Thomas Fire Retrospective Report and Climate Change Effects on Wildfires

Source: Montecito Fire Department

The Montecito Fire Department will be holding two upcoming meetings.  The first will be a review of the 2017 Thomas Fire and the Department’s Wildland Fire Program, and the second will be a discussion about climate change and its effects on wildfires.  

Thomas Fire Retrospective Report

The Department will present a report prepared by Geo Elements: “A Retrospective Study of Montecito Fire Protection District’s Wildland Fire Program during the 2017 Thomas Fire”.  The report and discussion will review the actions of the District in the years leading up to the fire as well as actions that took place under the guidance of the Incident Management Team prior to and during December 16th to understand how these actions resulted in significantly less property loss than what was anticipated based on modeling in the 2016 Community Wildfire Protection Plan and as compared to the recent Tea and Jesusita Fires.  We will also discuss opportunities to build upon the success of the current programs in the future.

The Retrospective Report meeting will be held on Wednesday, October 17th, 2018 at the Montecito Fire Protection District Headquarters, 595 San Ysidro Road at 5:30 p.m.  

Climate Change and Wildfires  

Contrary to some recent opinions, the Santa Barbara front is still very much at risk of catastrophic wildfire, despite the extent of the record 2017 Thomas Fire and other recent extreme wildfires in the region. Recent increases in fire size and severity have been attributed to climate change, which is projected to continue, producing more extreme fire activity in the decades to come. Given these projections, what can homeowners and communities do to protect lives and property? 

This discussion will be presented by Dr. Crystal Kolden.  Dr. Kolden will cover the science of how climate change alters wildfire seasons and impacts the different types of wildfires in the region.  She will also discuss the types of mitigation strategies that have been successful in recent wildfires, both for individual homeowners and for communities. 

The Climate Change & Wildfire discussion will be held on Thursday, October 18th, 2018 at the Montecito Fire Protection District Headquarters, 595 San Ysidro Road at 5:30 p.m.  

Dr. Crystal Kolden is an Associate Professor of Fire Science, Director of the Pyrogeography Lab at the University of Idaho, and a former wildland firefighter for the US Forest Service in California. She conducts research on wildfire disasters and how to mitigate them and has published over 50 scientific articles on wildfires.

All stakeholders including property owners, residents, local agencies, organizations, associations, business owners, community leaders, and interested public members are encouraged to attend these meetings.


Written by Anonymous

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  1. The Grand Solar Minimum has already brought plenty of winter weather to parts of North America, pushing the continent to its largest snow cover extent for mid-October since NOAA records began — more than a decade ago. Buy a good coat !

  2. We are in a global cooling period due to solar minimums. There is snow in South Dakota holding up wheat harvest and many cold records were broken recently. When everything is climate change … Nothing is climate change !

  3. Climate change doesn’t mean there will be no snow. It means that overall, globally, the current trend is warming. This changes sea level, wind and water currents, where and how much it rains/snows and where and what species do. It isn’t simplistic or deniable. More records will continue to be broken. That supports climate change.

  4. LUVADUCK – You say climate change means we are in a warming trend. You also claim the cold records we are seeing are also climate change. We are in a cooling trend – Solar minimums are predictable and also undeniable. When everything is art – Nothing is art – Ditto for climate change !

  5. Looks like some people here have ingested all the baloney available from the conspiracy websites of the world with regards to ignorant nonsense like “chemtrails” and “global cooling”. You forgot to mention that the Earth is flat in your rants.

  6. The ~11-year solar cycle has an effect on our climate – really? The average amount of solar irradiance we receive is ~1366 W/m2 and the variation between the high and low cycle is ~1 W/m2, or about 0.07% of the average. This variation cannot cause other than very minor temperature fluctuations on the planet. If you are interested in testing your theory, try monitoring the situation on a global scale, rather than only cherry pick for cold events. How about our hot summer (or geez our roasting summer and fall last year right next to the solar minimum)? Or this – Anchorage, Alaska experienced its warmest September on record this year ( For every cold event you mention, I can provide you with the opposite that occurred either east or west of it. Weather is great to watch – I hope your partiality does not ruin it for you.
    And are far as actual climate change (solar cycle not part of it), the planet has been in a period of decreasing solar irradiance for the last ~6,500 years (see Milankovitch Cycle). So why has the earth been warming recently in spite of it? Guess…

  7. The solar cycle impacts temperature by altering the amount of galactic cosmic radiation reaching the atmosphere. In the high point of the solar cycle the output of the sunspots prevents cosmic radiation from reaching the atmosphere and during the minima (which we are entering right now for this cycle) more radiation interacts with the atmosphere. Temperature is modified due cloud formation caused by the cosmic rays. More clouds, less solar radiation reaching the surface. Sequential solar cycles of poor sunspot formation are called Grand Solar Minimums are are associated with periods of extended cold weather. The current solar cycle that is ending is one of the weakest in a century. If the next cycle is just as weak or weaker, the type of weather that caused the Thames to freeze during previous GSMs may start developing. Cold weather is very bad for agriculture, and the combination of late frosts earlier this year and the early snow falls globally are making hard for farmers in the northern plains, Canada, and Europe. My favorite global warming prediction is “snow will be a thing of the past”. Try quoting that to all the northern wheat farmers try to rescue their harvest already covered by snow.

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