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The Swamp Is Burning

wildfire map

CNN reports that Wildfire smoke closes interstates in Florida. The Florida Highway Patrol has shut down Interstates 10 and 75 around Lake City, Florida because of a combination of smoke and fog.

The fires are in the Okefenokee Swamp, the large mass of green North of I-10 and West of Folkston, Georgia [the dotted line is the Florida-Georgia border]. You will notice there are no roads and not enough water for boats, so access to the fires is a hard slog through the mud. The special vehicles that were used for getting through the area are currently in a desert.

Without sustained rain, these fires are near impossible to extinguish, as this is what coal looks like before it dried and was compressed.

The Okefenokee was the setting for the world’s best political comic strip: Walt Kelly’s strip featuring Pogo Possum. Walt died more than 30 years ago, but his creation is still relevant. I think the neocons would certainly have caused Walt to resurrect the Jack Acid Society in their dishonor.

7 comments

1 Steve Bates { 05.13.07 at 12:41 am }

Although Stella is far from the Florida border (actually, by now, she’s in Atlanta), I am glad she is coming home from Georgia tomorrow. Fire can be unpredictable, not to mention relentless. And the very idea that the required equipment is half a world away on a fool’s errand infuriates me… one might say that it burns me up.

2 Bryan { 05.13.07 at 11:39 am }

With the heavy smoke and fog, aerial tankers are having a problem getting airborne and spotting their targets when they are in the area. If they get some rain it will help, but they are going to need a lot more that the light shower we got to do them any good, and the lightning could start a fire somewhere else.

3 Cookie Jill { 05.13.07 at 12:49 pm }

I understand that water is a real big issue as well…

Cities scramble to shield water As Florida’s water managers combat the drought, their top priority is defending well fields from subterranean saltwater intrusion. Palm Beach Post

Seawater threatens Florida’s drinking supply. State water managers are poised today to impose severe new restrictions to combat a seeping front of sea water that threatens the water supply for hundreds of thousands of coastal residents. Miami Herald

We here out in CA are dreading what the summer fire season may bring. We’ve already wrung up quite a tab on firefighting these past two weeks alone.

(Although, admittedly, there are some places in LaLa that I would like to see burned to the ground, the Observatory and the Los Feliz area is definately not one of them…)

4 Bryan { 05.13.07 at 1:11 pm }

That’s the Atlantic Coast with the salt water problem. The problem in the north of the state is Atlanta pulling out all of the water they want for growth which is cutting down on the flow into the swamp and the flow that keeps the downstream portions of the rivers clean and clear.

The Apalachicola River is is a bigger problem because it is the border between Alabama and Georgia before it gets to Florida to scour the Apalachicola Bay oyster beds. All three states are using too much water and concentrating the pollutants that reach the bay. That fight has been going on for decades, most of which didn’t involve droughts.

Florida is over built and it is past the time when desalination should have been on the schedule.

We are seeing the effect of draining the swamps for farms and managing the rivers.

5 Cookie Jill { 05.14.07 at 1:59 am }

CA is in big trouble water-wise, especially SoCal.

The State isn’t getting as much Colorado River as before and the Sierra’s aren’t packing alot of snow for runnoff, and with NoCal growing in their needs for the water, SoCal has to give up some of it’s “rights” to have it flow down. Agricultural needs have been skyrocketing, especially in the vineyards that are popping up everywhere.

I keep wanting to ask our local pols…so, you want to approve these humungous developments of $2mil+ condos…well, show me where you’re going to get the water. (and also show me where you’re going to house us people who make an average living…)

6 Bryan { 05.14.07 at 1:21 pm }

I lived in San Diego for a decade and still have family in the area. We were in drought conditions several times and they still approved projects. Half the water in the American Canal is lost to evaporation and the Imperial Valley moved to Arizona when Arizona started drawing water out of the Colorado. We subsidize rice farming in California with cheap water, and wonder why there’s a problem. Golf courses are built everywhere and people wonder why there’s a problem. The Los Angeles River is a concrete race track used for movie car chases and people wonder why there’s a problem.

We misuse more water than we used, and wonder why there’s a problem.

Before you get a permit to build, you should be required to show that the water, sewage and utilities are available. That needs to be the responsibility of the developers, not the taxpayers.

7 Why Now? » Blog Archive » Now The Lake Is Burning { 05.30.07 at 8:47 am }

[…] talked about the fire in the Okefenokee Swamp, and now about 2000 acres is on fire in what was the bed of Lake […]