Monday, February 23, 2009

The South is Burning

Two weeks ago, I flew from NYC to Orlando at night. We flew over the Tidewater area of Virginia, which is important only in that I knew as soon as the lights from that metropolis faded, I was over North Carolina (which is relevant b/c I could pick out where we were and other things you don't care about...).

What is notable is that when we got somewhere over eastern NC, there were wildfires. Big ones. Like, able to see flames and their eerie reflection off billowing smoke thousands of feet below.

Now, in 2003, I flew to LA at the height of some terrible California wildfires. And by bad I mean, smoke 15,000 feet in the air huge. So these were small fires.

The key word in that last sentence, though, is "these." They are everywhere. Flying from Charlotte to Tampa today, I saw tons from the air. These were not factories or plants billowing ick from smokestacks. This was smoke rising from acres of land.

As I drove south on I-75 from Tampa to Sarasota I drove by one on the side of the road. I shit you not. Cars were slowing down with a collective, "huh?"

Anyhow, General Sherman is not the one flambe-ing Dixie this go 'round. It's drought, of course.

So, the brain trust down here in Florida thought, "well, if we do some controlled burns, it will wipe out wildfire fuel."

As this story shows, that's not going so hot. Or it's going extremely, blazingly hot.

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