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Wildfire Threatens Water and Power To San Francisco

timothy posted 1 year,4 days | from the keep-your-batteries-charged dept.

United States 159

Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Retuers reports that firefighters are battling to gain control of a fast-moving wildfire raging on the edge of Yosemite National Park that is threatening power and water supplies to San Francisco, about 200 miles to the west. 'We are making progress but unfortunately the steep terrain definitely has posed a major challenge,' says Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. 'Today we're continuing to see warm weather that could allow this fire to continue to grow very rapidly as it has over the last several days.' California Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency, warning that the fire had damaged the electrical infrastructure serving the city, and forced the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to shut down power lines. The blaze in the western Sierra Nevada Mountains is now the fastest-moving of 50 large wildfires raging across the drought-parched U.S. West that have strained resources and prompted fire managers to open talks with Pentagon commanders and Canadian officials about possible reinforcements. Firefighters have been hampered by a lack of moisture from the sky and on the ground. 'The wind today is going to be better for firefighting, but we are still dealing with bone dry grass and brush,' says Tina Rose, spokeswoman for the multi-agency incident command. 'This fire is very dynamic.'"

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159 comments

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This is not... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44666099)

This is not part of global warming.

Mod instruction (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44666107)

sudo Mod Parent +5 Informative

Mod -5 incorrect (4, Informative)

hoboroadie (1726896) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666415)

How about we be generous and say that poor land practices have exacerbated the benefits of this Anthropogenically-induced Drought. Climate change was not the only cause.

Re:Mod -5 incorrect (4, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666735)

I read that as wildlife threatens power and water to San Francisco. Here I was with images of Bison with Bazookas. Maybe I should lay off the coffee a bit on Sundays.

Re:Mod -5 incorrect (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666861)

Considering it's Saturday, I'd agree.

Re:Mod -5 incorrect (0)

EmperorArthur (1113223) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666941)

Considering it's Saturday, I'd agree.

Not everyone lives in the same time zone as you do.

Like to feed trolls? Check out 4chan [4chan.org] .*

*I am so not responsible if you're dumb enough to follow that link.

Re:This is not... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44666149)

Will the Starfleet HQ remain powered?

Re:This is not... (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666401)

Depends on how long the whalesong aliens stay up there, I guess.

Re:This is not... (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666561)

At least with the Whale song probe, they'd have weather that helps by providing rain instead of high heat and winds.

Re:This is not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666429)

Starfleet HQ isn't supposed to be in San Francisco, it's in Marin County.

Re:This is not... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666605)

There's one in every crowd...

Re:This is not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666963)

Yes, I am one in the crowd who has lived in the Bay Area. Anybody who has ever lived there can immediately tell from a split second glance at any Star Trek that shows Starfleet HQ that it's in Marin County.

Re:This is not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667253)

How do you know you are not viewing it through an ocular rift?

Re:This is not... (2)

Bruce Perens (3872) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667351)

It's supposed to be in the Presidio, but the movie shot put it in the Marin headlands.

Re:This is not... (4, Interesting)

istartedi (132515) | 1 year,4 days | (#44666221)

Maybe, maybe not. On the one hand they release CO2, but they also release particulates and *where* those things end up in the atmosphere matters, because that impacts how fast they are reabsorbed and/or break down. Oh, you mean it's not an effect of global warming? Less sure about that.

One thing is certain--we have only been managing the forests for about 100 years. Native Americans didn't have planes dropping retardant and massive crews with chainsaws cutting breaks. The "dark day" that occured over New England in the early 1800s is thought to be from a fire in what is now Canada and/or the northern US.

If wildfires are increasing, my first suspect is the decades of fuel we stored when the states had enough money to put out every spark. Now we don't have the money, but we have all that fuel stored.

Re:This is not... (4, Insightful)

jklovanc (1603149) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666347)

It is less about money than the impossibility to stop a well fueled fire once it starts. The idea that all fires are bad and must be put out is a dangerous one. Slow burning fires that occur in wet seasons are actually good. They clear out underbrush so animals can find food and they keep the fuel down. Trees live just fine through these fires as their bark protects them. Some trees even need fire to open their cones and let the seeds out. Putting out every fire just lets the fuel build to the point that the next fire is impossible to put out. These fires get very hot and kill the trees. Forest management practices have changed to include controlled burns but they need to be done more often.

It is impossible to stop all fires and some need to be left to burn so bigger fires do not happen later.

Re:This is not... (3, Informative)

Cryacin (657549) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666751)

You are making far too much sense. Please promptly delete your slashdot account.

Re:This is not... (1)

rtb61 (674572) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667517)

"ERM" it ain't the wet season at the moment hence you argument is non-germane. As for appropriate seasonal burns, this requires a full funded and effective fire service. You do not start fires and ever just let them burn. Each and every burn is carefully planned, people are notified and fire breaks prepared (to ensure the burn occurs in pre-designed stages). Once the burn starts fire fighters are on hand waiting to control and limit the burn as necessary. It most certainly is not the aboriginal fire stick farming of yore but a costly, carefully controlled and professionally managed activity. One thing of more modern consideration is how ancient fire stick farming practices altered the ecology and whether promoting more fire resistant growths rather than growths that actually promote fires for reproductive advantage, is the more suitable goal.

The more fire fronts that occur the more likely that they are being purposefully started. However due to squeezed funding and ticket quota's no one is out there monitoring and investigating.

Re:This is not... (1)

Nutria (679911) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666355)

If wildfires are increasing, my first suspect is the decades of fuel we stored when the states had enough money to put out every spark. Now we don't have the money, but we have all that fuel stored.

That argument is 90 years old. The National Park Service has been doing controlled burns for 45 years.

Re:This is not... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666391)

Except the frequency and acerage of controlled burns have decreased over the years leading to a build up of fuel, especially in California.

Job unfinished. (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666425)

We still gotta lotta dog hair that's got to go somehow.

Re:This is not... (4, Insightful)

meerling (1487879) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666435)

But changes in funding and laws have changed and allowed a record amount of fuel to accumulate. This was also made worse by the expanding footprint of mankind. We have towns and other installations all over the place, and most people don't want the burns and/or logging/clearing to occur near them. So it's just built up to record levels. Of course, the funding for all this hasn't kept pace, and has even been cut in various ways. (It's seems as though every time they get an increase in funding for this stuff, it gets yanked back pretty soon, with an additional cut to follow, but I don't have an exact list or anything.)
Of course, you can't forget that there have been numerous laws and regulations put in place that limit or prevent the removal of fuel by various means in a number of locations. That's a self defeating thing once the first fire sweeps through. In a place where once there were trees that were fire resistant and needed the normal fires to cause their cones to open and disperse their seeds (fir trees are a good example), the fires with this new abundance of fuel are too hot, and actually kill or even destroy the trees along with their seeds.

Managing the forests is a complicated and difficult thing due the previous reasons. Also, just because something was said almost a century ago, or even longer, doesn't make it any less valid.

Re:This is not... (2)

dryeo (100693) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667405)

Fir trees, neither true Firs (Abies) nor Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga IIRC) need fire to open their cones. What Douglas Fir needs is fire to open up the forest as they're not shade tolerant. Most (all?) true firs are shade tolerant. Jack Pine and to a lesser extend some of the other pines do need fire to open their cones and at least in the BC interior massive amounts of fuel are building up due to the Pine Beetle, which does seem to be related to climate warming as the winters are no longer cold enough to control the Pine Beetle.
Of interest is that Vancouver Island seems to have had island wide fires every thousand or so years judging by the Douglas Fir forests that existed until we cut them down.

Re:This is not... (1)

istartedi (132515) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666487)

Here is a brief history right from the source [foresthistory.org] . I was aware that oak savannah (sp.?) in the Bay Area was a Native-created habitat; but wasn't sure how widespread Native burning was. According to some sources; quite wide spread. Of course I'm sure Natives had campfires go out of control sometimes. OTOH, they didn't have strips of asphalt everywhere delivering hot gasoline engines driven by people with little fire-starters at their lips, which they fling from the windows of said gasoline-powered vehicles. You'd think everybody in CA would know better; but I've stomped out my share of burning butts around here. It was on city streets where they wouldn't start a fire; but you know those bad habits get taken right up into the hills, along the byways...

Re:This is not... (1)

AaronW (33736) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667067)

I believe in this case the fire was started by lightning. Back when the natives lived here they used to intentionally start fires to burn the underbrush.

Re:This is not... (5, Interesting)

TapeCutter (624760) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667137)

Smoker here, I don't know about the US but tossing a butt out the window on a total fire ban day here in Australia is looked upon by society as a kind of negligent arson. Most fires here start naturally (lightning), next major cause is power lines, third major cause are the mentally ill, ie: real arsonists.

As for managing the bush with fire, Australian Aborigines have been doing that for maybe 30-40,000yrs.

For example they used fire to clear paths through trees surrounding water, the paths were wider at the top than the bottom where they met the water and were covered in tall grass, the old growth forest either side of the path acted like the walls of a canyon. The natives would regularly burn the grass at the bottom of the path to encourage new green shoots. Kangaroos were attracted to the water and new grass, but they were also trapped in a dead end. Whenever the locals got hungry there was no running all over the countryside for days throwing sharp sticks at a high velocity dinner, they just strolled down the path and clubbed the first roo that panicked and tried to get past them. This landscaping of the environment appears to be the reason that they didn't go the traditional farming route like the Torres straight islanders did, (ie: planting plants and domesticating animals).

The two people's traded with each other regularly so the practise was known to aborigines. I can see their point, why bother with all that work when a bit of clever planning will create a natural pantry right on your doorstep. You want Wild Turkey for dinner? - Just burn a small patch of grass in the late afternoon and wait for one to come looking for his own dinner. You want fish? - just pull a fresh one out of the small pond at the end of the tribes stone fish traps. Vegetables take more skill and knowledge, you need to know where and when to burn in order to promote the growth of food plants. All this knowledge was wrapped in layers of religion and ceremony, which was simply called "the law" (pretty much in the same way the old testament was at one time "the law")

What we white fella's call "pristine old growth forest", aboriginal elders call "poor country, been let go wild". 20kyrs before other civilizations started making huge earth or stone works, these people were sculpting an entire continent into a carefully manicured estate using fire. These days, many aborigines in the north and west of the country are now employed by the government to manage their lands using traditional burning methods, in the south east of the country where the natives and their culture have been all but wiped out, white fella's do regular slow burns in the winter and maintain fire-breaks in the forests. But when a severe multi-year drought hits the best you can hope for is nobody gets killed in the inevitable firestorm. It really is a crying shame that it has taken us 200yrs just to start recognising the unique agricultural and land management practices that were staring Captain Cook in the face when he stuck a flag in the beach.

Re:This is not... (1)

istartedi (132515) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667349)

OK, did some more googling. Actually I'm a bit surprised at the breakdown [outsideonline.com] with cigarettes coming in at 1%.

There are pie charts like this from various states, and the highest percentage for cigarettes was 5%. Different regions have different characteristis. For example, it's much less likely for lightning to start a fire in Virginia [blogspot.com] because the vegetation is wetter.

I don't feel like googling the laws; but I bet you can get criminal penalties for a cigarette-caused fire in the US too. It seems like you could certainly get sued into oblivion if they can prove it's your fault.

Re:This is not... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667435)

The funny thing is that it seems to be damn near impossible to starts a fire with a cigarette when you want to...

Re:This is not... (1)

betterprimate (2679747) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666359)

Native Americans didn't have planes dropping retardant and massive crews with chainsaws cutting breaks.

Forests perhaps, but Native Americans were more skilled in controlled burnings. They were the ones who taught us how to do it.

Re:This is not... (1)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667163)

According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] all they achieved in various tribal groups was the conversion of forest to grasslands. Much better to use science and rational thought to decide what we actually want as an outcome in the future.

I know where those particulates are... (2)

kimanaw (795600) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666409)

In Reno, NV. The air here has been horrid for several days, supposedly worse than Beijing yesterday. My lungs and eyes burn, my throat hurts, and I'm dealing with intermittent headaches. And I've been staying indoors as much as possible. Hope our usual windy weather returns soon!

Re:I know where those particulates are... (1)

Bruce Perens (3872) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667339)

I was there last week and there was really bad smoke from the American fire, which is still burning. You might be getting both that and the Rim fire.

Re:I know where those particulates are... (2)

the phantom (107624) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667549)

Indeed. We were getting smoked out by the American fire, then the winds changed. We are now getting smoked out by the Rim fire. I live within walking distance of the University, and couldn't see my office from home this morning. 125k acres and only 5% contained. [inciweb.org] Joy.

Re:This is not... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666621)

do us all a favor and shut the fuck up already. perhaps the unprecedented drought and unprecedented high temperatures might have something to do with it as well? and those might just be connected to the observed climatic shift? ya think? perhaps?

nah, you're right. this is all smokey the bear and the environmental movement's fault! burn baby burn, just like Watts!

Re:This is not... (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667177)

If wildfires are increasing, my first suspect is the decades of fuel we stored when the states had enough money to put out every spark. Now we don't have the money, but we have all that fuel stored.

Pretty much this. The suppression paradigm only allowed fuel to build up over time. Droughts occur for too many reasons for any one to be attributed to AGW. And in many places on the left coast, the flora is designed for fire. So although it is trendy to apply AGW to everything these days, no one event can be assigned the AGW stamp

I'm personally more inclined to believe that the California area is overpopulated beyond what it can reasonably sustain. This is more of a problem at the moment than AGW. In addition, the Nimby mindset means that incidents far away from one place can threaten another's energy source.

Those rooftop solar panels are looking pretty good about now.

Re:This is not... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44666311)

This is not part of global warming.

No, but I'm sure it must be George Bush's fault...

Re:This is not... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666329)

He did fail to have Ken Lay executed on national television as an object lesson to corrupt executives in energy companies around the world.

Instead they killed him in a hot tub.

Re:This is not... (1)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667187)

No, but I'm sure it must be George Bush's fault...

Harry Truman's fault, you insensitive clod.

Re:This is not... (1)

hutsell (1228828) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666795)

It's more likely that some, perhaps a lot of these fires, including this one, are arson — initially started by people directly or indirectly related to fire departments:

California Arsons by Firefighters [google.com]
Firefighter Arsons [google.com]
Percentage of Arsons by Firefighters [google.com]

Putting constructive criticism aside ... even one, is one too many.

No big deal. (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | 1 year,4 days | (#44666113)

As long as our fernet supply is in good shape, we'll be fine.

San Fran on fire? You don't say. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44666157)

Was it started by a flaming homosexual?

Re:San Fran on fire? You don't say. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44666219)

Well, at least if there's a blackout, there won't be a baby boom 9 months from now....

Re:San Fran on fire? You don't say. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44666307)

Well, at least if there's a blackout, there won't be a baby boom 9 months from now....

Well, that explains the population growth across the bay...

Sodom and Gomorrah 2.0! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44666169)

How's that disruption treating you now!!!

Not to worry, (3, Informative)

budgenator (254554) | 1 year,4 days | (#44666177)

Rain is in the forcast for the area, it should put out the fire just before the mud-slides start.

Re:Not to worry, (0, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,4 days | (#44666289)

Rain is in the forcast for the area, it should put out the fire just before the mud-slides start.

One is forced to wonder what compels people to live on a slab of land that is destined to roll into the ocean, that the Mexicans quickly gave up any claim to because they felt it was worthless, regularly tries to kill people who live there with fire, mud, water, earthquakes, and tsunamis... I mean, when the land itself is saying "Go away" so loudly, why aren't you listening? o_O

But what would I know; I live in one of the "flyover" states that never makes the news... all we have here is low unemployment rates, a solid socioeconomic base, good education, and a decided lack of regular natural catastrophes. The only catastrophe in recent memory out here was when Ohio was declared to be crucial to the Presidential campaign and the poor bastards had to hide in bunkers away from their TVs and phones for a month. We sent generators and bottled water. And snuggies. That's totally a thing up here... but beyond that, nothing of interest happens.

Maybe they like the excitement of nearly dying every year... Californians always did strike me as a bit... weird.

Re:Not to worry, (2)

nojayuk (567177) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666345)

"Flyover" -- that's when the tornadoes sweep through and double-wides blot out the sun?

Re:Not to worry, (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666991)

"Flyover" -- that's when the tornadoes sweep through and double-wides blot out the sun?

No, it's where NFL teams come from that repeatedly make it to the Superbowl, and then choke.

Re:Not to worry, (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666353)

One is forced to wonder what compels people to live on a slab of land that is destined to roll into the ocean,...

As a former east-coaster, now living in California for several years I asked the same question. I'll try to keep this brief.

If I had to keep it really brief and use just two words they would be "Mediterranean climate". Some of the most disaster prone areas of the state feature this climate. Cool wet winters (the rainy season) with snow only on the peaks, and rarely at the lower levels where most people live. Summers are sunny almost all the time.

Think Italy. In fact, I've been told that the Bay Area has a significant Italian community because 19th century immigrants wanted a climate similar to home. Italy is even more off the hook--hello volcano! With a Mediterranean climate *and* rich volcanic soil though, you get fantastic agriculture and we know Italians love their food.

Of course the gold rush, ports, military and then technology growing out of the military all lead to a huge explosion in population. It just so happens that some of the best places in the world to mine gold and grow oranges are located near active seismic zones. There isn't a whole lot you can do about it.

Aside from that, there are ways to mitigate against disaster. Mudslides and fire are seasonal possibilities and most people actually don't live in areas that will burn and slide. Those that do usually know the risk. The media always wants to show people crying, because well... that's the media. You don't talk too much about disaster here. Who wants to talk about it? I bet most people are a bit more stoic when their time comes though. Anyway, most people live on flat ground, near faults.

The earthquake is something that happens on a geological timescale rather than seasonal. I've heard one person say you get one great earthquake in your lifetime. That's not quite true; but it's close. In a modern building, standards are high. If the "big one" hits, yes, some people will die even in structures that are up to code. It's a trade-off though. Do you want to die a healthy 80 year old who exercises in good weather all the time, sliding down a hill? Or... do you want to die less healthy at a younger age, from old age diseases because the weather is nasty and you don't feel like doing much during the winter except watching football and drinking beer?

Re: Not to worry, (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667057)

I live in Chicago. I exercise year round - outside. Some of my best runs have been in February. You get use to it, if you want to. I grew up in the southeast. Chicago has a lot to offer over smaller, new-style 'cities'.

Re: Not to worry, (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667257)

I was born in Chicago, and lived there and many of the suburbs for 12 years of my life. I fucking hated it as a child. We moved out of that fuck hole to Southern California and then I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area after high school.

I had the unfortunate experience of living as an adult for the 2011/2012 year in the Twin Cities, which was one of the mildest years on record. I was still fucking miserable. Let me count the shit: tornadoes, blizzards, hail, humidity, mosquitoes, black ice, and not being able to see the fucking lanes on the road due heavy rain or snow because there are no lane bumps or reflectors (and don't bring up plowing because California seems to have no problem with them on roads which get plowed in the winter). Just what I want to do while I freeze my balls off, let the car warm up for 10 minutes while I scrape the concrete like ice off the windows. And here I thought I would never have a use for the heated seats. I once nearly had my nose burned off due to the wind chill.

I will take the occasional (10-50 years) earthquake, forest fires, and droughts (which affect most of the country including places that seem to have lots of water like Minnesota and Illinois). And I still have relatives that live in Illinois that would love to get the fuck out if they had a job waiting for them and could afford to move to a place with better weather.

Only crazy fucks like you say, "you get used to it."

It's a search and rescue operation. (2)

tlambert (566799) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666361)

It's a search and rescue operation. Once we find Tony Bennett's heart, we're all moving some place safer.

Re:Not to worry, (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666407)

That you list good education in your area in your ill-informed rant is quite humorous. Let's break down your list:
1) Fire: Yes, there's a lot of gorgeous nature areas in California. Yosemite (the area in this story) is frequently cited as one of the most beautiful spots on earth. The side effect of lots of trees is a fire hazard. But not that many people live in the affected area. The only times fire has come close to heavily-populated areas was in southern California and the '91 Oakland hills fire. Those fires have been a wakeup call to those living around lots of trees and shrubs that homeowners need to put effort into clearing away overgrowth. Since that lesson was learned, there have been very few problems.
2) Mud: Exceedingly rare and generally only affects a few people.
3) Water: I'm assuming you mean lack thereof, since very few areas of California flood and much of the state gets desert-level precipitation. Aside from those who complain about draining Mono lake or the "destruction" of Hetch Hetchy to build the dam, no one really has a problem with how that problem has been solved.
4) Earthquakes: There was one in '89 and another '94. Earthquakes may seem big and scary, but they're rare and their biggest effect is that building becomes more expensive in preparation for the that rarity.
5) Tsunamis: I've lived in California my entire life and I'm unaware of any tsunamis affecting California.

Meanwhile, people living on the gulf coast and, to some extent, the eastern seaboard have an annual hurricane season when they expect large-scale disasters that kill far more than any of the events you list. And those oh-so-safe fly-over states have these things called tornados that are also far more common than your entire list combined. Oh, and you have this thing called winter that kills far more people each year than everything mentioned by either of us so far. Most apartments in San Francisco don't have AC or effective heating because it's just not necessary.

So let's recap: World-renown beautiful scenery of all kinds (beaches, mountains, etc), mild weather, great fresh local produce, diverse communities...but we're crazy because of a few different types of occurrences that happen once ever ~20 years and seriously affect hundreds of people. Let me guess...you're also scared of flying, think you have a shot at winning the lottery and believe that foreign aid is a sizable portion of our budget.

Re:Not to worry, (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666667)

So let's recap: World-renown beautiful scenery of all kinds (beaches, mountains, etc), mild weather, great fresh local produce, diverse communities.

Yeah, San Fran is known the world over for it's "diverse" community of liberal hippy activists, who talk a lot about diversity, but are gentrifying the shit out of every community they can get their hands on just as quickly as they can zone a neighborhood out of existence. "We value diversity, just not in our own neighborhoods."

Also:
1) World renowned beautiful scenery? like what? The Golden Gate Bridge, and some dusty hills, and an ocean. Oh wow, that's fucking amazing scenery bro, nobody else has bridges, an ocean, or hills and mountains. Anywhere.

2) Mild weather? If by that you mean 48 degrees in Santa Cruz, 93 degrees in Cupertino, sure, it's super mild.

3) Great fresh local produce? As if no place else has farms? All those flyover states you poo-poo'ed have a whole lot of farms.

4) diverse communities? I think those are where your seasonal farmhands - excuse me "cultural diversity ambassadors" - live.

Spare us the "San Francisco is the best place in the world" marketing bullshit. It's an overpriced, stinking hellhole, and the faster I washed its dust off my feet, the happier I was.

Also: http://www.data.scec.org/recenteqs/Quakes/quakes0.html [scec.org]

They're not all Loma Prieta or Northridge, but they sure as fuck happen more than once every 6 years.

Re:Not to worry, (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666989)

Do realize than anything less than a M6 is about as shaking as a semi-truck whizzing by your house at 5am. Those M4's probably aren't even noticed by wildlife.

And the best places in the world to live are along the Pacific coast in North America. Washington, Oregon, Alaska, BC, California, take your pick. Climate-wise I'd say Washington or BC.

I don't know why anyone would want to live in the middle of nowhere except to be a tinfoil hat wearing hillbilly hermit.

Captcha: handgun

Re:Not to worry, (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667049)

1) World renowned beautiful scenery? like what?

Like Yosemite, Tahoe, Napa, Mendocino, J-Tree...the list is quite long. I'm not one of those city dwellers who never leaves...there's a ton of stuff to see here in California. The knock was against living in California, not just San Francisco.

2) Mild weather? If by that you mean 48 degrees in Santa Cruz, 93 degrees in Cupertino, sure, it's super mild.

Yes, that's mild when compared places in the fly-over states that routinely hit triple digits and get snow in the winter. Outside of the hurricane belt, where else in the country will you find yearly temperatures that are always above freezing and always below 100?

3) Great fresh local produce? As if no place else has farms? All those flyover states you poo-poo'ed have a whole lot of farms.

Yes, and they grow corn, soy and other large-monoculture-type crops. California has a lot more variety in the crops grown here. There's a lot that you can grow when you don't have to worry about freezing in winter.

4) diverse communities? I think those are where your seasonal farmhands - excuse me "cultural diversity ambassadors" - live.

Wow...you've got all the stereotypes...despite gentrification, there's still a ton of diversity in California's large cities. You don't find that in the fly-overs (with the possible exception of Chicago). And despite your "all you have are Mexicans" insinuations, the larger demographic shift here is toward Asians (Indians and Chinese, mostly.).

They're not all Loma Prieta or Northridge, but they sure as fuck happen more than once every 6 years.

Yes, there are lots of tiny earthquakes that are barely felt. You occasionally feel one, but you get used to that and it doesn't cause damage. Silly me for ignoring all the ones that cause no damage, let alone fatalities.

Re:Not to worry, (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666945)

As opposed to the "American South" which readily tries to kill several times annually with tornados and hurricanes? No thank you.

California is geographically stable and an earthquake large enough to kill people happens once every few decades.

The only "safe" places in the world are 200 miles away from water, and that makes them economically nonviable. It's all a matter of perspective. I'll take my chances with an earthquake over an annual crapshoot of hurricanes and tornados.

Re:Not to worry, (1)

InfiniteLoopCounter (1355173) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667217)

Or you could live in Australia where there are Fire [youtube.com] Tondados [abc.net.au] !

Re:Not to worry, (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667029)

The Mexicans didn't think their land was worthless; we stole it from them fair and square.

Re:Not to worry, (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667689)

Rain is in the forcast for the area, it should put out the fire just before the mud-slides start.

I know this is a joke post, but I'll reply since it's been modded +4 informative.

No, rain hasn't been forecast in the area. Humidity during the day is around 20%.

Also, no, there aren't mudslides in burnt areas in this part of the state. The soil and root systems are quite different from those in southern California.

Why is this here? (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44666279)

The world doesn't revolve around San Francisco. I come here for tech news,not regurgitated MSM local articles.

Re:Why is this here? (1)

hoboroadie (1726896) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666469)

They shut down part of the electric power grid due to fire threat. That may not be quite as thrilling as Mankind's latest advances at Fukushima, but I, for one, think it notable.

A good test (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,4 days | (#44666295)

Cram people into an urban setting and then turn off the infrastructure to see what happens such as turning on each other for food, disease climbing as sanitation fails, etc. Wonderful results for population control and sustainability through reduced population.

Ha, and if you think you can avoid this by moving out to the rural areas, you've got a presidential executive order stating that if you don't do things out there in ways the government approves, they'll confiscate your land and drive you back into the city. Well, actually, they'll be doing that no matter what. The whole point of the sustainable planet movement is to reduce humanity to a limited number of human settlements and leave the rest of the planet to the wild.

"When we're done with you, you'll wish you were animals." Maurice Strong, primary author of Agenda 21.

 

Re:A good test (1, Funny)

EmagGeek (574360) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666413)

Nah, San Francisco is a bunch of dirty leftist hippies. They're accustomed to being unshowered and when TSHTF they'll just gather around the campfire and sing kumbayah and wait for big government to come save them.

Re:A good test (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666475)

But, soon enough, the government won't step in to save them. The resources for such a rescue will have been sequestered away. The only thing left, for those who survive the chaos inside the city, will be the FEMA camps. You know, the ones with the locks on the outside.

Re:A good test (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667695)

I know you're just joking, but the cool thing about San Francisco is that it's one of the most fiscally responsible cities in the country. We currently have $150,000,000 in our reserves (various "rainy day" funds), and that's after substantial withdrawals from 2009 to 2011.

Given all the substantial public programs the city has, it's interesting how it's been able to keep its act together far better than more politically "conservative" cities and counties around the state and the country. The reserves are actually not that big relative to the budget, but the city always maintains a balanced budget, no matter what; it never expects handouts from the state, and indeed never receives them, and it quickly responds to economic pressures--slashing the budget when times are tough and restoring it as soon as economically possible--without suicidal political infighting.

And the city's performance isn't merely because of how rich the city is. Cities in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties, which have untold multimillionaire and multibillionaire residents, seem to have a very tough time balancing their budgets, and they have far fewer public service programs.

Hetch Hetcy (2)

djupedal (584558) | 1 year,4 days | (#44666313)

Hetch Hechy is why SF is dependent on that area. Some ecologists claim that flooding it, saved it, as it is another Yosemite. Let's hope this calamity doesn't lead anyone to rethink that decision.

Re:Hetch Hetcy (1)

tnk1 (899206) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666365)

Unlikely, as it sounds like it would be incredibly expensive to do so, and not really gain anyone anything. There are those who believe it should have never been built, but that time has come and gone and removing it wouldn't get back what was lost without a lot of work and extra costs for SF.

Re:Hetch Hetcy (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667139)

Endut!
Hoch hech!

Special water? (1)

sgt scrub (869860) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666325)

Am I the only one wondering how water in California can be threatened by fire?

Re:Special water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666331)

Am I the only one wondering how water in California can be threatened by fire?

I agree, there's something queer going on in San Fransisco.

It's easier to push water than to pull it. (4, Informative)

tlambert (566799) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666379)

Am I the only one wondering how water in California can be threatened by fire?

It's easier to push water than to pull it. So the pumping stations which are needed to push the water up hill are located at the bottom of the hill, and there is infrastructure in place along the rim (it's a rim fire) to supply power to those facilities. It's the same reason that electric power is currently at risk by the fire.

Unfortunately, people who do not understand land management have been making rules about fire roads,controlled burns, and removal of scrub for the last number of decades, which means when a fire like this happens, it tends to be a multi-hundred-thousand acre conflagration.

Re:It's easier to push water than to pull it. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666397)

It's easier to push water than to pull it.

You mean, San Francisco, with all of those hose monsters can't suck the water over the mountain?

Mega Maid from Spaceballs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666637)

This sounds like a job for Mega Maid...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VptOUWC-Itc

Re:Mega Maid from Spaceballs (1)

DoubleJ1024 (1287512) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666933)

Sir, it's MEGA MAID...she's gone from suck to BLOW!!!!!!

Re:Special water? (5, Informative)

dbc (135354) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666749)

Well, first off, Hetch Hetchty never should have been built. That aside..,..

The country around there is very rugged. Its hard to imagine without seeing it. The last two winters have seen 70% of normal snow-pack, so the area is very dry. Normal annual precipitation is 11 inches. There has been no rain since April or so, which is normal. I have a cabin 30 or so miles to the south. Not threatened by this fire, but the road to my place was a firebreak for the "Telegraph Fire" of a couple of years ago -- I had orange grass for a few days from fire retardant bombings.

Here is the deal.... the country is so extremely rugged that you *do* *not* send fire crews anywhere near an active crown fire, it can jump them in minutes and you end up with 100 roasted fire fighters and a dozen burned up Cats. There are placed where if a rancher's cattle get down in a valley full of rocks, they can't get up, and you can't ride a horse down there anyway to bring them back up. Totally forget about driving a 4WD vehicle in there, you parked that back with the horse trailer because it couldn't go any further. Taking a Cat down those slopes is suicidal. So all the fire equipment comes in and out on fire roads, which are few, narrow, and very rough. There are placed I've wanted to see, but after 40 minutes of 20 MPH kindney-busting driving in a 4WD pick-up, I turned around. That is a fire road. That is your escape route. The *one* escape route. You don't go into the fire on those, you go outside the edge of the fire, start cool-burning back-fires and cut fire breaks, and call in fire-retardant tanker bombers.

So... the powerlines to the Hetch Hetchy and the water pipeline out of it and down the foothills run through the threatened area. The fire can easily take out the power lines. I don't know about the aquaduct, but I suspect it is vulnerable also.

I'm relieved this time that there are two major river canyons between my cabin and the fire. My sympathy goes out to those in the path of the fire -- it's gut-wrenching to have one get close.

Re:Special water? (-1, Troll)

musth (901919) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667073)

There are placed I've wanted to see, but after 40 minutes of 20 MPH kindney-busting driving in a 4WD pick-up, I turned around.

Next time, maybe haul your fat ass on your legs, rather than relying on a big oil-burner while increasing backcountry erosion, and you might get to where you want to go.

Re:Special water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667149)

There are placed I've wanted to see, but after 40 minutes of 20 MPH kidney-busting driving in a 4WD pick-up, I turned around.

Next time, maybe haul your fat ass on your legs, rather than relying on a big oil-burner while increasing backcountry erosion, and you might get to where you want to go.

Angry much? Let's assume he didn't give up right at the end or the beginning, but half way in. That means that he would have had to hike a marathon, in arid rugged terrain, with no cheering section to hand him cool beverages. Do you think before you post? If not try AC.

And nothing of value will be lost (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666367)

San Fran... big hub of faggot activity. Mother nature will finally roast that faggots to death. No big deal.

Is anyone getting this? (0)

slick7 (1703596) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666389)

With all the surveillance in these united states of America AND more surveillance on the way, does anyone get the idea that MAYBE this is just another inside job (like 9/11) to curtail even more freedoms? The war on terror will never be won against the al cia-duh, the war on drugs will never be won because of all the "black" money not overseen by our illustrious CONgressMEN? Huh, what, I'm a conspiracy theorist?
Oh never mind, go back to sleep, Bonanza's coming on in three minutes.

For those of you who still possess critical thinking skills, hop on board the FEMA train. Choo, choo, choo, wooOooo, wooo!

Please mod me up as troll, flamebait, off topic, there, I saved you all the trouble.

Re:Is anyone getting this? (1)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666837)

So many real issues to worry about, why get caught up in the ludicrousness that is the idea of the 9/11/01 conspiracy?

Or if nothing else, just think about this; they didn't actually have to make it happen, to be able to take advantage of the event once it did happen. 9/11/01 happened, whatever lead to it. And it was abused to gain the government powers it didn't need, powers it used in ways that don't benefit the public. We know that. We don't need to rely on conspiracymongering to see that there are wrongdoings, and that there are many politicians and heads of government agencies who at the very least should be out of a job, in not in jail.

Re:Is anyone getting this? (1)

slick7 (1703596) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667411)

Conspiracy-mongering? The beginning to wisdom is in asking what is not known. To label, to stifle legitimate inquiries, to ensure certain questions or questioners disappear from the forefront speaks volumes. None of it good, or to the benefit of children or national security. I was reminded today of what JFK said about secrecy, it should not be tolerated.

Firefighters have been hampered by... (1)

sribe (304414) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666393)

Firefighters have been hampered by a lack of moisture from the sky and on the ground.

No shit, sherlock. Fires rage where the moisture isn't.

And no, I'm not merely being snarky about people living in semi-arid areas. I live in one, right in the so-called "red zone" forest interface, and we have no fires right now because we're getting all the rain this year.

No Worries (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666417)

It's common knowledge that San Francisco is powered by its own sense of satisfaction. No water or power needed.

Reno air quality (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666479)

The amount of smoke in Reno from this fire is the worst in my 20 year memory. Visibility is less than 2 miles. Ugh

news to me (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666739)

for some reason i thought that the power plant and water supply that serves San Francisco was located outside of Oakland. i learned something new.

There's no problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44666845)

If all the power lines go down, they'll just power the city with conservation (which, the fine lefty people of the bay area assure me, is superior to building new power plants and new power grid infrastructure)

Groveland (2)

Natales (182136) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666847)

I for one, am more concerned about the classic little towns like Groveland that live out of the tourism coming in and out of Yosemite. My wife and I go to Yosemite at least a couple of times per year, and we always stay in Groveland, a tiny town with such an old gold rush history and character. They've got the Iron Door Saloon [iron-door-saloon.com] , the oldest saloon in California dating from 1852, The Groveland Hotel [groveland.com] that used to be a brothel and where every one of the rooms is named like "Lotta Crabtree", "Betty Fries Room" and "Just Juanita".

Right now I'm less concerned about our water supply vs. the lives and livelihood of their residents and rich history of all those places.

What about Google? (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | 1 year,3 days | (#44666923)

If the power to their own servers gets cut off - do they have a peering agreement with the NSA?

Re:What about Google? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667045)

Peering still requires electricity.

Re:What about Google? (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667445)

Google's in Mountain View, about 40 miles from SF [goo.gl] , so it shouldn't be affected.

I'm hoping that SF suffers from this fire (0)

musth (901919) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667063)

It would wake more people the fuck up.

Re:I'm hoping that SF suffers from this fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667301)

You people are some of the dumbest mother fucking cunts.

Re:I'm hoping that SF suffers from this fire (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667485)

Wake them up to what? And what of all of the people in SF that either are already aware of whatever you're thinking of, too young/old/unwell for it to matter, visitors (like parents staying at the Ronald McDonald House while their kids are hospitalized at UCSF for weeks at a time), working or volunteering in the city but living far away?

Some people are 0 miles away (2)

nick0909 (721613) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667179)

This fire is burning right next to actual people, not sure why we need to worry about SF 200 miles away. Actual people are right on the fire line in danger, they should be the ones reported on. I know this is a tech site and the bay is the tech center, but remember the firefighters and civilians that are actually on site, and not just experiencing a minor inconvenience.

Re:Some people are 0 miles away (1)

TheSeatOfMyPants (2645007) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667499)

I think the focus is just on the electrical/water problem, and possibly how it will affect the technological industries there, so the sad reality that people & animals are suffering is considered irrelevant since this is about tech news. (I could be wrong, but that's how I interpreted it, since Slashdot tends to only cover disasters if it involves science and/or technology in some way.)

oh no think of the bums (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667391)

how will they survive if they can't charge their cell phones and sip their lattes

amykatieamykatie (-1, Offtopic)

Amykatie Amykatie (3029541) | 1 year,3 days | (#44667567)

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Global Wurming Threat Level 9! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667583)

The steep terrain is produced by Global Wurming! Therefore San Fran has a Threat Level 9! Gays Beware! God is cuming to get you!

Viagra Report At 11.

a result of eco-freaks (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,3 days | (#44667613)

Aa a result of the eco-freaks preventing natural fires for so long, then letting them go...they get what they deserve.

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