Friday, May 11, 2007

Wildfire Season ad Nauseum

Although it is only May 11, we have already had quite a busy wildfire season already. I am worried about how the summer and fall will shape up. Fall is traditionally our most active fire season.

Take a look at the MODIS visible spectrum imagery of Catalina today taken by the Terra and Aqua satellites. Terra flew by in the mid-morning. The area lies near the edge of the image so the resolution is not optimal.

Aqua flew by in the early afternoon. The marine layer had burned off a bit. Catalina is near the center of the image so the resolution is better than Terra's today. (This coverage changes daily and Terra gives better coverage than Aqua some other days.

The smoke plume gives you a pretty good idea of the wind direction. Now, take a look at the terrain. (I just love the tilt feature in Google Earth.) See if you can predict where the fire will go next based upon Fire is a river that runs uphill.

There are several species that live on Catalina island and nowhere else on earth. I hope they will survive.

You may also want to look at the USDA Forest Service Wildfire Maps. Click on California/Nevada. Click anywhere on the map to zoom. See how many fires have burned since January 1, 2007 in California. Yipes.

Allstate has decided to halt writing homeowner's insurance policies in California, citing the fire danger. They've been writing policies and collecting premiums here for years. The policies even have clauses excluding flood damage. So, if they collected premiums during the wet years and now want to stop covering the state because they might have to pay out fire claims this year, then why do we carry insurance?

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