Fossil Fuel Pollution - Raging British Columbia Fires

Fossil Fuel Pollution – Raging British Columbia Fires

in The Life Slant by

*3,000 intrepid firefighters are battling more than 500 apocalyptic firestorms spread across the massive forested Canadian province of British Columbia.

Thick smoke is blanketing millions of urban dwellers from Vancouver, British Columbia (BC), to Seattle, WA. That smoke has spread thousands of miles eastward across Canada and the U.S.

Thick forest fire smoke is choking the southwest of British Columbia and the northwest of Washington state. Photo credit: NASA

For the elderly, the children, the outdoor workers and anyone afflicted with respiratory, e.g. asthma, or heart ailments, it’s a crisis. They are advised to stay indoors and keep windows shut tight. It’s a nightmare for all the animals. While this year’s area of scorched forests (about a million acres) is far less than the record of last year (more than three million acres), BC is in a state of emergency.

Millions of our brethren, the animals, have perished in these hideous fossil fuel heat-stoked conflagrations. Without the animals, regenerating Nature’s superlative carbon dioxide warehouses, its forests, is much more difficult.

The unimaginable terror of being trapped amidst a firestorm. Photo credit: phys.org

In 2018, thousands of heat records have been smashed across the planet. The oceans are supercharged with accelerating fossil fuel heat and since they drive the climate, all life is in dire jeopardy.

Higher temperatures during the spring and summer with less rainfall across western North America has translated into the number of firestorms ballooning and altering the water cycle. Since 1970, Canada’s wildfires have doubled.

Elsewhere, intense long lasting heatwaves and droughts have collided with a fury. It was Sweden’s hottest July in 260 years and its worst-ever fire season. Those firestorms took off into the subarctic region burning into its thick peat, or, partly decomposed soil vegetation and released megatons of potent heat-trapping methane and nitrous oxide.

…2,700 Fahrenheit with 165 mile per hour winds are spawning “firenadoes”

Image credit: Dr Peter Carter; Click for full-size image.

It’s so dry and hot in California that the firestorms are now behaving in a shocking hell-like meltdown. That is, horrendous plume-driven fires at 2,700 Fahrenheit with 165 mile per hour winds are spawning “firenadoes” the width of three football fields, which extend 7.5 miles into the troposphere. Never witnessed before.

Burning subsidized climate-wrecking fossil fuels and its unintended consequences were first glaringly evidenced a couple decades ago in the BC forests.

Rising temperatures unleashed Nature’s ecological check on its indigenous bark beetles. Billions turned into trillions because frigid November temperatures didn’t occur. The  droughts denied moisture to the pines thereby impinging upon their primary defence mechanism against the tree-killing beetles – gooey pitch. No moisture, no pitch. The trees became sitting ducks.

The mountain pine beetle is the most destructive of all the North American bark beetles. Photo credit: Dr Reese Halter

Billions of BC bark beetles spilled north into the boreal forest, east over the northern Rocky Mountains and south into the United States. There are more than 30 billion dead mature trees strewn across western North America.

Unprecedented.

Humongous forest graveyards are spread across thousands of miles from fossil fuel pollution. Photo credit: e360.yale.edu

BC alone has lost billions of its mature trees. That means instead of them absorbing carbon dioxide and attracting snowfall in the winter and moisture in the summer, they are decaying and adding more heat-trapping gases to an overburdened atmosphere.

BC forests are releasing the equivalent emissions of five years worth of Canada’s cars and light trucks.

In the far north of British Columbia, blazing firestorms and the aurora borealis, or, northern lights, are dancing an eerie psychedelic smoky tango. Photo credit: David Luggi

Fossil fuel pollution is irrefutably cooking our planet and its forests. No trees, no oxygen, no animals, no life.

Is this the world that we are proud to pass to the next generation? I think not.

End fossil fuel subsidies ($5.3 trillion annually) immediately. Reduce fossil fuel emissions now. Embrace technology and a zero-combustion economy with supercritical steam from the sun and lithium ion battery storage facilities.

It’s up to each of us to turn this around by deliberately consuming less and switching to a whole food, plant-based diet. We also need gigatons of human compassion for our only home, Earth.

The fact is we are all powerful people and together we are an unstoppable force for goodness and change.

Love is the solution. Love our mother, Nature, now!

#Resist

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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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