Extreme Temperature Diary- Sunday July 24th, 2022/Main Topic: The Oak Fire Becomes California’s First Large Deadly Wildfire of 2022

The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track planetary extreme, or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ET’s will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ET’s (not extraterrestrials).😉

Dear Diary. Before getting onto our main topic of today, I do want to commend the Washington Post for creating the following article:

Please click on the above link and read. Comparing Washington Post numbers, here we see what temperatures would need to be in major U.S. cities to be as extreme as those that just occurred from European CAT5 Heatwave Smaug. I’d say offhand that 104°F in London would be close to 110°F in Atlanta, a reading that would be 4°F higher that the all-time max of 106°F in my hometown.

Now onto the beginnings of a very long fire season in California. Fire is that state’s worst climate crisis problem of the 21st Century, so far. Here is one of the latest reports from the Oak Fire:

A New York Times Report:

Rapidly Spreading California Wildfire Forces 3,000 Residents to Evacuate

J

Isabella Grullón Paz

California’s Oak Fire Moving Fast Near Yosemite

A wildfire near Yosemite National Park has burned more than 14,000 acres. The authorities said it was California’s fastest-growing fire of the season. Credit…Noah Berger/Associated Press

A rapidly growing wildfire in California near Yosemite National Park has more than tripled in size since Friday night, threatening thousands of structures and forcing the evacuations of 3,000 residents, the authorities said.

The blaze, called the Oak fire, began at 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon in Midpines in rural Mariposa County, roughly 70 miles north of Fresno and about 10 miles from Yosemite near the Sierra Nevada foothills. The fire covered a little more than 4,000 acres on Friday night. But it grew to more than 14,000 acres by Sunday and was completely uncontained, according to a report from CalFire, the state’s fire agency, making it the largest wildfire in the state this season.

Ten structures have been destroyed, and another five have been damaged, officials reported. Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in the county on Saturday.

Track all wildfires here: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2021/us/wildfires-air-quality-tracker.html

The fire’s “explosive nature” has posed a challenge to the hundreds of firefighters who were deployed, CalFire said. Natasha Fouts, a spokeswoman for CalFire, said on Saturday that this was also the fastest growing fire of the season so far, surpassing the speed of the Washburn fire that continued to burn in Yosemite National Park.

On social media, residents shared images of an ominous plume of smoke that quickly overtook an orange and red sky after the fire began.

Evacuation orders were issued for an area stretching several miles away from the fire, and officials closed multiple roads. It was not known if any residents had suffered injuries. An American Red Cross station was opened at the Mariposa Elementary School. In addition to the structures that were destroyed, five others were damaged.

Fire officials did not expect to contain the fire until next week, Ms. Fouts said.

While wildfires occur throughout the West every year, the link between climate change and bigger fires is inextricable. Wildfires are increasing in size and intensity in the Western United States, and wildfire seasons are growing longer. Recent research has suggested that heat and dryness associated with global warming are major reasons for the increase in bigger and stronger fires.

“The heating of the planet is turning landscapes into tinderboxes,” said a report published in February by climate scientists in the United Nations Environment Program.

Experts have said that this might be one of the most brutal fire years in the state, since California is in the midst of a severe drought and the summer has been extremely hot. Those conditions made the last two fire seasons particularly destructive, together killing 36 people and destroying more than 14,700 buildings in the state.

The cause of the Oak fire is still under investigation, but a report issued Friday night said that vegetation in the area was “very receptive to new spot fires due to the hot, dry weather and drought,” and that heavy fuels, strong winds and low humidity were also influencing fire behavior. The entire county of Mariposa is enduring a drought, according to the National Integrated Drought Information System, a government agency, and this is the driest year on record for the county.

The Oak Fire burning along Highway 140, a main artery into Yosemite National Park, near Mariposa, Calif. Credit…Tracy Barbutes/Reuters

Isabella Grullón Paz is a contributor to the National desk and was a member of the 2021-2022 New York Times fellowship class. @igrullonpaz

A version of this article appears in print on July 24, 2022, Section A, Page 26 of the New York edition with the headline: ‘Explosive’ Blaze Spreads, Threatening 2,000 Buildings in California. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

More Oak Fire Coverage:

Here are more “ET’s” recorded from around the planet the last couple of days, their consequences, and some extreme temperature outlooks:

Here is more climate and weather news from Sunday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article. The most noteworthy items will be listed first.)

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via this site’s PayPal widget. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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