Doing Advance Work

News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Arson suspect arraigned in Northern California fire. State measure increasing arson penalty lapsed in Jan. 2014-Sacramento Bee

9/19/14, "Suspect arraigned in King fire; at least four houses burn," Sacramento Bee, by Darrell Smith and Sam Stanton

"Authorities say the fire is the work of Huntsman, whom they describe as a small-time criminal offender from the Santa Cruz area who moved to El Dorado County about two years ago....

Huntsman is being held on $10 million bail, and the allegations led Pierson to make a public appeal to Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday to sign a bill on his desk that greatly enhances penalties for some arson fires.

The bill, by state Sen. Tom Berryhill, R-Twain Harte, reinstates a measure that lapsed on Jan. 1 and allows for sentences of 10 years to life for someone convicted of aggravated arson, which is arson causing $7 million in damage, including firefighting costs.

The King fire is costing $5 million a day to fight, and while Pierson noted it could not be applied retroactively to the Huntsman case it could be an important tool for future arson prosecutions.

Shortly after Pierson sent a letter to the governor and made his remarks, Brown’s office issued an update of signed bills that included the arson measure."...

Image: "Wayne Allen Huntsman, the suspect in the arson that set off the King fire, is arraigned in El Dorado Superior Court in Placerville on Friday alongside his attorney, William Dittman." photo, Randall Benton, sac bee


Read more here:
photo Randall Benton, sac bee

'Climate Science Is Not Settled,' Dr. Steven E. Koonin, Energy Dept. official in Pres. Obama's first term-Wall St. Journal Saturday Essay

"Unfortunately, precise, comprehensive observations of the oceans are available only for the past few decades; the reliable record is still far too short to adequately understand how the oceans will change and how that will affect climate."
9/19/14, "Climate Science Is Not Settled," Wall St. Journal, Steven E. Koonin, The Saturday Essay. "Dr. Koonin was undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama's first term."

"We are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy, writes leading scientist Steven E. Koonin."

"The idea that "Climate science is settled" runs through today's popular and policy discussions. 

Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.

My training as a computational physicist—together with a 40-year career of scientific research, advising and management in academia, government and the private sector—has afforded me an extended, up-close perspective on climate science. Detailed technical discussions during the past year with leading climate scientists have given me an even better sense of what we know, and don't know, about climate. I have come to appreciate the daunting scientific challenge of answering the questions that policy makers and the public are asking.

The crucial scientific question for policy isn't whether the climate is changing. That is a settled matter: The climate has always changed and always will. Geological and historical records show the occurrence of major climate shifts, sometimes over only a few decades. We know, for instance, that during the 20th century the Earth's global average surface temperature rose 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nor is the crucial question whether humans are influencing the climate. That is no hoax: There is little doubt in the scientific community that continually growing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, due largely to carbon-dioxide emissions from the conventional use of fossil fuels, are influencing the climate. 

There is also little doubt that the carbon dioxide will persist in the atmosphere for several centuries. The impact today of human activity appears to be comparable to the intrinsic, natural variability of the climate system itself. 

Rather, the crucial, unsettled scientific question for policy is, "How will the climate change over the next century under both natural and human influences?" Answers to that question at the global and regional levels, as well as to equally complex questions of how ecosystems and human activities will be affected, should inform our choices about energy and infrastructure.

But—here's the catch—those questions are the hardest ones to answer. They challenge, in a fundamental way, what science can tell us about future climates.

Even though human influences could have serious consequences for the climate, they are physically small in relation to the climate system as a whole. For example, human additions to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by the middle of the 21st century are expected to directly shift the atmosphere's natural greenhouse effect by only 1% to 2%. Since the climate system is highly variable on its own, that smallness sets 

a very high bar for confidently projecting the consequences of human influences. 

A second challenge to "knowing" future climate is today's poor understanding of the oceans. The oceans, which change over decades and centuries, hold most of the climate's heat and strongly influence the atmosphere. Unfortunately, precise, comprehensive observations of the oceans are available only for the past few decades; the reliable record is still far too short to adequately understand how the oceans will change and how that will affect climate.

A third fundamental challenge arises from feedbacks that can dramatically amplify or mute the climate's response to human and natural influences. One important feedback, which is thought to approximately double the direct heating effect of carbon dioxide, involves water vapor, clouds and temperature.

But feedbacks are uncertain. They depend on the details of processes such as evaporation and the flow of radiation through clouds. They cannot be determined confidently from the basic laws of physics and chemistry, so they must be verified by precise, detailed observations that are, in many cases, not yet available.

Beyond these observational challenges are those posed by the complex computer models used to project future climate. These massive programs attempt to describe the dynamics and interactions of the various components of the Earth system—the atmosphere, the oceans, the land, the ice and the biosphere of living things. While some parts of the models rely on well-tested physical laws, other parts involve technically informed estimation. Computer modeling of complex systems is as much an art as a science.

For instance, global climate models describe the Earth on a grid that is currently limited by computer capabilities to a resolution of no finer than 60 miles. (The distance from New York City to Washington, D.C., is thus covered by only four grid cells.) But processes such as cloud formation, turbulence and rain all happen on much smaller scales. These critical processes then appear in the model only through adjustable assumptions that specify, for example, how the average cloud cover depends on a grid box's average temperature and humidity. In a given model, dozens of such assumptions must be adjusted ("tuned," in the jargon of modelers) to reproduce both current observations and imperfectly known historical records.

We often hear that there is a "scientific consensus" about climate change. But as far as the computer models go, there isn't a useful consensus at the level of detail relevant to assessing human influences. Since 1990, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has periodically surveyed the state of climate science. Each successive report from that endeavor, with contributions from thousands of scientists around the world, has come to be seen as the definitive assessment of climate science at the time of its issue.

For the latest IPCC report (September 2013), its Working Group I, which focuses on physical science, uses an ensemble of some 55 different models. Although most of these models are tuned to reproduce the gross features of the Earth's climate, the marked differences in their details and projections reflect all of the limitations that I have described. For example:

The models differ in their descriptions of the past century's global average surface temperature by more than three times the entire warming recorded during that time. Such mismatches are also present in many other basic climate factors, including rainfall, which is fundamental to the atmosphere's energy balance. As a result, the models give widely varying descriptions of the climate's inner workings. Since they disagree so markedly, no more than one of them can be right

Although the Earth's average surface temperature rose sharply by 0.9 degree Fahrenheit during the last quarter of the 20th century, it has increased much more slowly for the past 16 years, even as the human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen by some 25%. This surprising fact demonstrates directly that natural influences and variability
are powerful enough to counteract the present warming influence exerted by human activity.

Yet the models famously fail to capture this slowing in the temperature rise. Several dozen different explanations for this failure have been offered, with ocean variability most likely playing a major role. But the whole episode continues to highlight the limits of our modeling.

The models roughly describe the shrinking extent of Arctic sea ice observed over the past two decades, but they fail to describe the comparable growth of Antarctic sea ice, which is now at a record high. 

The models predict that the lower atmosphere in the tropics will absorb much of the heat of the warming atmosphere. But that "hot spot" has not been confidently observed, casting doubt on our understanding of the crucial feedback of water vapor on temperature. 

• Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today—about one foot per century

A crucial measure of our knowledge of feedbacks is climate sensitivity—that is, the warming induced by a hypothetical doubling of carbon-dioxide concentration. Today's best estimate of the sensitivity (between 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit and 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) is no different, and no more certain, than it was 30 years ago. 

And this is despite an heroic 

research effort costing billions of dollars
These and many other open questions are in fact described in the IPCC research reports, although a detailed and knowledgeable reading is sometimes required to discern them. They are not "minor" issues to be "cleaned up" by further research. Rather, they are deficiencies that erode confidence in the computer projections. Work to resolve these shortcomings in climate models should be among the top priorities for climate research.

Yet a public official reading only the IPCC's "Summary for Policy Makers" would gain little sense of the extent or implications of these deficiencies. These are fundamental challenges to our understanding of human impacts on the climate, and they should not be dismissed with the mantra that "climate science is settled." 

While the past two decades have seen progress in climate science, the field is not yet mature enough to usefully answer the difficult and important questions being asked of it. This decidedly unsettled state highlights what should be obvious: Understanding climate, at the level of detail relevant to human influences, is a very, very difficult problem.

We can and should take steps to make climate projections more useful over time. An international commitment to a sustained global climate observation system would generate an ever-lengthening record of more precise observations. And increasingly powerful computers can allow a better understanding of the uncertainties in our models, finer model grids and more sophisticated descriptions of the processes that occur within them. The science is urgent, since we could be caught flat-footed if our understanding does not improve more rapidly than the climate itself changes. 

A transparent rigor would also be a welcome development, especially given the momentous political and policy decisions at stake. That could be supported by regular, independent, "red team" reviews to stress-test and challenge the projections by focusing on their deficiencies and uncertainties; that would certainly be the best practice of the scientific method. But because the natural climate changes over decades, it will take many years to get the data needed to confidently isolate and quantify the effects of human influences.

Policy makers and the public may wish for the comfort of certainty in their climate science. But I fear that rigidly promulgating the idea that climate science is "settled" (or is a "hoax") demeans and chills the scientific enterprise, retarding its progress in these important matters. Uncertainty is a prime mover and motivator of science and must be faced head-on. It should not be confined to hushed sidebar conversations at academic conferences. 

Society's choices in the years ahead will necessarily be based on uncertain knowledge of future climates.

That uncertainty need not be an excuse for inaction. There is well-justified prudence in accelerating the development of low-emissions technologies and in cost-effective energy-efficiency measures.

But climate strategies beyond such "no regrets" efforts carry costs, risks and questions of effectiveness, so nonscientific factors inevitably enter the decision. These include our tolerance for risk and the priorities that we assign to economic development, poverty reduction, environmental quality, and intergenerational and geographical equity.

Individuals and countries can legitimately disagree about these matters, so the discussion should not be about "believing" or "denying" the science. Despite the statements of numerous scientific societies, the scientific community cannot claim any special expertise in addressing issues related to humanity's deepest goals and values. The political and diplomatic spheres are best suited to debating and resolving such questions, and misrepresenting the current state of climate science does nothing to advance that effort.

Any serious discussion of the changing climate must begin by acknowledging not only the scientific certainties but also the uncertainties, especially in projecting the future. Recognizing those limits, rather than ignoring them, will lead to a more sober and ultimately more productive discussion of climate change and climate policies. To do otherwise is a great disservice to climate science itself.".
"Dr. Koonin was undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama's first term and is currently director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. His previous positions include professor of theoretical physics and provost at Caltech, as well as chief scientist of BP, BP.LN +0.42% where his work focused on renewable and low-carbon energy technologies." via Powerline


In 2012 alone $1 billion a day was spent on the notion of man caused global warming or man caused climate change.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Record low temperatures in Massena, NY, Sept. 18 and 19, 2014. Montpelier, Burlington, Vt. at nor near record low Sept. 19, 2014

9/19/14, "Record Low Temperatures Set Friday,", Meteorologist Steve Glazier

"In Burlington the temperature reached the freezing mark for the earliest time in the season since 1964! That data is according to the National Weather Service in Burlington.

Low temperatures dropped into the 20s and 30s across the area and broke/tied records in some cases. A record low was established in Massena, NY for Thursday and Friday. A record low was tied for Friday in Burlington and St. Johnsbury. These temperatures were 10-20 degrees below average for this time of the year!

It means the end of the growing season for 2014 for many. This is particularly early to see this kind of cold weather. Typically the Champlain Valley does not get frost until the first week of October. However this year for the Champlain Valley it has come nearly three weeks early." via Free Rep.


No likelihood that Sandy-like storms will increase in future per "best models available," Kerry Emanuel, PNAS study, August 2013

8/2/13, "Model projections of atmospheric steering of Sandy-like superstorms,", edited by Kerry Emanuel, MIT


"Either Sandy was an extremely rare event or climate change has increased the odds so that the return period reported by Hall and Sobel (1) is an overestimate. We address the latter question here by focusing on how the frequency of the large-scale flow patterns that gave Sandy its anomalous path will change in a warming climate."...(parag. 4)

"Given that these unusual atmospheric conditions were crucial to steer Sandy, the obvious question is: will these conditions change in the future? In other words, will changes in the large-scale flow patterns make westward steering of transitioning Atlantic tropical cyclones more likely, thus increasing the probability of landfall of any such storms whose tracks bring them near the coast of the northeast United States?...(parag. 9)

"The best models available offer no support for the conclusion that blocking frequency or westward steering will increase in the future."...(parag. 14)

Hall and Sobel, 5/28/13: "We calculate that under long-term average climate conditions, a hurricane of Sandy's intensity or greater (category 1+) makes NJ landfall at an angle at least as close to perpendicular as Sandy's at an average annual rate of 0.0014 yr–1 (95% confidence range 0.0007 to 0.0023); i.e., a return period of 714 years (95% confidence range 435 to 1429)."

"Author Information
  1. 1 NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York, USA."

Image: "Unlike the 10 other hurricanes that made landfall in the region shown since 1851 and typically grazed the coast, Hurricane Sandy barreled into New Jersey on a path (red) nearly perpendicular to the shoreline. Figure from the paper. ©AGU."
"Their results agree with two other studies that predicted hurricanes would impact Manhattan with Sandy’s 9-foot surge or greater once every 400-800 years. We had completely different models and were looking at different things, but our results overlapped,” Hall said. “This points to a very unusual storm.”"

6/3/13, "Hurricane Sandy took highly unusual path, but climate change doesn’t get the blame – yet,", by Sarah Charley
"We calculate that under long-term average climate conditions, a hurricane of Sandy's intensity or greater (category 1+) makes NJ landfall at an angle at least as close to perpendicular as Sandy's at...a return period of 714 years."...

5/28/13, "On the impact angle of Hurricane Sandy's New Jersey landfall," Geophysical Research Letters, AGU, Timothy M. Hall (1) and Adam H. Sobel (2)


"[1] Hurricane Sandy's track crossed the New Jersey coastline, at an angle closer to perpendicular than any previous hurricane in the historic record, one of the factors contributing to record-setting peak-water levels in parts of New Jersey and New York. To estimate the occurrence rate of Sandy-like tracks, we use a stochastic model built on historical hurricane data from the entire North Atlantic to generate a large sample of synthetic hurricanes. From this synthetic set we calculate that under long-term average climate conditions, a hurricane of Sandy's intensity or greater (category 1+) makes NJ landfall at an angle at least as close to perpendicular as Sandy's at an average annual rate of 0.0014 yr–1 (95% confidence range 0.0007 to 0.0023); i.e., a return period of 714 years (95% confidence range 435 to 1429)."

"Author Information
  1. 1 NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York, USA
  2. 2 Department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA
*Corresponding author: T. M. Hall, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY, USA."


Contrary to US military statement, Kurds are in no position to "help" anyone beat ISIS because ISIS is beating the Kurds with tanks and heavy weapons paid for by US taxpayers. Kurd families flee 21 more villages on foot as ISIS surrounds them-Reuters

9/19/14, "Kurds issue call to arms as Islamic State gains in Syria," Reuters, via Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, Tom Perry, Beirut 

"Islamic State fighters besieged a Kurdish town in northern Syria on Thursday after seizing 21 villages in a major assault, prompting a call to arms from Kurds in neighbouring Turkey who urged followers to go and help resist the group's advance. 

The attack on Ayn al-Arab, known as Kobani in Kurdish, came two days after the top US military officer said the Syrian opposition would probably need the help of the Syrian Kurds to defeat Islamic State.
With the United States planning to expand military action against Islamic State from Iraq to Syria, a surveillance drone was spotted over nearby Islamic State-controlled territory in Aleppo province, the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. It was not immediately clear who was operating the drone.
Islamic State fighters, armed with heavy weaponry including tanks, seized a group of villages near Kobani in an offensive which the Observatory said had started on Tuesday night.
It said 21 villages had fallen to Islamic State in the last 24 hours as the group advanced on the town, one of the last major crossing points to Turkey not in Islamic State hands.

"We've lost touch with many of the residents living in the villages that [Islamic State] seized," said Ocalan Iso, deputy head of the Kurdish forces in Kobani.

The Kurds were appealing for military aid from other Kurdish groups in the region including the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), he said. Support from Kurds who crossed from Turkey helped to repel an Islamic State attack on the town in July.

PKK rebels later issued a call for young men in Turkey's south-east to join the fight.

Footage posted on YouTube on Wednesday by the YPG, the main Kurdish armed group in Syria, appeared to show Kurdish fighters armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades battling a tank flying the Islamic State's black flag west of Kobani.

About 3000 men, women and children arrived at the Turkish border roughly 10 kilometres from Kobani but were still waiting on the Syrian side after night fell. Turkish forces stopped the crowd from crossing.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the governors of border provinces in Turkey, where Kurdish militants have waged a three-decade insurgency to push for greater autonomy, had been ordered to extend aid to refugees on Syrian side of the border.

"We're ready to help our brothers who are building up at the borders regardless of their ethnicity, religion and sect. But our priority is to deliver aid within Syria's borders," he told reporters in Ankara.

Redur Xelil, spokesman for the YPG, said Islamic State had encircled the town.

The group was using tanks, rockets and artillery in the attack. "We call on world powers to move to halt this barbaric assault," he said.

Western states have expanded contact with the main Syrian Kurdish party, the PYD, since Islamic State seized wide areas of Iraq in June. The YPG, which says it has 50,000 fighters, says it should be a natural partner in a coalition the United States is trying to assemble to fight Islamic State.

But the Syrian Kurds' relationship with the West is complicated by their ties to the PKK - a group listed as a terrorist organisation in many Western states.

Western officials also cite concerns about the Syrian Kurds' ambiguous relationship with President Bashar al-Assad, who has mostly left the Kurds to their own devices while focusing its firepower on insurgents fighting to unseat him. The Syrian Kurds have denied accusations of cooperating with Damascus."

Image: "Turkish soldiers stand guard as Syrians approach the border fence near the Turkish town of Suruc, opposite the Syrian town known as Ayn al-Arab in Arabic and Kobani in Kurdish. Photo: Reuters"


9/18/14, "Islamic State: ‘The world cares nothing’ for Syrian city under Isis siege," UK Independent, Patrick Cockburn
"Kurds call for US air strikes as 133 children from Kobani, on the Turkish border, remain hostages."

"The missiles being fired by Isis at Kobani probably come from an arsenal of weapons including tanks, artillery, Humvees and armoured vehicles captured by Isis when it routed five Iraqi army divisions and captured Mosul and Tikrit in June. Mr Nassan said “they have everything except planes”."...


Obama admin. addresses 'Replication Crisis' in US taxpayer funded science. Current gov. science incentives don't yield best science, Fed. Register seeks comments. "Registered Reports" conducts peer review prior to data collection and analysis-NY Times, Nyhan

9/18/14, "To Get More Out of Science, Show the Rejected Research," NY Times, The Upshot, Brendan Nyhan, Assistant Professor, Dartmouth

"In 2013, the federal government spent over $30 billion to support basic scientific research. These funds help create knowledge and stimulate greater productivity and commercial activity, but could we get an even better return on our investment?

The problem is that the research conducted using federal funds is driven — and distorted — by the academic publishing model. The intense competition for space in top journals creates strong pressures for novel, statistically significant effects. As a result, studies that do not turn out as planned or find no evidence of effects claimed in previous research often go unpublished, even though their findings can be important and informative.

For instance, a top psychology journal refused to consider studies that failed to replicate a disputed publication claiming to find evidence of extrasensory perception. In addition, the findings that do get published in these journals often just barely reach the statistical significance thresholds required for publication — a pattern that suggests selective reporting and publishing of results. 

Not surprisingly, other scientists often cannot reproduce published findings, which undermines trust in research and wastes huge amounts of time and money. These practices also create a shaky knowledge base for science, preventing scholars from effectively building on prior research.

This pattern of publication bias and failed replications, which is drawing attention in fields from psychology to medicine, has prompted great alarm within the scientific community. Now there are signs that these concerns have spread to policy makers. 

The Obama administration has asked for public comment on how the federal government can “leverage its role as a significant funder of scientific research to most effectively address” the replication crisis in science— a question that should be carefully considered given the evidence that current policies are not working.

One approach is to require researchers to share data, especially from studies conducted with public support. For instance, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation already require grantees to share data from their research. These sorts of requirements encourage transparency  

but, even if widely adopted, are unlikely to appreciably reduce bias in which studies are actually published.

Others advocate requiring the registration of trials before data has been collected. For instance, some social scientists have voluntarily begun to preregister analysis plans for experiments to minimize concerns about selective reporting. 

Unfortunately, the demand for statistically significant results is still likely to create publication bias.

For example, federal law and journal policies now require registration of clinical trials, but publishing of trial results has been found to be selective, to frequently deviate from protocols and to emphasize significant results. Access to trial data could be increased,

but such a step is again unlikely to change which studies are published in the most influential journals
Instead, my colleagues and I propose a radically different publishing model: Ask journal editors and scientific peers to review study designs and analysis plans and commit to publish the results if the study is conducted and reported in a professional manner (which will be ensured by a second round of peer review).

This procedure encourages authors and reviewers to develop the strongest possible designs — including those that replicate previously published studiesand eliminates perverse incentives to find or emphasize significant results after the fact. A new scientific format called Registered Reports using this approach has already been adopted at numerous journals across the social and natural sciences.

In a new white paper, I propose that the American Political Science Association offer options for articles in a Registered Reports-style format. Researchers in other academic disciplines and scientific associations are starting to do the same.

Unfortunately, overcoming the inertia of the current system will be difficult, which is why altering the incentives created by federal science policy is so important.

Scientists would change their ways much more rapidly if federal funding encouraged publishing in journals that used Registered Reports or other formats intended to minimize publication bias. 

Conversely, journals would be more likely to change their policies if it would help them attract research from top scientists. Appropriately enough, the best way to encourage scientific innovation might be to rethink how we organize the scientific enterprise itself."

"Brendan Nyhan is an assistant professor of government at Dartmouth College. Follow him on Twitter at @BrendanNyhan."


From Federal Register:

7/29/14, "Strategy for American Innovation," Federal Register

"A Notice by the Science and Technology Policy Office and the National Economic Council on 07/29/2014"

Subhead, "Science, Technology, and R&D Priorities"

(scroll down): "(11) Given recent evidence of the irreproducibility of a surprising number of published scientific findings, how can the Federal Government leverage its role as a significant funder of scientific research  

to most effectively address the problem?"


"Registered Reports"

"Registered Reports emphasize the importance of the research question and the quality of methodology by conducting the peer review prior to data collection and analysis. Accepted papers then are virtually guaranteed publication in the journal if the authors follow through with the registered methodology."

"Registered Reports eliminates the bias against negative results in publishing because the results are not known at the time of review” said Daniel Simons, Professor at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and co-Editor of Registered Replication Reports at Perspectives on Psychological Science. Chris Chambers, Professor at Cardiff University, section editor at Cortex and AIMS Neuroscience, and chair of the Registered Reports Committee supported by the Center for Open Science (COS) adds, “Because the study is accepted in advance, the incentives for authors change from producing the most beautiful story to producing the most accurate one.”"


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Man arrested on suspicion of deliberately starting Northern California fire now burning out of control, being held on $10 million bail-LA Times

9/18/14, "Man arrested on suspicion of arson in out-of-control King fire," LA Times,

Wayne Huntsman was booked Wednesday on suspicion of arson and was being held in lieu of $10-million bail, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff's Office.

He was arrested in Placerville after investigators interviewed numerous people and developed multiple leads, El Dorado County Dist. Atty. Vern Pierson told reporters at a midday news conference.

Officials would not say how they believe the fire was started, citing the ongoing investigation.

The King fire, burning out of control in the Eldorado National Forest east of Sacramento, threatens more than 2,000 homes after ballooning overnight from 27,930 acres to nearly 71,000 acres. Another 1,500 buildings are threatened by the blaze, which was just 5% contained Thursday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

While no injuries or major damage had been reported as a result of the fire, that could change, Pierson said. “A wild land fire like this is a very dangerous thing," he said.

More than 3,300 firefighters were battling the blaze, which officials said was now costing $5 million a day to fight.

Laurence Crabtree of the U.S. Forest Service said there was no estimate for when the fire might be contained.

The fire prompted Gov. Jerry Brown on Wednesday to declare a state of emergency for El Dorado County. The Federal Emergency Management Agency granted a corresponding request for aid that can cover up to 75% of the state’s costs to fight the fire, one of several active wildfires burning in California.

The most destructive in terms of damage to property has been the Boles fire, which erupted late Monday and quickly tore through the logging town of Weed, just west of Mt. Shasta. The fire damaged or destroyed more than 150 structures, including churches, a library and the town's sawmill, leading Brown to also declare a state of emergency in Siskiyou County.

In Madera County, the 320-acre Courtney fire has destroyed 30 homes, 19 outbuildings and 13 vehicles. It was 70% contained as of Wednesday evening."



Blog Archive

About Me

My Photo
I'm the daughter of an Eagle Scout (fan of the Brooklyn Dodgers and Mets) and a Beauty Queen.