The California wildfire is a disaster that’s anything but natural

By Rocky Barker
Idaho Statesman
October 12, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The familiar words come in staccato fashion from the frantic voices of the television reporters trying to describe the fire that raced through Santa Rosa, Calif. this week, destroying thousands of homes and killing scores of people – a death toll that’s likely to grow. “Inferno,” they call it. “Conflagration.” I understand their challenge trying to describe a firestorm spawned by nearly hurricane-force winds that creates its own weather and unleashes energy similar to a nuclear explosion. I’ve been trying to find a way to describe the indescribable for 30 years. For these reporters in wine country it’s an unprecedented event. Local firefighters say they’ve never seen a fire move so fast. You won’t hear that from the Hotshots, the smokejumpers and the fire bosses who have been battling blazes across the West over the past 29 years. They’ve seen it all before — repeatedly.

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