Motorcycles and Firestorms

Living in Southern California, we witness these firestorms often. The fires burning this past week have been severe, but then again, we exp...

Living in Southern California, we witness these firestorms often. The fires burning this past week have been severe, but then again, we experience these severe burns about every 4-5 years anyways.

I don't ride my motorcycle when the air is filled with soot. The outdoor air smells like you're sitting next to a campfire and a breeze is blowing all the smoke into your face. Making it worse for me is that I get bad allergic reactions from this stuff. I tend to just hide indoors with my allergy meds.

I live in Riverside County, between the I-215 and I-15 freeways. It's been pretty safe here. All the action has been to the south, to the north, and to the west. I'm not religious, so I don't have anyone else to thank but our firefighters.

My beagle is having a tough time with the Santa Ana winds, and now the smoke. Her allergies are as bad as mine. After taking her to the vet for a persistent cough, she's now on meds too.

Both of my motorcycles are now coated with a fine layer of dust, thanks to the Santa Ana winds. I keep them garaged, but the winds were so dusty that it blew through the small space under the garage door. This was probably the dustiest Santa Ana wind I've ever experienced, thanks to the drought and to the construction going on around here.

I'm hearing celebrities on television blaming all this on mankind, claiming that this is another casualty of Global Warming.

They're wrong. The drought is actually caused by a cooling of ocean and air temperatures, a phenomenon known as "La Nina". The cooler the temperatures, the less water evaporation. If this was global warming, and we had warmer water and air, we'd experience monsoon-like rainfall, known as "El Nino", similar to what the Equator experiences.

Droughts have been part of California's history for as long as mankind has been here. And since man has lived in SoCal, we've had fires. This is not a recent phenomenon since George Bush took office.

During this firestorm, it was estimated nearly 1 million people in San Diego County were evacuated from their homes. In the firestorm of 2003, only about 50,000 people were evacuated. But that's not a reflection of how severe the fire is. Rather, in 2003 people didn't believe that a fire in the mountains could move 40 miles west into the suburbs of San Diego in a matter of minutes. Hence, they ignored the evacuation orders, and learned their lesson the hard way. This time around they heeded the warnings. That's why the evacuation numbers are greater.

I guess I never bought into the man-made global warming bandwagon. I'm not arguing that temperatures have risen, only that it's caused by man. The Environmental Protection Agency says that since the late 1800's when temperatures were recorded consistently, global temperatures have only risen by 1 degree F. Even if that's enough to be called "global warming", I still dispute it was caused by man.

And even 100+ years of data is way too short of a time span to say that the Earth is changing. The Earth naturally goes through periods of warming and cooling that lasts tens of thousands of years. We simply need more data.

Either way, it's been said that there's only enough oil left in the ground to last us another 50-100 years until it becomes so rare that we'll no longer be able to afford fossil fuels. So, it's an argument that will eventually die.

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