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10 things I learned from Fire Weather: A True Story from a Hotter World by John Vaillant

It is amazing that nobody died in the featured fire: Fort McMurray wildfire.

It's a really compelling book told like a thriller. I have reconsidered my thoughts on climate change.

Because it is Canada they wait in line in one lane of the road instead of driving the wrong way even though there are 300 foot flames on both sides!

    1. The fire was so powerful it was compared to nuclear bombs

    2. Modern furniture made of plastics and hydrocarbons burns differently and more intensely than traditional wood and cotton furnishings, leading to sudden room ignitions.

    3. Wildfires can persist for months or even years

    4. The intensity of wildfires can cause hundred-foot trees to catch fire, creating winds and fire walls over 300 feet high with hurricane-force winds.

    5. Historical reference to World War II's Operation Gomorrah and the strategic bombing to maximize fire damage, paralleling wildfire destruction.

    From Google AI:

    Operation Gomorrah was a joint British-American bombing campaign that targeted German civilians during World War II. The operation took place in the last week of July 1943, and created one of the largest firestorms of the war. The operation killed an estimated 37,000 people in Hamburg.

    The bombing was planned for weeks with a series of bombs designed to destroy civilian homes in the first rounds of bombings and set them on fire in subsequent rounds.

    6. If/when there is a fire forests become net emitters of carbon dioxide

    I had always thought that they absorbed carbon but certainly not if they are on fire.

    7. Peat bogs in the northern hemisphere are drying out which turns them into fire starters. They can burn for months or even years.

    8. The water they were trying to use against the fire would be turned to steam before it reached the fire.

    9. Fire would cause houses and everything in them to essentially explode. Tires, gas, tanks, and bags of Doritos would all explode. Houses would go from all there to "gone" in 5 minutes

    10. Because of the scale of this file and some of the other ones of the last few years, scientists and people who study fire are having to rewrite their expectations

    This fire was so much more potent than regular scales of measurement that new ones needed to be created.

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