on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 09:15:49 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Sure its evidence (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fabian, synductive99

          Under climate-regime X, fires like these are a 1-in-a-1000 year occurrence.  Under climate-regime Y, they are much more frequent.  Seeing such a fire is therefore a piece of evidence (although it doesn't prove) that we are in climate regime Y.  Not seeing a fire is a piece of evidence (although it doesn't prove) that we're in climate regime X.

    •  No, events have become more extreme and... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kimberley, Fabian, chapter1, smellybeast

      more frequent. There is now manifesting enough of a preponderance of record/extreme events that experts are attributing these to climate change.

      Two years ago, after Britain's record floods, a reporter asked Jay Larimore of NCAR whether these could be attributable to climate change. His response was "ask me in thirty years". What an "ivory tower" response! How much death and destruction must occur before academics get out of their heads? There's a chart in the '07 IPCC report, showing the percentage of scientific studies whose results are consistent with climate change predictions, by continent. For all continents, the percentages are in the 90s. In the US, numerous studies show an increase in extreme storms. It's here now, and significant impacts have been manifesting for several decades.


      "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy" Hamlet, 1:5

      by synductive99 on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 09:05:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  True. For the one-offs. (8+ / 0-)

      But one-offs year after year after year eventually add up to something else.

      As many voices have been saying in Australia, it's time to stop referring to this record year after year heat and shortage of rainfall as another drought and accept the fact that it is the new climate. Refusal to do so is a roadblock to mitigation, let alone attempts to correct. It isn't going to get any better if we continue to countenance denial and ignorance.

      What's so hard about Peace, Love, and Truth and Progress?

      by melvin on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 09:06:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Are sensible people even in denial anymore? (5+ / 0-)

      I don't think so.

      I think global warming has made its own case by now. The trouble comes when we talk about trying to tackle the problem. And it comes as no surprise to me that people shut down at that point, because of its enormity. But I don't confuse that with them being denial that there is a problem.


      •  Sensible people may not be in denial (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kimberley, bluegrass50

        If so there are an awful lot of "insensible" people.

        •  Yes, there are. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Fabian, chapter1

          But when it comes to global warming (climate change, whatever people want to call it) I wouldn't even try persuade insensible types anymore.

          In fact, I'd put some responsibility onto the shoulders of deniers, "If we buy into your reasoning, what do we gain? And what might we lose if you're wrong?"

          The rest of us need to deal with cutting through this Gordian knot for sensible, well-intentioned people:

          If this is true then there's nothing we can do about it fast enough.

          I suspect that if we present the solutions as manageable, most sensible people will help combat the problem even if they aren't 100% convinced global warming is largely owing to man's activity.

    •  It isn't. (7+ / 0-)

      If the Ohio River Valley dried out, then we'd have dying forests capable of sustaining raging forest fires too.

      The fires are just visible reminders of what happens when precipitation patterns change.

      Proud member of the Cult of Issues and Substance!

      by Fabian on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 09:07:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  We lost NOLA. We are losing southeast Australia. (4+ / 0-)

    Isn't it time to demand that 100% of the massive debt that the world's citizens are assuming in stimulus packages be spent on resolving the carbon crisis?

    There is no future, no housing,no transportation, no agriculture unless we can fix the carbon problem.

    All of it and more must be spent to reinvent our unsustainable energy, transportation, manufacturing, housing and agriculture sectors.

    The next holocaust will be in open air ovens like we see in Victoria, AU.

  •  do you have relief donation information (0+ / 0-)


    John Cornyn has cooties!

    by labwitchy on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 08:58:14 AM PST

  •  When we get Hurricane-Blizzards... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Haha, but seriously...

    It will take a major event, that doesn't involve an earthquake, which ends up killing at least 10,000 people...
    -super hurricane(s)
    -super tornado(s)

    Or, we get a major hurting to the backbone of our food, be it corn, or god forbid wheat.  I think if we ever start getting news of terrible wheat harvist we will start seeing some quick action...

  •  Good points for the most part, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    synductive99, Empty Vessel

    this statement is absolutely retarded:

    "We may be at the start of the worst California drought in modern history,'' said Lester Snow, director of the California Department of Water Resources.

    What could that possibly mean? If we're at the start of a drought, how in the hell could we possibly know whether it will be the worst drought in modern history? Given that we're only halfway through the rainy season, two or three weeks of rain February or March would mean that this year would not be a drought year at all, much less the worst drought in modern history. On the other hand, it might never rain again.

    But it's just stupid to admit on the one hand that if we are in a drought, we are at the "start" of it, and then on the other, to say that it's potentially the "worst" one in modern history.

  •  Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler (4+ / 0-)

    I re-read this book last week and it made me feel extremely grim about California's future.  If Steven Chu's comments are any indication, the scenarios in the book may be very real.

    Basically California turns into a corporate feudal nightmare, with walled cities at the mercy of roving hordes of starving people.  Water is scarce and only available to those who can afford to buy it.  Fires (intentional and accidental) devastate the state, burning out entire communities.  LA and the Bay Area are disaster areas.  The novel is set in 2024, which eerily looks like an appropriate timeline.  

  •  Except That - (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Empty Vessel

    Events such as this have happened before in Victoria and, even, Tasmania which is more humid than Victoria.

    There have been four major fire events in the past century - -

    1. 1939 Black Friday
    1. 1967 Tasmanian Fires
    1. 1983 Ash Wednesday
    1. 2009 Current Fires

    Much like Southern California, when the winds are blowing off the ocean, the climate in Victoria is ideal.  But when the winds blow from the north in late summer, they bring scorching, dry air to the coastal regions from the interior.  In Southern California these are called Santa Ana winds.

    How can you possibly cry "Doom & Gloom!" when fires like this have happened every generation?  The higher death toll is, in large part, due to the greater residential development in exurban regions - much like California or Colorado.

    How do you place the current fires within the context of massive fires every 25 years or so?

    •  Record heat, far larger death toll (4+ / 0-)

      See the article I linked in intro, which addresses your points.  One excerpt:

      People are comparing last Saturday to Ash Wednesday and Black Friday. But this misses the point. We should be comparing these fires to the vast and devastating fires of 2002-03, which swept through 2 million hectares of forest in the south-east and raged uncontrollably for weeks. They have been quickly forgotten because, being mainly in parks, they did not involve a large loss of human life or property. But it is to this fire regime, the new fire regime of climate change, rather than to the regimes of 1983 or 1939, that the present fires belong.

      Yes, fires happened in the past.  But as the (local) climate gets hotter and drier, there are more fires.  

      •  Right Now - (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        It involves 350,000 hectares burned.
        That's rather small according to your quote above and other historical sources. In 1851, up to 5 million hectares burned - in 1939 up to 2 million.  Bushfire is a normal climate event in Australia - with massive bushfires occurring at regular intervals.

        I am not discounting the loss of life, but I argue that greater loss of life is due to residential development in areas of higher risk.  And, yes, Australia is in a period of prolonged drought and heat, but its climate regime is characterized by huge temperature and precipitation fluctuations.  I would be curious to see what the standard deviation is for temperature in Melbourne in February.

        Need I remind you, also, that this winter has seen record cold events in places like Alaska, the Yukon, and Siberia - places not exactly tropical to begin with.  So if you are going to focus on outliers - than all outliers should be included.

        •  Actually, good context from Jeff Masters (5+ / 0-)

          a post on these fires within their climate/weather context, including a comment (from Australian meteorlogical official)

          "Climate change is not only increasing average temperatures, but also the frequency and severity of extreme temperature events. While any one event cannot be attributed to climate change, this heat wave is certainly consistent with that expectation. In a warming world we can expect similar extreme events more often."

          This is not "just" record heat.  It is a large number of records, breaking old ones by large amounts, and some pretty impressive ones (like warmest ever seen this far south).  These are far more impressive (and unusual) temperature anomolies than the ones you mentioned.

          And they are occurring despite the cooling influence of La Nina.
          I agree that these fires alone don't prove the globe is warming-- there is lots of other evidence for that.  They put a face on global warming, driving home the (true!) point that global warming means a lot more than that the globe will warm.

        •  Actually..., and also... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BachFan, JohnnyRook, chapter1

          Actually, since the early 90s the General Circulation Models have projected that the Earth's climate will become more erratic, at both ends of the temperature spectrum. Statistically, the bell curve of average temperature both flattens out (i.e. variance and standard deviation increase) resulting in more hot and cold extremes, and the mean shifts to the right over time (i.e. average temperature increases). In terms of the real world, even slightly increased temperature increases moisture content, increasing snowfall. A recent study found that arctic air circulation patterns have changed: whereas there had been a triangular pattern to low and high pressure zones centered on the pole, a dipole pattern has emerged. This is resulting in intrusion of warm air northward and contributing to accelerated sea ice melting, and also intrusion of cold air masses southward. Last winter, while the US was having record cold, Scandinavia was having record warmth. The previous triangular pattern had generally prevented intrusion of warm air masses northward, and intrusion of coldest air masses southward.

          And also, can you cite statistics that showthat the increase in loss-of-life is proportionate to increased population?

          "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy" Hamlet, 1:5

          by synductive99 on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 10:05:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Population Alone - (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Is not the factor -
            It is the DISPERSION of population -
            i.e. more people living on ranchettes in the bush.

            In terms of total population Victoria has 5.2 million now.
            For the life of me I have tried to get 1933 data - meh!

            71 people did die in the conflagration of 1939.
            So if the population was half what it is today - then the loss of life was roughly equivalent in terms of population.  Of course, the proportion of rural population to greater Melbourne was much larger then.  Today Melbourne has 70% of Victoria's population - pre-WWII, perhaps only 50%.  More rural dwellers were at risk because of limited transportation and communications.  But to counter that, Melbourne's statistical boundaries have expanded over time as well.

            What one might do is look at the outermost ring of settlements in greater Melbourne and track them for the past 25 years.

            PS - There's one big difference between rural farmers of pre-WWII Victoria and current ranchette dwellers.  I suspect that rural dwellers of old had a much deeper understanding of nature and were more sensitive to ominous shifts since they were on the land on a daily basis.

            •  Aha! (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              1933 Census - 1,820,000
              1939 Estimate - 1,878,000

              So the population was one third of today's.

              •  What about impact of improved communications? (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                When I was a kid, I was very interested all winter long in whether it was going to snow soon (because that would result in school cancellations).  And yet, a significant fraction of school-canceling storms came as a complete surprise.

                I am much less interested in snow these days, but I am no longer surprised by storms.  I monitor them days in advance using a wide variety of tools available at the click of a mouse.

                Communications in a modern country like Australia are a lot better than they were decades ago.  Half a century ago, numerous residents were probably surprised by fires before they could get out.  Today, the location of fires is even being tracked in real time on Google Maps.  This ought to be a significant counterbalance to the factors you mentioned.

                (I can still remember how great it was to wake up to 9 inches of snow, with more coming down.)

                •  In other climate news (0+ / 0-)

                  We have to make up two calamity days this school year.

                  We are in Ohio and snow and winter weather didn't use most of our calamity days - power outages due to Tropical Storm Ike did.

                  I'm really, really hoping that TSs in the Ohio Valley is not the beginning of a trend.

                  Proud member of the Cult of Issues and Substance!

                  by Fabian on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 11:53:11 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Yes and No - (0+ / 0-)

                  Precisely BECAUSE they didn't have Google Earth, they were more sensitive to nuance.  And they did have radio.

  •  Australia may want to rethink (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    melvin, chapter1, Ellinorianne

    it's export of around 250 million tonnes of coal per year. Pigeons coming home to roost. Australians also have the highest per capita emissions in the world. They also insist on living an absurdly low-density lifestyle and have spread out into the bush. Behavior has consequences. Australians now have to adjust to a much crueler world because of their lackadaisical attitude to the environment. But they at least they can say to the rest of the world: As I was you are. As I am you will be.

  •  Good diary. The New York Times did make a brief (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, chapter1, Ellinorianne

    reference to climate change at the end of their article, which is an improvement for them, but you are right that the focus was on arson as the proximate cause and therein likes the heart of the problem, the inability of so many people, including NY Times reporters to comprehend a long complex chain of events.

    If the NY Times (and the other Traditional media) reported on 100 dominoes tumbling one after the other, the headline would read: Domino 99 tips over causing domino 100 to fall.

    Derelict in their duty, that's what they are.

    "My True Religion Is Kindness" -- The Dalai Lama/---/Do you know why 350ppm is important?

    by JohnnyRook on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 10:46:49 AM PST

  •  And what do you think last year's CA fires were? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fabian, JohnnyRook, chapter1, Ellinorianne

    but without the huge loss of life now in Australia.  Last year was the worst or one of the worst fire seasons in CA history.  My sibling was almost a victim of one of them.  Were it not for a great deal of luck and much work by the community (due to lack of professional fire fighting resources), they would have lost their house.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Mon Feb 09, 2009 at 10:54:04 AM PST

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