Record Fire Season in the US: It’s a Systems Problem

When God created the world, He did so in a highly organized, highly intentional way.  He knew what He was doing and He created a fantastically beautiful, amazingly well organized world.  He used systems to organize this world and make it sustainable–our atmospheric system, our hydrospheric system (all the surface water on the planet), our food production system (our soil and its subsystems that together form one system), etc., etc.  None of these systems stand alone — they are all tied together into one overarching highly complex system.  So, when we see evidence of decline (especially marked decline) in one system, it means that we should expect to find marked decline in all the other systems as well.  Everything is tied together.

In 2012, there was a record year for ice melting in the Arctic.  Also, the California drought was just beginning.  It is important to understand that these two events are linked, because it is increasing warmth in the arctic which is driving incredible ice melt in the Arctic, which in turn drives global atmospheric changes, which currently means that there is massive drought and massive warming in many places in the world, but no more so than the US West Coast and Alaska (well, maybe Siberia is just as bad).

In 2012, the US experienced its worst year of fire damage ever.  Until this year.  This year we beat the 2012 fire damage record.  And of course, the year is not over.  The ice loss in the Arctic has been epic, but it is not the record that 2012 set (we will likely beat that record next year — I’ll explain why in a future post).   What we have seen is an El Nino year combined with the two massive heat pools off the North American west coast (see this previous post for an explanation).  We’ve also seen a progressive drying of the entire west coast of the US throughout the last two years.  Add it all together and we are seeing large fires in the US but absolutely epic fires in Oregon and Washington.  In fact, the Washington fires are the largest in the history of that state.

What is next for this world?  Well, good question.  If things go the way they currently appear, then we will likely see increasing amounts of tropical moisture making its way to the Arctic because of the massive heat pools in the central and northeast Pacific.  This, in turn, means that we may have a very warm winter in the Arctic (with a record low winter ice extent), with a warm and dry winter in the US west.  This may be followed by a warm spring that sees early snow melt in Alaska and accelerated drying in the US west.  Summer will likely bring record heat to Alaska and, of course, a return of record fires there as well as in Washington, Oregon and California.  With the millions of trees that have died just in California (and that are currently drying into an explosively burnable state), it won’t take much lightning or other ignition sources to get record fires kindled.

So, as massive and tragic as this year’s fires are, we look set to beat them next year if things continue the way they are.  Actually, fires are not our biggest fear by a long-shot, because what we may be witnessing first-hand is a total reorganization of our atmospheric system right in front of our eyes.  Just the be clear:  that can’t be a good thing.  And, again, just to be clear: such a thing would certainly qualify as “signs and wonders in the heavens”.  I’ll talk about this possible atmospheric reorganization in the next couple days.

So, we’re seeing system disruptions all over the globe and one clear manifestation is record fire in the US (we are also seeing record fire in Siberia).  The critical questions, however, are these:  What system disruptions are going on that do not yet have a clear manifestation?  And how will those system disruptions eventually impact human society?  Those are the critical questions.

Scott Christiansen