What is the cost?

What is the cost?

I think you could say that the fires we have been having in the western United States would fall into the category of “catastrophic.”

One source said that there were some 1,400 fires burning from California to Washington and from Oregon into Utah.  One you tube video showed how the smoke plume extended from Montana into Oklahoma, probably one thousand miles from the source of fire. The smoke has been so dramatic, the noon-day sun is little more than a bright spot in an otherwise nighttime.  Evenings and mornings look more like a change in time than they do the passage of night into daytime.  Seven p. m. has been dark enough that it seemed as if someone forgot to change the clocks from daylight back to standard time.

No one would contest the fact that it has been catastrophic, but most also know that there have been dramatic storms in other parts of the country, with the threat of even larger ones on the horizon.  Hurricane Harvey dropped more than four feet of rain on the Houston area and following closely on the heels of that is another, larger storm that could literally bring the entire east coast of this country to its knees.  As of the day this was written, Hurricane Irma was producing wind speeds in excess of 180 miles per hour, and despite the building codes having changed, there is literally nothing on the face of the earth that will withstand that force for any time.

The winds may not be the worst part of that storm.  Some are predicting the storm surge to be in excess of 40-feet, a literal wall of water.  I checked Google Earth and most of the elevations in the city of Miami, where the storm is calculated to hit, are in the 18-foot elevation range.  Do the math; the city is going to drown if computer models are correct.  The mayor has already declared an emergency and with good reason.  Emptying a city the size of Miami is no easy task and it will take all the resources available within the area–and more.  Photos from the area show a run on grocery stores and empty shelves where water is stocked.  Gas will be in short supply and many families attempting to flee from the storm’s wrath will end up stuck or hitching a ride with neighbors or using public transportation. This will not be a pretty picture.  I have always said that the last place I want to be in the event of a natural disaster is a large city because there is literally little chance of escape.

Following the hurricane, is another storm that is tracking for the East Coast, but little has been heard of this one.  While the winds might not be as intense, there is a chance of it dumping heavy rains on the Eastern Seaboard.  That might be much like pouring salt into the wound, but there is yet another storm developing in the Gulf of Mexico and that one could be heading for the Houston area.  So the southeast after taking a beating in Harvey is set to get hammered again.

I’m not one for sour news, but others are predicting disasters that extend beyond what I’ve described.  We know the potential for earthquakes on the northwest coast and earthquake swarms are occurring on a continuing basis around Yellowstone.  Those disasters could strike at the same time, which could potentially cause massive loss of life in the west as a whole.

One thing I’ve noticed over the years is that catastrophic fires are normally followed by huge rainfalls the following winter.  With no vegetation remaining on the hills, they become vulnerable to slides that wash away our soils and increase the likelihood of landslides that have caused tremendous losses both in terms of lives and property.

Ironic is that we, here in the west are burning the very building materials that will be needed when the rebuilding efforts begin in the south and east.  Our largest fire, the fire near Brookings, is one of the largest in the country, and is burning thousands of acres of timber.  The Eagle Creek fire along the Columbia Gorge is ripping through timber at an incredible rate and many other fires are contributing to the smoke and destruction around the state as well.

As mentioned, the timber we are burning would be needed in rebuilding many homes and buildings around the southeastern parts of the country.  If the past repeats itself, environmentalists will oppose taking any of the burned timber out of the forest areas, so it will be left to rot and cause further fires in the future.

Two things we should learn from all that is happening.  The first and most important: get yourself right with God.  We have lost friends lately at the dropping of a hat, and the same could happen to us. In the long run, this step is the most important.

Secondly: Realize that we’re all in this together and we must pull together.  This season will test our mettle, individually and as a society.  There are many forces that would love to see our country broken, and we are vulnerable.  We’re vulnerable to attack, whether it is financially, with an EMP or from nature itself.

Be aware.  Prepare your own bug-out-bag, which will give you some resources for the short run, and learn how to protect yourself, your family and your community.