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Response to lunasun (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 10, 2018, 02:01 AM

10. Aside from denial, which every region has an abundance of, it's a matter of geology

While we can't be 100% sure exactly which canyons will ignite in which year, we do know that on the Central Coast we get sundowner winds flowing down the mountains and further south they get Santa Ana winds funneling out of the desert through the passes and canyons. Hot dry wind over dry landscape.

Rain follows usually-dry watercourses, and heavy rain overwhelms them, plus it doesn't soak into burned-over ground fast enough, but runs off the baked outer layer. What does get through creates slippery instability, and can cause mudslides, some massive. Big rocks can be carried quite a way by either flood or mud. Recently burned areas are full of ash and much bigger debris as well, and the ash creates its own slurry.

This is an inadequate thumbnail sketch, but I myself like knowing why things happen in certain areas. What happened to New Orleans during and after Hurricane Katrina was absolutely incomprehensible to me until I learned more about their earthen levees, holdovers from early agriculture, and a host of other things from politics to personal decisions to lack of transportation. Then it made sense. It did not make it right, and I was outraged -- but at least I felt I could get a small grip on understanding.

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