Hell-Fire: New Not Normal Firestorms

*Help, the planet is on fire. From Siberia to the Congo Basin and the Arctic to Brazil and much in between, the onslaught of terrestrial and marine heatwaves is ubiquitous.

World Fire Map - Hell-fire

The oceans, which drive the climate, are supercharged with fossil fuel heat. 300 zettajoules of man-made heat have lambasted our planet. All life lives within a habitable range of temperatures. Once that range is exceeded, death occurs.

Instead of heeding thousands of scientific warnings urging all nations to reduce fossil fuel emissions, the opposite has occurred.

Alberta tar sand mines - Hell-fire
Photo credit: priceofoil.org
Every second day, open tar sand mines in northern Alberta handle enough dirt to fill the Dallas Cowboy Stadium

America is in the midst of the largest west Texas and Alaska freshwater-killing fracking boom ever. Britain is fracking everywhere. Canada nationalized the Trans Mountain Pipeline to add almost 900,000 barrels of climate wrecking fossil fuels daily to Earth’s overburdened atmosphere.

The Australian government is subsidizing its latest and largest coalmine, the Adani Carmichael mine. China’s One Belt One Road scheme interlinking almost 75 countries requires 1,600 new coal-fired power stations.

Our mother, Nature is furious. Wildfires are burning sooner in the spring and burning later and hotter than ever before in the fall. In California, we fight mega fires at Christmas. Unprecedented.

Currently, it is so hot and dry in California that conditions are more akin to those of September. Those deadly 2017 fires that I reported on from Santa Rosa to Santa Barbara, CA, were enormous wind-driven monsters.

Fires surrounding Redding, CA - Hell-Fire
Ferocious plume-driven fires surrounding Redding, CA, melted three high-voltage transmission towers. Photo credit: Hung T. Vu, Associated Press

Last week, we saw a different kind of California firestorm erupt amidst triple digit temperatures and very low humidity. The Carr Fire quadrupled in size within days. Huge towering plumes of hot smoke create wicked updrafts. These plume-driven fires rotate quickly and resemble apocalyptic tornadoes. They are known as “fire vortices.”

“Full-on rotating convective columns. Scary as hell,” tweeted Dr Neil Landau, University of Nevada, Reno.

How a Fire Vortex Forms - Hell-Fire
Photo credit: University of California, Los Angeles

These hideous fires create pyrocumulus, or, volcanic-like clouds. Plume-driven fires don’t rely upon winds to spread flames. Instead, they make their own hell-like weather and spew fire by ejecting glowing embers a dozen miles in front of the leading edges. Triple digit temperatures and all the available surrounding oxygen stoke these ghastly firestorms.

These fire vortex furnace-like updrafts are so intense that they strip leaves off mature trees and wrench whole trees out of the earth. The enormous force necessary to uproot mature trees is equivalent to the proposed new hurricane Category 6, or, sustained winds in excess of 195 miles per hour.

With more than 158 square miles incinerated and 16 percent of the Carr Fire contained, 3,400 firefighters are battling Nature’s fiercest raging wildfire in living memory. At least 8 people dead, 38,000 people evacuated from Redding and more than 800 structures in ruins. Record triple digit temperatures with low humidity favor the Carr Fire charring more forests and scorching more forest creatures in the coming days.

Highway Patrol holding Deer - Hell-Fire
Wildlife rescue workers including police are contending with thousands of displaced animals from the Carr Fire. Photo credit: California Highway Patrol

While this year’s fire season has already devastated California, it seems unlikely to relent.”

“While this year’s fire season has already devastated California, it seems unlikely to relent,” said climatologist Bill Patzert. Several cities set all-time heat records this year in July. The most vicious heatwaves, Patzert remarked, typically don’t arrive until September.

These firestorms are being driven by heat from burning more fossil fuels. The more fossil fuels we burn, the more Nature will burn. Let me remind you that we cannot exist without Nature and her forests, animals and freshwater.

Bear walking in the street - Hell-fire
Starving confused creatures fleeing wildfires into towns has become commonplace around the globe. Photo credit: Siberean Times

Already, it’s so hot and dry from repeated heatwaves and droughts across America that 180 million urban trees are dead. There’s a humongous tree graveyard spread along a 3,000-mile long north/south corridor in western North America with 30 billion dead mountain trees.

Mangroves - Hell-fire
9 million mangroves along the Gulf of Carpentaria, Queensland, Australia, boiled to death in 2015-16. Photo credit: Dr Norman Duke

Temperatures have been so high in Australia there are massive tree graveyards everywhere.

The Amazon tropical forests, the lungs of the planet, are ravaged from three, one-in-one-hundred-year droughts within 11 years, interspersed with repeated firestorms and escalated forest looting by organized crime.

Trees give us more than one of every three breaths of oxygen. Atmospheric oxygen levels are plummeting from burning subsidized fossil fuels.

It’s time for intrepid leaders to stand up for the people and the planet not the corrupt planet-killing fossil fuel oligarchs.

We have the technology to power all towns and cities from supercritical steam from solar concentrated farms and lithium-ion battery stations. We have the blueprint for a zero-combustion global economy.

Unless $5.3 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies are terminated immediately these new “not” normal firestorms and heatwaves will quickly make our planet uninhabitable. And that is unacceptable!



Dr. Reese Halter

Dr Reese Halter is an award-winning broadcaster, distinguished conservation biologist and author.

Dr Reese Halter’s latest book is
Love! Nature

Tweet @RelentlessReese


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