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Saumit's Cloud Diary Group

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William Hall
William Hall

Wildfire Season 1 Complete Pack

The largest climate package in state history, Governor Newsom highlights over $15 billion in funding to tackle wildfire and drought challenges, build climate resilience in communities, promote sustainable agriculture and advance nation-leading climate agenda

Wildfire Season 1 Complete Pack

The $1.5 billion package supporting a comprehensive forest and wildfire resilience strategy statewide is the largest such investment in California history. Building on a $536 million early action package in April ahead of peak fire season, an additional $988 million in 2021-22 will fund projects to reduce wildfire risk and improve the health of forests and wildlands. This includes investments for community hardening in fire-vulnerable areas, strategic fuel breaks and fuel reduction projects, approaches to restore landscapes and create resilient wildlands and a framework to expand the wood products market, supporting sustainable local economies.

Although some nationwide fire data have been collected since the early 1900s, this indicator starts in 1983 (Figures 1 and 2) and 1984 (Figures 3 through 7), when nationwide data collection became more complete and standardized. EPA divided the time period in Figures 5, 6, and 7 into two roughly equal halves to compare changes in wildfire characteristics over time.

Many environmental impacts associated with climate change can affect the severity and timing of the wildfire season, including changes in temperature, precipitation, and drought. Short-term weather conditions (dryness, temperature, wind, lightning) influence the likelihood of ignition, where and how quickly a fire spreads, and how big it gets. Longer-term climate patterns also play a role by creating conditions that may be conducive to wildfire (for example, a multi-year regional drought). Human activities and land management practices also affect wildfire activity, and preferred practices in wildfire management have evolved over time, from older policies that favored complete wildfire prevention to more recent policies of wildfire suppression and controlled burns. Resources available to fight and manage wildfires can also influence the amount of area burned over time.

This year, Dauntless will support federal and state wildfire operations across the U.S. through exclusive use and call-when-needed contracts. For more news and information on the 2023 wildfire season, follow Dauntless Air on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Fire weather season length imperfectly scales with actual fire activity because fires may not be ignited, there may be no available fuel, or they may be suppressed by humans. Nonetheless, our global fire weather season length metrics were significantly correlated to global net land carbon flux. These correlations were negative, suggesting that when average fire weather seasons are longer-than-normal or when long seasons impacted more global burnable area, net global terrestrial carbon uptake is reduced. Generally, low correlations between fire weather season length and global land carbon uptake are to be expected because wildfires represent a small proportion of the total land carbon flux. However, if our fire season metrics were combined with other metrics of global land carbon uptake that have been produced by others63,64, they may improve our ability to assess the cumulative impacts of climatic changes on terrestrial carbon fluxes. Correlations between global net land carbon flux and continental-scale, biome mean fire weather season length metrics were highest across South American tropical and subtropical forests, savannas and grasslands and xeric shrublands (Table 5), highlighting that the strongest coupling between fire weather and global carbon emissions is occurring in an area of intense land-use pressure.

In 2021, SNC received $80 million in state funding from the early action wildfire resilience package and the wildfire and climate resilience packages in the Fiscal Year 2021-22 budget. We have directed these funds to three grant programs.

Amid another record-breaking fire season, in September 2021, lawmakers finalized another wildfire resilience package, this time allocating $50 million to the SNC. In developing an expenditure strategy for these funds, SNC responded to two considerations.

The 2021 wildfire season in California experienced an unusually early start amid an ongoing drought and historically low rainfall and reservoir levels. In January 2021 alone, 297 fires burned 1,171 acres on nonfederal land, which is almost triple the number of fires and more than 20 times the acreage of the five-year average for January. In July, more than three times as many acres had burned compared to the previous year through that date, with drought, extreme heat, and reduced snowpack contributing to the severity of the fires. On August 18, 2021, the state of California was facing "unprecedented fire conditions" as multiple fires including the Dixie Fire, McFarland Fire, Caldor Fire, and others raged on. In October, the state of California, especially in the Northern regions where most of the fires were located, received its first rain in over 200 days reducing the wildfire risk for much of the state.

In cooperation with Montana DNRC, Gallatin County has a seasonal Wildfire Battalion Chief to support wildfire operations in Gallatin County. You can contact the Wildfire Battalion Chief at (406) 548-0111 or

The Western U.S. saw wildfire season kick into high gear last week. As firefighting crews made progress toward containing a blaze in Yosemite National Park in California, another fire erupted near the Oregon border and quickly became the largest California wildfire of the year. Flames also tore through tens of thousands of acres in northern Montana and eastern Idaho.

On the other side of the country, in swampy but fire-free Washington, D.C., Democratic lawmakers were feeling the heat. The U.S. House of Representatives passed a sweeping package of bills to bolster wildfire response and drought resilience on July 29. The 49-bill package was sponsored by Joe Neguse, a Democratic representative from Colorado who has devoted his short career in Washington to wildfire prevention policy, and passed largely along party lines.

Not to be left out, many central states were impacted by a historically powerful derecho on August 10, which caused impacts comparable to an inland hurricane. 2020 also brought a record-breaking U.S. wildfire season, which burned more than 10.2 million acres. California more than doubled its previous annual record for area burned (last set in 2018) with over 4.1 million acres. In total, it is clear that 2020 (red line below) stands head and shoulders above all other years in regard to the number of billion-dollar disasters.

A record-breaking U.S. wildfire season burned more than 10.2 million acres. California more than doubled its previous annual record for area burned (last set in 2018), with over 4.1 million acres. Five of the top six largest wildfires on record in California (dating to 1932) burned during August and September of 2020. The August Complex was the largest California wildfire, which began as 37 separate wildfires within the Mendocino National Forest, set off after storms caused more than 10,000 lightning strikes across Northern California. Approximately 10,500 structures were damaged or destroyed across California.

Oregon also had historic levels of wildfire damage, as over 2,000 structures burned. These wildfires spread rapidly and destroyed several small towns in California, Oregon, and Washington. Colorado also had a severe wildfire season, as its three largest wildfires on record burned during 2020. Dense wildfire smoke also produced hazardous air quality that affected millions of people for weeks. Hundreds of additional wildfires also burned across other Western states.

Also, the peak of the Western U.S. wildfire season occurs during the fall months of September, October and November (i.e., orange events in chart above). California, Oregon, and Washington are often states that face wildfire risk and related poor air quality for weeks to months. Western wildfire season is also becoming more hazardous, as 17 of the 20 largest California wildfires by acreage and 18 of the 20 most destructive wildfires by # of buildings destroyed have occurred since the year 2000. In three of the last four years (2017-2020) wildfires have produced record-levels of cost. In 2020, wildfires burned the most acres on record in the U.S. - more than 10.25 million.

For wildfires, we seek to capture the total, direct costs (public and private data) for damage to homes, businesses, vehicles, crops, infrastructure and wildfire suppression costs. Of course, there are indirect costs such as wildfires producing sustained poor-air quality. Also, the mental and physical health impacts from disasters or the downstream economic impact of wildfires on natural capital and dependent sectors are not captured. So this cost figure is a conservative estimate of what is truly lost but cannot be completely measured.

Exhibit 1: Wildfires Are Becoming More Destructive is a bar chart depicting the average number of U.S. acres burned per year by wildfires. From 1991 to 1995, the figure is 2.55 million acres. From 1996 to 2000, the figure is 4.55 million acres. From 2001 to 2005, the figure is 6.30 million acres (the number for 2004 is not complete for North Carolina). From 2006 to 2010, the figure is 6.77 million acres. From 2011 to 2015, the figure is 7.22 million acres. From 2016 to 2020, the figure is 7.82 million acres. The source is the National Interagency Coordination Center, published by the National Interagency Fire Center.

This year wildfires have rampaged throughout the West, causing extensive damage from Montana and Idaho to Oregon and California. As we continue to assist Texas, Puerto Rico and other parts of the country recover from damage caused by hurricanes so must we assist in the recovery of western states scorched by wildfire. It is critical to include additional disaster relief funding in the next aid package to help our communities recover and provide the Forest Service with additional resources to repair lands and infrastructure damaged by wildfire and reduce the threat of future wildfires. 041b061a72


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