Smoke From Wildfires Expected To Cause Thick Haze Across Entire Country

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CALIFORNIA –

Scorching heat and tinder-dry conditions across the west have contributed to massive wildfires in the past week that have destroyed properties and sent residents to seek shelter and hope for the best. Even those who do not live in areas affected by wildfires will likely still be impacted as the smoke disperses and causes record levels of haze across the United States.

Several large wildfires in the United States are producing smoke that is being transported for hundreds of miles. The National Weather service has posted Red Flag Warnings for areas in California and Wyoming, saying the smoke may be so bad it blocks out the sun in some areas. Residents as far as Utah have seen thick black smoke traveling from California.

According to Bill Gabbert of Wildfire Today, the real problem is the pollution. “Wildfire smoke tends to bind with other smog particles like sulfur oxides, car exhaust, and ozone. This weights the smoke down, making it a slow moving menace.”

Although the haze will be significant, it will be high enough in the atmosphere that people will notice the obscured sun, but not be affected by the pollution.

Smokey The Bear Dies In Horrific Forest Fire

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SANTA CLARA, California –

The devastating wildfires that have struck California over the last few years have claimed a new life this week; Smokey The Bear, everyone’s favorite childhood spokesman that wasn’t Scruff McGruff, was killed after a wildfire burned down the area in which he lived.

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“It’s tragic that we have to report the loss of our beloved friend, Smokey the Bear,” said LA County fire marshall John Higgins. “Smokey the Bear was a true, humble bear, and he made all bears look good. He knew that only you could prevent forest fires, which is why he wasn’t able to do anything about the fire that struck his home, killing him.”

Smokey’s body was found charred and burned after a fire in a chunk of land was put out. He was recognizable by his little bear hat and shovel, which lay nearby.

Severe Tree Shortage Means U.S. Forest Service Layoffs

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Severe Tree Shortage Means U.S. Forest Service Layoffs

A nationwide tree shortage has resulted in severe cutbacks to employees of the US Forest Service.

“With fewer trees, we require fewer personnel,” said Charles Conifer, Forest Service Ranger.  “I never thought things would come to this.  We were never really affected by the bad economy, but this is something else, this is Mother Nature’s doing, we think.”

Changing weather patterns affect growth cycles. Some varieties of trees adapt better to changing environmental conditions, while other trees have a built-in “time clock.”  Could the answer be tied in with the devastation that bee colonies have recently suffered?

Tree pollination expert Dr. Ahthea Thoone spoke at a US Forest Service luncheon last week and presented her ideas on bee colony decline and how it relates to the tree shortage crisis.  “The ratio of bee colony failure coincides with the loss of trees across the northern hemisphere,” said Thoone. “I also wouldn’t rule out hoarding; that is, squirrels and other forest inhabitants securing pine cones and seeds, in reaction to their environment being taken over by land development.  The data is fascinating,” she added.

The destructive force of nature also plays a part.  During 2014 in California alone, over 1,400 forest fires broke out, with some wildfires larger than 50,000 acres in size.  The Santa Ana Winds, nicknamed “devil winds,” fan wildfires along California’s coast, mostly during autumn and winter. When those resulting fires burn out or are extinguished, what’s left is a barren landscape, and fewer trees to take care of.

It takes about 6 years to grow a tree 8 feet tall,” said Conifer, “and during that time there’s not a lot to do but sit around and wait.  We had to let people go. I couldn’t keep people on the payroll idly waiting for a forest to be repopulated,” he said.

Ironically, some of the forest personnel who lost their jobs became homeless and resorted to living in the same woods they once patrolled.  “Hopefully, the cycle soon will be broken, and tree growth will return to acceptable levels. I know I certainly hope so,” said Conifer. “It’s a real tragedy. And I hate living out in the woods. They’re a nice place to patrol, but I really don’t want to live here.”

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