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Brimstones and Fires by City Tech Blogger Jelani Barro

If you’ve ever had any doubts about climate change, just take a look at the destruction by wild fires in California. For the past few weeks I’ve been seeing and hearing about these wild fires that are destroying homes and killing people out west. This reminds me of the vision from revelations in the Bible: “Revelation 9:17 | And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone.” The horses in the vision, having breastplates of fire – could they be representing climate change for us?

Certainly, these horses have been given names: 1. Camp Fire – galloping in Butte County, 117,000 acres burned, 30 percent contained, 42 fatalities confirmed, 3 firefighters injured, 228 people missing, 6,453 residences destroyed, including 260 commercial structures, 139 reports of “suspicious incidents”; 16 linked to looting, but no arrests, 2. Woolsey Firegalloping in Los Angeles County, Ventura County, 93,662 acres burned, 30 percent contained, 2 fatalities confirmed, 3 firefighters injured, and 3. Hill Fire – galloping in Ventura County, 4,531 acres burned and 85 percent contained. ) As you can see from their destruction; they are no ponies or miniature horses. These fires are ferocious, they have no bounds, and firefighters are having a rough time reigning them in! These horses are on the loose and we are chasing them all over southwestern California! “Officials said it could take weeks to fully contain the deadly wildfires raging across Northern and Southern California. So far, at least 44 people have been killed, making it the deadliest wildfire in California history.” (https://www.cbsnews.com/live-news/california-fires-camp-woolsey-containment-evacuations-death-toll-2018-11-12-live-updates/) We have never seen anything like this in recorded history and it’s all due to climate change. We really need to wake up and start paying attention to our scientists who’ve been warning us now for a long time about climate change.

 So, what’s causing this phenomenon in California? According to the scientific experts: “Strong winds were responsible for the fires’ quick incursion into urban areas, but months of record-high temperatures, preceded by heavy rainfall last winter, also fueled the destructive power of the fire that burned through the region, climate experts said.” ( According to Daniel Swain, one of UCLA’s scientist: “Temperatures soared in the San Francisco Bay Area in early September, hitting 106 degrees Fahrenheit in San Francisco, a new record, and 108 in San Rafael, north of the city. It was the warmest summer in more than 100 years of record keeping, It beat the previous record by a pretty wide margin. Those high temperatures dried out vegetation throughout the area. While fires are a part of life in California, this one became more destructive because it had so much dry brush and grassland — fed by last winter’s rains — to burn. Powerful winds pushed the flames farther, known locally as the Diablo wind, they’re similar to the Santa Ana wind in Southern California, and they reached an unusually high speed of 79 mph Sunday night. Coupled with relatively low humidity, the wind patterns quickly created havoc. “This is very much a weather-driven fire, but there is definitely a climate component to the overall story, too.”

As we have learned this semester from Professor Blake, who said that scientists are always hesitant to say that any one specific event happened because of climate change; “we always take a look back at the average temperatures over thirty year span”.  His lectures were also backed up by LeRoy Westerling, a management professor at the University of California, Merced’s School of Engineering. He said: “We know that these events are affected by the weather and the climate and how dry it is. The climate system has been altered by people … all the weather we’re experiencing and what’s driving these wildfire events is climate change.” While this fire devastated part of the San Francisco Bay Area, wildfire is creating growing problems across the West, everywhere, including California, the number of large fires has been increasing, and the area burned in them has been increasing. Climate models indicate California in years ahead could experience cycles of droughts followed by heavy rains.”  This means that there will be many more fierce wild fire horses galloping around, spewing much more brimstones and fires!

I refuse to believe that our current president and others like him, refusing to believe in climate change just to make an extra dollar for short term profits!  Unless we do something now to reverse our anthropogenic contribution to our environment, what we’ve been seeing in the past few weeks, is just a minor foreshadowing of what’s to come in the near future. Causing much worse destruction to our homes and killing many more lives out west, perhaps those galloping fire horses might start turning east. The horses in the vision, having breastplates of fire – could they be representing climate change for us?

 

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