August 31 Digest: This Week in Wildfire and Recovery News

This is a digest of selected news and media that emerged over the last week related to wildfire emergencies, recovery efforts, and resilience building efforts in the American West.

Recent and Active Fires

California wildfires are climbing higher up mountains, putting more forest at risk of flames

From The San Francisco Chronicle, by Kurtis Alexander, August 28, 2021 – updated August 30

Climate changes are making California’s wildfires are grow bigger, reaching new altitudes once considered too cool to burn.

High winds threaten to whip up flames approaching Lake Tahoe

From The Associated Press Post by Sam Metz and Janie Har, August 31, 2021

Caldor Fire advances and windy conditions worsen in South Lake Tahoe following evacuations in both California and Nevada.

All national forests in California closed to visitors. No Labor Day camping, hiking, biking

From The Sacramento Bee, by Ryan Sabalow, August 31, 2021

USDA Forest Service is closing all 20 million acres of California’s national forests to public access for two week

Dixie Fire Burns through Lassen Volcanic National Park

From Action News Now, by Anna Torrea August 31, 2021

Update on the Dixie Fire from Shasta County, as it burns through Lassen Volcanic National Park.

Massive Dixie Fire Tops 800,000 Acres; New Evacuations Ordered; Fire Train Helping Crews

From KPIX5 CBS SF Bay Area News, August 31, 2021

Dixie Fire had burned 807,396 acres, or nearly 1,300 square miles since the fire began on July 14. People have been evacuated from their homes in five counties: Butte, Lassen, Plumas, Shasta, and Tehama. The wildfire has destroyed more than 1,200 structures, including nearly 700 homes.

Before the Fire: Reducing Risk, Building Resilience

Dixie Fire isn’t just destroying towns. California’s water and power supply is under threat

OPINION From The Sacramento Bee by Jonathan Kusel, executive director of the Sierra Institute for Community and Environment August 26, 2021

The Dixie Fire has destroyed much more than wildlands and structures, but also threatens water and power infrastructure with the potential for a statewide impact. This opinion piece argues for investments in long term restorative practices and new investment in community-scale businesses.

from The New York Times, by Ivan Penn, August 30, 2021 updated August 31

California regulators have introduced ambitious and sweeping new building regulations to combat carbon emissions toward carbon-neutral goals; the cost of building will rise even as those rebuilding from fire disasters try and recover.

The Jersey Shore Is Sinking. Do We Want to Save It?

OPINION from Bloomberg by Francis Wilkinson, August 29, 2021

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released a code-red warning for the New Jersey shore, which is in danger from sea level rise and sinking land. Will taxpayers foot the bill to protect the shore, and its million dollar properties from the forces of climate change? The price tag is hefty and challenge immense.

A year after fire, burned Santa Cruz forests sprout with new life but growing takes time

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel by Hannah Hagemann, August 15, 2021

Badly burned redwoods — though already resprouting — will likely take upwards of 100 years to fully recover from the CZU Complex.

Forest Ecologists Puzzle Out the Lessons of the Bootleg Fire

From Sierra: The Magazine of the Sierra Club, by Juliet Grable, August 31, 2021

“While experts debate the lessons of fires such as Bootleg, the answers they arrive at will have real consequences for tens of millions of people living in the West.”

Communities Navigating Recovery: Stories of Resilience and Hope

Talking through trauma: CZU fire survivors fight internal, external battles one year later

From the Santa Cruz Sentinel by Hannah Hagemann, August 16, 2021

Personal stories of the physical and emotional stresses of the first year after wildfire took their homes and changed their communities forever.

VIDEO: Little North Fork residents reflect on the Beachie Creek Fire one year later

From Salem Statesman Journal, by Wesley Lapointe, August 22, 2021

Residents of the Little North Santiam Canyon tell stories of loss and rebuilding, one year after the Beachie Creek Fire burnt their community.

Fire-resistant siding, windows, more house materials become popular as Northwest home builders adapt to persistent wildfires

Oregonians rebuilding their homes after fire are opting for more resilient, fire resistant home construction choices.

The Battle of High Hill

From The Atlantic, by Jeffrey E. Stern, August 30, 2021

When two megafires converged on a small town in Oregon, the community faced a choice. People could flee, leaving the town to its fate. Or they could stay and fight.