The blogosphere heats up over the wildfires in Southern California, and bloggers debate the implications of the Bush administration's newest sanctions against Iran.
Fanning the flames: Thousands of residents have been evacuated as wildfires raged across Southern California this week, fueled by the Santa Ana winds and severe drought. Eight people have been killed so far, and thousands have been left homeless. The fires have destroyed almost half a million acres and nearly 2,000 homes. President Bush declared the area a Federal Emergency Zone and visited the region today. Bloggers attack the fires from all sides.
SoCal bloggers givetheirpersonal, insider's perspectives on the fires. Da Goddess describes her particular situation and includes pictures: "We have occasional clouds of ash fall on us, but mostly we're good. … I feel almost guilty having some normalcy in my life when so many others don't." She continues, "It's been heartbreaking to see the devastation. We watched a local newscaster stand before his burning home yesterday. Again, he was one of many. And that's what we all are -- one of many."
Doc in the Box highlights the uncertainties of the precarious situation. "No word on my house yet but I see the sky glowing over there, hopefully it's just streetlights shining in the smoke if not, then guess, I'll have to start going over my insurance policy." FBL at Fuzzilicious Thinking lives in a neighborhood where 14 to 22 houses are estimated to have been destroyed by the fire. "I'm firmly telling myself that the above still means at least 85% of the houses are okay," she says. "But I'm getting a little sick to my stomach. We had no idea so many homes in the neighborhood were affected."
Other bloggers quickly drew political conclusions, scrambling to lay the blame for the fires at someone's feet.
Some echo Al Gore's post-Katrina observations and blame global warming for the fires' intensity. Science blog ClimateProgress explains that "[g]lobal warming leads to more intense droughts, hotter weather, earlier snowmelt (hence less humid late summers and early autumns), and more tree infestations (like the pine beetle)," all of which contribute to forest fires.
Energy blogger Adam Siegel, posting at EnergySmart, cautions against overreaching and has some scientific analysis to back it up: "It is impossible to state that Global Warming did or did not cause the California wildfires. The flames that we see on television. The burned homes. The billowing smoke clouds. Global Warming is not the cause … or at least not the sole cause. Global Warming did, however, contribute to the conditions for these fires and, well, could be said to be fanning their flames."
Conservative Michelle Malkin disagrees and blames the "litigious environmentalists" for filing "lawsuits [that] have tied up the president's Healthy Forests Initiative passed in 2003," which was intended to reduce the risk of forest fires.
The self-described "Hollywood refugee" at ATLmalcontent compares the government's reaction to the California wildfires with the reaction after Hurricane Katrina, praising Governor Schwarzenegger: "When leadership was required in Louisiana, none was provided -- not from Ray Nagin, Kathleen Blanco or W. Bush's apologists say he doesn't like to 'get in the way' of rescue workers, but Schwarzenegger has stayed on the ground throughout the disaster, reassuring citizens that someone was in charge. That is an executive's job, after all."
Presidential candidate Bill Richardson links the California fires to his plan to reduce American presence in Iraq. Writing at the Huffington Post, Richards asks simply, "Where is our National Guard?" He elaborates, using the opportunity to reinforce his call to bring the troops home: "When a national disaster hits, our states depend on the National Guard. Right now, President Bush is robbing Peter to pay Paul to continue his disastrous adventure in Iraq, and when tragedy hits us here at home, Americans are stuck with the bill. This cannot continue."