Posted on | November 6, 2007 | 2 Comments
NASA has posted a remarkable MODIS satellite image showing the areas that burned in Southern California.
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2 Responses to “Fire Scars”
It’s striking how little burned area there is in Mexico. Do you have any sense how much of that is from differences in land use, vs differences in terrain and thus Santa Ana winds?
That’s a great point. Richard Minnich has spent much of his career comparing fire management in Southern California against Baja California, concluding that our past tradition of total fire suppression tends to lead to huge fires that can’t be fought. In Mexico, fires outside of towns are let burn, which results in the “mosaic” of burned and regrowing chaparral. Fires in Baja tend to be much less destructive.
But as to the topography…to me Baja seems flatter and less prone to Santa Ana winds. The comparison is not unreasonable, but in recent years (and as fire suppression gives way to fire management) it seems to me that the consensus on this question is shifting. Total fire suppression was clearly a mistake, but it may be only part of a larger answer to your excellent question.
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