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Red Flag Warning: These California Wildfires Are ‘Among The Most Destructive Fire Events In US History’ And They Are About To Get Even Worse

The wildfires that are roaring through northern California are already “among the most destructive fire events in U.S. history”, and by the time it is all said and done this could be the worst wildfire season in the history of the state.  So far, fires have scorched more than 250 square miles, and more than 3,500 homes and businesses have already been destroyed.  The official death toll has risen to 21, but that is expected to rise dramatically because over 600 missing persons reports have been filed with authorities.  The worst damage has been done in Napa and Sonoma counties, and you can see some deeply troubling photos of the devastation here and here.

Unfortunately, this crisis is far from over.  In fact, the National Weather Service has just issued a pair of “red flag warnings”

The weather forecast is not looking good for those living in wine country, and for those firefighters trying to get a handle on the 22 wildfires raging through Northern California, which broke out Sunday and are barely contained more than three days later.

The National Weather Service issued a red flag warning for the North and East bays starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday and midnight on Thursday respectively.

That means winds can gust from 20 mph to 50 mph in the higher elevation areas, fanning the flames down mountains and into the cities.

So as bad as things are at this moment, the truth is that they are going to get even worse over the next 24 hours.

And that is quite sobering to hear, because this is already one of “the most destructive fire events in U.S. history”

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said fire activity increased significantly, destroying more buildings and forcing more mandatory evacuations. The wind-whipped, fast moving cluster of blazes ranks among the most destructive fire events in U.S. history.

“This is a serious, critical, catastrophic event,” Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott said. “It’s pure devastation, and it’s going to take a while to get out and comb through all this.”

Of course this crisis comes on the heels of several other major disasters.  In recent weeks our nation has had to deal with Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and the Las Vegas shooting, and many have pointed out that the U.S. has not seen a series of disastrous events such as this in a very long time.

It would be hard to overstate the devastation that we have witnessed in northern California so far.  In some areas, it literally looks like a war zone

‘It looks like a bombing run here,’ said winemaker Joe Nielsen of Santa Rosa’s Donelan Family Wines, speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle. ‘Just chimneys and burnt-out cars and cooked trees.’

What would you do if your home burned to the ground?

Perhaps you could use the insurance money to rebuild eventually, but what would you do in the meanwhile?

Everywhere you go in northern California the smell of smoke fills the air.  At this point it is so bad that even San Francisco is reporting “the worst air quality ever recorded”

“We are reporting the worst air quality ever recorded for smoke in many parts of the Bay Area,” said Tom Flannigan, spokesman for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. “This is similar to what you see in Beijing China in bad air days there.”

Soot readings in many areas have reached levels considered very unhealthy or hazardous, air quality regulators said.

And the economic damage that is being done by these fires is going to be felt for many, many years to come.

As the quote below explains, California accounts for approximately 85 percent of the wine production in the United States, and Napa and Sonoma counties are the heart of the wine industry in the state…

Wine industry experts say that even if a winery’s vineyards remain standing, they face steep challenges as their employees struggle with burned or damaged homes. The region counts wine and tourism as top employers, and many workers who pick grapes or work in hotels may be compelled to relocate after losing everything.

Napa and Sonoma counties are home to around 900 wineries (of 4,600 statewide), with most boutique businesses making higher-end wines. The two counties represent 13% of the state’s output. And the state itself supplies 85% of the nation’s wine production, making it the fourth-largest producer of wines after Italy, France and Spain.

Expect the price of wine to go up substantially in the months ahead, and this is going to be a huge hit for one of the most economically prosperous areas of the state.  Many of the facilities that have been destroyed will never be rebuilt, and needless to say the tourism industry in northern California will not be the same for a very long time.

But the true extent of the devastation will not be known until the crisis is over, and it looks like the worst chapters may still be ahead.  USA Today is reporting that no rain is in the forecast, and strong winds are going to continue to push wildfires very rapidly across the region…

“No rainfall is forecast for ongoing fires in California,” the weather service said. “Strong winds behind the front will bring elevated-to-critical fire weather threats to active fires across northern California today into Thursday.”

Please pray for the people living in northern California.  Normally, it is one of the most beautiful areas on the entire planet, but now it is literally being transformed into a complete and total nightmare.

For years, I have been writing about the alarming increase in the intensity of wildfires all over the country.  One of the big reasons for this is the fact that the federal government is not properly managing the lands under their control, and so wildfires tend to burn more rapidly on federally-owned lands.  It is time for the federal government to start turning over ownership of these lands to the states, and that is something that I plan to fight very hard to accomplish.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Another Major Disaster Hits The U.S. – A Massive ‘Firestorm’ Is Burning Tens Of Thousands Of Acres In Northern California

The nation is still reeling from a series of major disasters in recent weeks, and now another one has hit us.  At this moment, an enormous “firestorm” is consuming tens of thousands of acres in eight counties in northern California. Wind gusts of up to 50 mph are rapidly driving 15 large wildfires across Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Yuba, Nevada, Calaveras and Butte counties, and the devastation that is taking place is being described as “like Armageddon”.  Ultimately, it looks like this is going to be one of the worst months for wildfires in the history of the state, and all of this comes on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and the Las Vegas shooting.  Ever since late August, it seems like all hell has broken loose in America.

So far at least 1,500 structures have been destroyed, at least 20,000 people have been evacuated and at least 73,000 acres have been burned.  The smell of smoke has reached San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco, and California Governor Jerry Brown has officially declared a state of emergency.

If these wildfires were just consuming isolated parts of northern California, this wouldn’t be such a big story.  The reason why this crisis is getting so much attention from the national media is because some of these fires are raging “unchecked through high-end resorts, grocery stores and tree-lined neighborhoods”

More than a dozen wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through California wine country Monday, destroying at least 1,500 homes and businesses and sending thousands fleeing as flames raged unchecked through high-end resorts, grocery stores and tree-lined neighborhoods.

As he fled through the ember-stewn streets of his neighborhood in Santa Rosa, Jeff Okrepkie knew it was probably the last time he would see his home of the past five years standing.

His worst fears were confirmed Monday morning, when a friend sent him a photo of what was left: a smoldering heap of burnt metal and debris.

Could you imagine how helpless you would feel if you were forced to evacuate and you knew that your home and everything that you owned was about to be consumed by fire?

That is what thousands of northern Californians are facing right now.  In fact, many are getting out with so little time to spare that they can literally feel the heat from the flames as they drive away

“It was an inferno like you’ve never seen before,” said Marian Williams, who caravanned with neighbors before dawn as one of the wildfires reached the vineyards and ridges at her small Sonoma County town of Kenwood.

Ms Williams could feel the heat of her fire through the car as she fled. “Trees were on fire like torches,” she said.

At this point, Santa Rosa appears to be getting hit worse than just about anywhere else.

According to Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott, one major neighborhood within the city has already been completely destroyed

When winds pushed the Tubbs fire into Santa Rosa on Sunday night, it created “a firestorm within a city,” Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott said.

“It’s fair to say it’s been destroyed,” Pimlot said of Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove neighborhood. Hotels, a big box store and a high school burned as the flames danced around the 101 Freeway.

“Late last night starting around 10 o’clock you had 50-60 mph winds that surfaced — really across the whole northern half of the state,” he said. “Every spark is going to ignite.”

Authorities are telling us that the big box store that was destroyed was a Kmart, and the hotel that was burned to the ground was a Hilton.  But even more disturbing was what happened to Journey’s End retirement community

In Santa Rosa, the fire gutted a Hilton hotel and flattened the Journey’s End retirement community, a trailer park not far from the freeway that crosses the city. Most of the trailers were leveled, leaving a smoldering debris field of household appliances, filing cabinets and the charred personal effects of more than 100 residents. Pieces of ash fell like snowflake flurries, and a pall of white smoke across the city blotted out the sun.

Insurance will cover the Kmart and the Hilton, but it is probably fair to say that a lot of the people living in that trailer park did not have adequate coverage.

Sadly, many of them will now be forced to start over with essentially nothing.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but wildfires are becoming a much bigger problem than they used to be.  We were already not too far behind the record pace that was set in 2015, and if this month continues to be really bad we could potentially set the all-time national record for number of acres burned in a single year by the end of 2017.

As I discuss in my brand new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters”, our planet is becoming increasingly unstable.  And for those living in the state of California, I would be extremely concerned about all of the shaking that we have been witnessing along the North American portion of the “Ring of Fire” lately.  The experts assure us that we are way overdue for “the Big One”, and when it happens it is going to be the worst disaster in the modern history of the state.

But hopefully things will start to settle down for at least a little while in our nation, because we have been put through quite a lot lately.  After Harvey, Irma, Las Vegas and now these California wildfires, we could definitely use some time to recover.

And if you happen to live in northern California, we would love to hear from you.  Please feel free to tell us what is going on in your area by posting a comment below…

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Federal Government Owns 61 Percent Of Idaho, 64 Percent Of Utah And 84 Percent Of Nevada

Did you know that the federal government owns 28 percent of all land in the United States?  Today, the feds control approximately 640 million acres of land, and after decades of very poor management, many are calling on the states to take a larger role.  This is particularly true in the 11 western states where the federal government collectively owns 47 percent of all land.  East of the Mississippi River, the feds only own 4 percent of all land, and there is no reason for such a disparity to exist.  In Connecticut and Iowa, the federal government only owns 0.3 percent of all land.  Such an arrangement seems to work very well for those states, and so why can’t we dramatically reduce federal land ownership in the western states as well?

Of course the federal government will always need a very small amount of land for certain national purposes, and nobody is disputing that.  According to the Heritage Foundation, the following are the primary purposes that federal land is being used for…

These holdings include national parks, national forests, recreation areas, wildlife refuges, vast tracts of range and wasteland managed by the Bureau of Land Management, reservations held in trust for Native American tribes, military bases, and ordinary federal buildings and installations.

We will always need to have some land set aside for those purposes.

But does the Bureau Of Land Management really need more than 247 million acres?

Does the Forest Service really need more than 192 million acres?

Does the Fish and Wildlife Service really need more than 89 million acres?

If the feds were doing a good job, that would be one thing, but in so many instances federal land managers have gotten an extremely bad reputation.  The following comes from an article by Sue Lani Madsen

For example, federal land is exempt from state noxious weed control laws, and lack of weed control has earned federal land a reputation as a bad neighbor. Frustrated local federal land managers are hindered by layers of internal regulations and restricted funding that make timely response to weed outbreaks difficult.

And thanks to mismanagement by the feds, wildfires tend to spread very rapidly in many areas owned and controlled by the federal government.  At this point more than 2.6 million acres of land have already burned in 2017, and that is close to 30 percent ahead of last year’s pace.

If you have never lived in a western state, it may be difficult for you to imagine just how frustrating it is to have the federal government in control of vast stretches of your state.  In so many cases the feds simply do not care about local issues or concerns, and when they drop the ball there is often very little that can be done about it.

According to Ballotpedia, the federal government owns more than 28 percent of the land in 12 different western states…

Washington: 28.5 percent

Montana: 29.0 percent

New Mexico: 34.7 percent

Colorado: 35.9 percent

Arizona: 38.6 percent

California: 45.8 percent

Wyoming: 48.1 percent

Oregon: 52.9 percent

Alaska: 61.2 percent

Idaho: 61.6 percent

Utah: 64.9 percent

Nevada: 84.9 percent

Here in Idaho, we are glad to have so much public land because it is a wonderful thing for hunters, fishers, hikers and those that enjoy other outdoor activities.

So we want to continue our tradition of having wide open spaces that are owned by the public – we just want the federal government to hand over the keys and leave.

We believe that Idaho land should be owned by the people of Idaho, and we believe that Idaho’s natural resources should be managed by the people of Idaho.

Those that are against transferring ownership of federal land to the states often argue that it would be too expensive for the states to handle

Paying for wildfire protection alone—it accounts for about half of the U.S. Forest Service’s annual budget of $6.5 billion—would burden Western taxpayers, says the Center for Western Priorities, a conservation group.

States would be forced to raise taxes or sell off iconic national properties to developers or other private investors in order to pay for everything the federal government does now—from complicated tasks like enforcing environmental regulations and maintaining cultural and historic resources to simple ones like putting up road and trail signs.

But one study found that it is actually profitable for states to manage their own public lands.  Here is more from Sue Lani Madsen

A 2015 study by the Property and Environment Research Center, a free-market environmental think tank, consistently found state-managed land provided a return on every dollar spent while federal lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management cost more to operate than they return in revenue.

At the end of the day, this is just another area where we need to readjust the balance of power between the states and the federal government.  Our founders intended to create a system where the states had much more power than the central government, but instead that has become totally flipped around.

Today, it is almost as if the 10th Amendment does not even exist.  Most of the time the federal government treats state governments as little more than puppets, and very few state governments have the backbone to stand up for themselves.

As conservatives, we need to start standing up against the costly federal mandates that are imposing such a financial burden on our state governments.  We want control of our own laws and our own budgets.

It is also time for the feds to get off the backs of our farmers, our miners, our loggers and our ranchers.  Some of the most abusive federal agencies, such as the EPA, need to be shut down entirely.

And if our local communities do not want to take Islamic refugees from the Middle East, they should not be forced to do so by the federal government.  Here in Idaho, three young Islamic refugees raped a 5-year-old girl, and yet the federal government does not seem to care about our outrage.

Recently, I have been talking to so many people that just want the federal government to leave us alone.  Instead of solving our problems, most of the time the federal government is the problem, and things would be so much better if the feds would just stay out of our business.

The Sobering Reality Of What Life Is Like In Reno, Nevada

What do you do when the city where you live is dying?  All over the United States formerly great cities are crumbling, but some are definitely in worse shape than others.  One reader recently wrote to me about what she sees happening all around her in Reno, Nevada.  The unemployment rate in Reno is now up to 11.7 percent, which is well above the national average of 8.3 percent.  But that doesn’t tell the whole story.  The recent recession hit Nevada particularly hard and people have been moving out of the state in waves.  In fact, the labor force in Nevada has shrunk by close to 20 percent over the past year as workers have moved elsewhere in search of work.  But even though the labor force is now nearly 20 percent smaller, the unemployment rate is still well above 11 percent.  There simply are not enough jobs in large Nevada cities such as Reno and Las Vegas.  Unfortunately for Reno, it does not have the same kind of big corporate money pouring into it that Las Vegas does.  The good news is that you can buy a house very, very cheaply in Reno because homes were foreclosed on in droves during the housing crash.  Even today, some housing developments that were put up near the end of the boom times look like virtual ghost towns.  The main industry in Reno is “entertainment”, but many of Reno’s strip clubs and gambling establishments have aged so badly at this point that they just look kind of depressing.  I guess that is kind of fitting, because Nevada has the fifth highest suicide rate in the nation, and Reno has been ranked as one of the top 10 depressed cities in the entire country.  As the city has declined, gangs have moved in and the drug trade is flourishing.  Reno has been called the meth capital of America, and crime is on the rise.  Despite being surrounded by tremendous natural beauty, Reno has become a very unpleasant place in which to live.  But what is happening in Reno is also happening in hundreds of other communities across the United States.  Our economy is collapsing and our cities are crumbling right in front of our eyes, and it is only going to get worse from here.

A reader of my site named Heather who has been unemployed since November of last year recently shared the following with me….

I am living in Reno/Sparks Nevada and I feel like it is ground zero for collapse. There are a lot of people who are in denial right now and cannot see the larger picture. I keep also saying we are the canary in the coal mine for the rest of the country.  It is quite depressing driving around seeing empty office buildings with vacancies and retail areas just empty. Went to the stores and retail seems pretty slow also. I am volunteering at ProNet locally and it helps unemployed people finds jobs and skills. It has been depressing there too with very little jobs out there for many people who need one.

She said that I should share what is happening in Reno with my readers.  She wanted people to know what those living in Reno are going through.

You might think that since Reno is so sunny, so warm and surrounded by such natural beauty that it would be one of the happiest places in America.

Unfortunately it turns out that the opposite is true.

Reno is actually a very sad place.

In fact, last year Men’s Health ranked Reno as the ninth saddest city in the United States.

In response to this ranking, one resident of Reno wrote the following….

In light of this disheartening list-making, it is, of course, important for Nevadans to look on the bright side. Rather than allowing these statistics to depress us further, we can consider them a series of challenges that make living in places like Reno and Las Vegas all the more impressive. You don’t just live in Reno. You survive Reno! To dwell in Reno, you must triumph over the odds that are stacked against you—one of the things we’re supposed to do best here.

If we can withstand all of the emotional curveballs thrown at us because we have selected such a turbulent location in which to reside, we can probably survive anything.

As a lifelong Renoite, I am inclined to respond to these lists with defiance. Yeah, things can look pretty grim sometimes when no one can find a job, and there seems to be no way out.

And that is how many Americans are feeling these days.  They are broke, unemployed, depressed and out of options.

How can you pick up and start a new life somewhere else when you have no job and no money?

Sadly, a lot of younger Americans are turning to drugs in an attempt to escape the pain of their daily lives.

One article that I found attempted to find humor in the raging meth epidemic that is happening in Reno….

Reno has been affectionately called the meth capital of the nation. Some foolishly think mass drug usage can ravage a city as swiftly as it can ruin a user’s clear complexion. In all reality, drug addiction is no more than an endearing quirk, certainly not a cause for concern. Babies and adolescents with addiction-addled parents should stop being coddled and learn how to take care of themselves. I’ve been doing my own laundry since I was six months old­ — I’m sure they can do the same. If there is anything disturbing about the meth problem in Reno, it’s that it shows the lack of variety in this town. Why don’t you try some uppers like MDMA? Your teeth will thank me.

Unfortunately, Reno is far from alone.  In the past I have written about how formerly great cities such as Detroit, Cleveland and Baltimore are completely falling apart as well.  This kind of thing is literally happening from coast to coast.

There is a very serious lack of decent jobs in America right now.  At this point only 24.6 percent of all jobs in the United States are good jobs.

This has made it increasingly difficult for Americans to be able to take care of themselves.

If you can believe it, more than 100 million Americans are on welfare at this point.

And that number does not even include the tens of millions of people that are on Social Security and Medicare.

What in the world has happened to us?

These days most Americans work really hard all of their lives but never end up reaching their dreams.

In fact, one recent study found that 46 percent of all Americans die with less than $10,000 worth of financial assets.

Talk about depressing.

But instead of having us focus on how bad the economic numbers are, the Federal Reserve wants to start measuring how “happy” everyone is.  The following is from a recent ABC News article….

Ben Bernanke wants to know if you are happy.

The Federal Reserve chairman said Monday that gauging happiness can be as important for measuring economic progress as determining whether inflation is low or unemployment high. Economics isn’t just about money and material benefits, Bernanke said. It is also about understanding and promoting “the enhancement of well-being.”

So what would you say if the Federal Reserve contacted you and asked if you are happy?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

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