[MCN] About California's big Valley Fire

Lance Olsen lance at wildrockies.org
Sat Sep 19 23:08:53 EDT 2015

"Consuming that house appears to be what gave the Valley fire the 
critical mass of heat and energy it needed to become a lethal 
monster. Black scorch marks high up the Ponderosa pines show the 
reach of the flames. Intense heat from the burning house flash-dried 
the leaves of a nearby oak tree.

"Here in the Mayacamas Mountains that hover above Clear Lake, 100 
miles north of San Francisco, California's drought has been going on 
for seven years. Pine beetles have attacked the stressed gray pines, 
leaving dead timber standing. A century of fire suppression has built 
up thick undergrowth.

"Meanwhile, city dwellers' desire for a rustic cottage in the woods - 
often tucked away on a twisting road with only one way out - has 
added to the danger.

"When a freakish jet of wind howled up Putah Creek on Sept. 12, it 
whipped the Valley fire into a conflagration that rocketed it into 
the ranks of the worst in California history. The wind sent embers as 
far as a mile to kindle new fires that spawned new embers.

"Winds rushed through the valley at speeds of some 60 mph."


"Whereas any one line of evidence may be weak in itself, a number of 
lines of evidence, taken together and found to be consistent, 
reinforce one another exponentially."

"What one can say with confidence is that success in understanding 
the oxygen cycle of the biosphere in truly broad terms will depend on 
how good we are at weaving together the related strands of 
biospheric, atmospheric, hydrospheric and lithospheric evolution 
throughout geologic time. Whatever we may conjecture about any one of 
these processes must be consistent with what is known about the 

Preston Cloud and Aharon Gibor. The Oxygen Cycle. 
Scientific American, September 1970

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