News for the Week 2023-08-21

Make a top-level comment for a new story/topic. Discussions about the topic should be in the replies to the top-level comment. That way things stay organized and every main comment as you scroll down is a different piece of news.


  • Comments (8)

    • 2

      Nuclear power plant unable to operate due to heat wave.

      My main concern with this is that one of the major types of power source could be increasingly unavailable during the times that electricity is most needed.

      Any piece of equipment has a range of temperatures in which it can function safely and effectively. As the world gets hotter, equipment designed for a colder world will need to be redesigned, upgraded, or discarded.

      “Temperatures are expected to rise to between 40 and 42 Celsius (104 and 108 F) on Tuesday afternoon in the southern departments of Ardeche, Drome, Vaucluse and Gard, Meteo France said.

      Separately, French power company EDF said it extended the outage at its 1.3-gigawatt Golfech 2 nuclear reactor in south-western France on Monday because river water used to cool the reactor had surpassed maximum temperatures due to the heatwave.”


    • 3

      Two spots in Canada are making headlines this week.

      The Kelowna, British Columbia metropolitan area is home to over 200,000 people and wildfire burns on its outskirts. Over 50 structures have already burned.

      In Yellowknife, North West Territories, the entire city of 20,000 people is still under a wildfire evacuation order.

      From my vantage point, south of Denver, I watched the Marshall Fire develop in Boulder County, Colorado a couple of years ago. I’m about 20 miles away, as the crow flies, and at first I thought it must be an industrial fire, with all the black smoke. Over the course of an hour or so, the smoke billowed bigger, higher, and very black. A residential fire was burning, but it looked like petroleum smoke.

      And of course it was. Our houses are made of plastic. Roofs, paint, siding, window frames, floor coverings, furniture, clothes in the closets, and PVC pipes in the walls – all made of plastic. Plastic that burns hot and fast.

      There is nothing to say that on a windy day, wildfire won’t spread through urban areas. Wildfires aren’t just in the forest.

      No matter where you live, it makes sense to get ready. It sucks to run out of the house with nothing but the baby and the diaper bag.

      Scan important documents onto a flash drive and stash them with friends and family a decent distance from your home. Have water, a go bag , phone numbers, cash, and gas in the car. When it’s windy, pay attention, listen to the radio, watch the sky.

      It’s not just wildfire, these are good precautions for all kinds of situations.






      • 1

        “No matter where you live, it makes sense to get ready.”

        Completely agree. Wildfire risk has been rising rapidly worldwide at a rapid pace for the last five years or so, so wildfire preparedness is becoming an issue that everyone needs to start thinking about.

        Despite living in Florida, where wildfire risk is relatively low, we’re starting to look into options for hardening our home against wildfires. See the section of TP’s wildfire guide called “Create Defensible Zones Around Your Home.”


    • 1

      Greece Battles Its Most Widespread Wildfires on Record


      “Extreme heat has turned much of the country into a tinderbox. More than 350 fires have broken out in the past five days, the government said.”

      “Wildfires ravaged northern Greece for a fifth consecutive day on Wednesday and forced the evacuation of settlements on the outskirts of the capital, Athens.”

      “355 new fires had broken out in the past five days — 209 of them in the last 24 hours.”

    • 3

      NIST just issued two reports related to the Paradise fire. One is a case study of that fire. The other is updated guidance for wildfire preparedness. A key lesson learned was the importance of temporary refuge areas within the community (such as parking lots) where people can survive when their escape routes are cut off.

      I’ve added details and links as a comment under this “Fire in Paradise” post.


    • 1

      How do we fight wildfires as temperatures rise?

      1) Controlled burns

      2) Drones for surveillance 

      3) Introduce plants from hotter, drier ecosystems


      • 3


        I’m planting natives of the Great Basin precisely because the weather there gets so savagely cold, and so blistering hot, and so dry most all the time. You’ve got to be tough to make it in the future. Great Basin plants have a good track record.

        These plants are setting their roots now, and so hopefully will be well established as the weather gets more unstable and as Denver’s water gets scarcer. 

        I’m also planting species that are edible, useful, or both. Yucca, sage brush, Indian rice grass, sand cherries and the like. 

    • 2

      Heads up anyone in NW Florida, especially near the coast. Idalia’s forecast is getting substantially worse. Storm surge could be up to 11 feet. Currently forecast as CAT 2 but I would prepare for CAT 3 as worst likely case.