July 12, 2015

The Ring of Fire

Fires are a fact of life here in California. There are more than 2,000 wildfires per year here on average. Last month a forest fire scorched 31,000 acres in the San Bernardino Mountains. The Forest Service has not determined the cause and has closed the entire area until October. The fire, dubbed the Lake Fire, started on June 17 near Barton Flats and pushed high up the side of the mountain, nearly reaching the 11,500’ summit of San Gorgonio. 

I'm definitely noticing forest fires more these days, probably because they are wreaking havoc on my little running world. The Lake Fire, for instance, scorched some of my favorite trails near Big Bear, CA. It also forced me to scrap my plans to the run nine peak challenge in the mountains this summer.

It is also the fourth forest fire in several years to pummel my running plans. The first was the Westville Fire in 2008 (and dozens of others that burned nearby) that forced the cancellation of the Western States 100, which would have been my first 100 miler. The second was the Santiago Fire that burned 28,000 acres in the Santa Ana mountains and caused us to divert our annual Saltwater Course due to closed mountain trails. And the third was the 2009 Station Fire that burned more than 400,000 acres and forced the cancellation of the Angeles Crest 100 miler. Even though I wasn't signed up for Angeles Crest that year,  my training partner was and I felt his pain.

So what does all this mean? This is a question I've been asking myself a lot lately and will continue to ask unless I get a lobotomy or start drinking the cool aid. In the mean time, I'll leave you with this graph which I find interesting if not revealing.

  Check this out. Half a million acres just went up in smoke in Alaska in one day. 


Jill said...

And meanwhile, us in Colorado are being drenched. I had a trail race cancelled in early May because running on the mud-ridden trails were going to do too much damage to the earth. Never in my entire existence here in Colorado have I had a race cancelled due to rain.

The earth is changing....

Will Cooper said...

I think you are right Jill. The question isn't who's watching, but who really cares?