Sierras on Fire

Five fires suddenly erupted along a 3-1/2 mile stretch of Highway 80 this afternoon. The northern corridor which is the main overland trucking route is closed to westbound eastbound traffic from Applegate to Weimar. This seems awfully suspicious to me, based on the proximity and timing.
Update: Six large air-tankers and five helicopters are hitting the fire. Evacuations are taking place and the sound of numerous explosions is attributed to propane tanks that have gone-up. The fire is expanding rapidly, fanned by the afternoon winds. One home visibly engulfed in flames.
Fire-spokesman suggested when multiple fires occur close to dense population and the freeway such as this, it could very well be a poorly maintained older vehicle with a bad catalytic-converter that spews hot embers and sets fires as it is driven down the mountain, with the driver unawares of whats taking place behind them. Thanks a lot Enviro-Weenies for your pearl-clutching insistence of expensive and yet dangerous-too “safety” equipment like the catalytic-converter that we’re all forced to adopt.
UPDATE: “The Applegate Fire” is now 20% contained with 420 acres burned up in Placer County on Highway 80 between Applegate and Wiemar (pronounced “Wee-Mur”). A single eastbound lane of Hwy 80 has been opened.
The cause is under investigation, but per KCRA.com “At least two callers reported seeing several car tires burning along the interstate’s eastbound shoulder, California Highway Patrol officer Mike Martis said.” And in another report from ABC Newss10 “There was one call of someone throwing papers that were on fire out of a vehicle.”
UPDATE DAY-3: 1400 firefighters, no additional acreage burned (still 420) but only 30% containment. All lanes of Interstate-80 open since 9PM last night. Losses so-far: 6 homes/structures. “Defensible space” has shown its good effects, with many homes saved where it was used while next-door others’ were lost where it was not. Goats are a good way to keep-down the under-story fuels.
They threw a LOT of resources very hard and very quickly at this fire, from air tankers to helicopters and men – and the weather complied with low winds and lower temperatures. We wonder what would have happened if they had attacked the King fire with the same intensity and resources – instead it “blew-up” and grew to 100,000 acres.

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About NotClauswitz

The semi-sprawling adventures of a culturally hegemonic former flat-lander and anti-idiotarian individualist, fleeing the toxic cultural smug emitted by self-satisfied lotus-eating low-land Tesla-driving floppy-hat wearing lizadroid-Leftbat Califorganic eco-tofuistas ~

10 thoughts on “Sierras on Fire

  1. To add insult to injury, cat converters haven’t been necessary to reduce emissions since about the time when they became mandated. Honda demonstrated a converter-free car meeting all requirements and asked for an exemption, but GM, who owns the patent on the thing lobbied congress to make everyone include one on their cars regardless.

    UAW money talks in Washington.

    • CA has screwed people again with the damn cats. About five years ago, they decided to get into regulating them, sort of like they do with handguns. Result, less choice available, and price near doubled. There is now only 2 cat companies selling in the state.
      One of their requirements is that the regulatory numbers have to be scribed into the body, which means that you can only have half the convertor with a heat shield. My car requires a full shield, due to the location. CA says tough shit.
      In addition, they seem to be smaller than the OEM design. My car had three engines available, a 1.8L sohc, a 2L dohc, and a turbo 2L dohc. The 1.8 = 92hp, 2L non-T = 135hp, Turbo = 200hp. I checked the various cats available from both vendors, and they all had a similar size internal matrix. One size convertor for all three. I calculated the matrix size was about 67% of the original cat.
      I was concerned that the reduced volume would have the gas moving too fast for proper reaction, but not a problem! It is so restrictive to my turbo that it revs much slower than before.
      In addition, the fuel mileage is noticeably lower. What the hell were those idiots thinking? What’s the first thing most car people would do in this case? Right, take it off after testing, and replace it with a straight pipe, or a fake cat. F’ing morons. I’m planning on selling it. I’ll let the next owner hotrod it. I can’t afford it, although I’d love to have 400-800hp at the wheels.

  2. The catalytic converter thing sounds suspect to me.
    My plausible cause theory is cigarette butts flicked out the window…which is the nanny-state’s fault as well seeing as no cars have ashtrays anymore.

    • The fact that they mentioned it as generally supporters of cats, makes me think they have run into the problem before. And it’s dry as tinder out here, with very low humidity – like way under 10%.

    • I find the idea of burning embers from a cat, coming out of the tailpipe, to be unlikely. There is always at least one muffler downstream from the cat that would stop debris.
      Fires caused by cats are usually caused by parking over weeds along the shoulder. With the wrong conditions, a cat can get hot enough to glow in the dark. That is not a common situation. However, the collapse of the matrix that can happen due to that, can plug the exit of the cat, causing the engine to stall or run so badly that they pull to the shoulder. Add tall weeds, instant fire! But, not multiple fire spots.

      Multiple spots would either be arson, or sparks/molten metal from dragging a metal object down the road. A couple years ago, a motorhome towing a car caused a large fire like that due to a flat tire on the toad. Aluminum wheel caught fire/melted after the tire disintegrated, IIRC, and lit off a number of fires on a long stretch of road.

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