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Texas Wildfires Are Ongoing—Facts About Wildfires

There are major wildfires taking place in all over Texas, in other plains states, and in portions of Mexico.

(Above– The current Texas Wildfires as seen from the U. of Texas owned McDonald Observatory in the Davis Mountains of West Texas.)

(Blogger’s Note 9/7/11—This post is from April. Here is a link to the current wildfires in Texas. If you review this post, you’ll see that there are facts about wildfires in general that are useful to understanding what is taking place.)

Update 4/22/11–Texas Governor Rick Perry has asked people to pray for rain.

Update 4/21-11—Cooler and more humid weather is helping firefighters.

Update 4/20/11—This report from the morning of the 20th says that fires are burning in every part of Texas

Update 4/20/11—People in England are reading about the fires.  

Update 4/19/11—As of the evening of the 19th, the wildfires are moving towards the Dallas-Fort Worth area.   

Update 4/19/11–More and more fires in Texas.

Update 4/18/11—Here is an overview of the situation in Texas from the Abilene Reporter-News.     

Update–4/17/11—Despite his ceaseless criticisms of the federal government, Texas Governor Rick Perry has asked for federal help with the fires from President Barack Obama.

Update–4/17/11–New fires and gusty winds to spread those fires are the unfortunate conditions in parts of Texas.

Update–4/16/11–With the fires also taking place in Mexico, the U.S. has sent some airplanes to help our neighbors out.

Update–4/16/11—The fires have cost a 105 year old Texas man the homes he grew up in and lived in.

Update–4/15/11–Here is a report about the fires from late in the evening of the 15th. This report includes the sad news of the death of a firefighter. 

Update—4/15/11—While some fires are mostly contained, other are starting or rekindling.

Update —4/15/11 —The Texas Forest Service has ongoing reports of wildfires in Texas. 

Here are a number of facts about wildfires from National Geographic.

From National Geographic—

There are three conditions that need to be present in order for a wildfire to burn, which firefighters refer to as the fire triangle: fuel, oxygen, and a heat source. Fuel is any flammable material surrounding a fire, including trees, grasses, brush, even homes. The greater an area’s fuel load, the more intense the fire. Air supplies the oxygen a fire needs to burn. Heat sources help spark the wildfire and bring fuel to temperatures hot enough to ignite. Lightning, burning campfires or cigarettes, hot winds, and even the sun can all provide sufficient heat to spark a wildfire. Although four out of five wildfires are started by people, nature is usually more than happy to help fan the flames.”

Here is a fact sheet from the Centers For Disease Control that talks about the potential health effects of wildfires and how you can protect yourself from these risks.

Here is the FEMA web page on wildfires.

Quite aptly, April is Wildfire Awareness Month in our nation.

As of the afternoon of Wednesday, April 13, Big Bend Now reports that while some of the fires in Texas are contained to a degree, there are still a number of concerns.

The Mineral Wells (Tx) Index has a very good April 13 report on where the different fires are taking place in Texas.

Marfa Public Radio is keeping folks up to date.

Because conditions are so dry in much of Texas, there are, as of April 13, 194 Texas counties with burn bans in effect.

If you are the one who starts a fire in your community because you have broken burn ban rules, you will forever be seen by your neighbors as the town dumbass.

Texas is so large that it can be difficult to grasp where Texas news events are located. While I’ve lived in Texas for 13 years and have explored at least some of the state, these fires are hitting areas of Texas I’ve never visited.

The excellent Handbook of Texas Online is a great resource to learn all about the state. These are the folks who publish the Texas Almanac. The Almanac is another great was to find out about Texas. You should buy a copy.

I’ve long been of the view that many of problems of urban Texas—I live in Houston— have much in common with the problems of rural Texas. I’d be certain that the good folks in West Texas who have suffered from these fires will need the help of individual citizens, charitable groups, and of government to recover.

The Jeff Davis County Relief Fund in Fort Davis, Texas is taking donations to help people.

Here is the link to the FEMA Fire Management Assistance Grant Program which helps state, local, and tribal governments recover from wildfire damage.

My friend Harold Cook who very familiar with this part of Texas–and with of all of Texas for that matter–has written about the fires at his blog Letters From Texas. The great Texas political blog Juanita Jean has also posted on this important topic.

April 14, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Paralytic Shellfish Toxin Is Bad–Links To Safe Shellfish Consumption

Here is a picture I took a few days ago of a sign posted at a Seattle beach.

This type of sign can be found at beaches across the nation and around the world.

I’d say that paralytic shellfish toxin is likely bad.

Here is what the Washington State Department of Health has to say about paralytic shellfish toxin.

It’ll make you real sick.

Here is a more complete sheet on marine toxins from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC offers guidelines on safely eating shellfish.

Here is the link to the Shellfish in the News section of The National Shellfisheries Association.

Here is the link to the Haskin Shellfish Research Laboratory at Rutgers University.

It is important to note that many of  these problems  come from natural causes and not manmade pollution.

Though anybody who has lived near large bodies of water is mindful of sewage overruns and industrial pollution.

July 26, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Please Slow Down And Be Careful On All The Highways Of Life—Seek To Avoid Automobile Crashes

This morning I drove past a fatal car wreck. I saw the aftermath of the incident at around 5:45 this morning.

(Above–Not the crash I saw this morning, but close enough.)

I’m reasonably certain that this is the fifth or sixth time I’ve seen a fatal wreck in the 11 1/2 years I’ve lived in Houston.

Here is the Houston Chronicle story about the death. I’m avoiding the word accident because alcohol may have been involved.

A man driving a pick-up truck was possibly out drunk driving at 5 AM.

The name of the person who died was Krysta Rodriguez. She was a passenger in the car hit by the alleged drunk driver. Seeing the car that Ms. Rodriguez was riding in, it is not difficult to imagine that she was killed. The car was smashed.

Here is what the Centers for Disease Control says about automobile crashes in the United States—

“In the United States, motor vehicle–related injuries are the leading cause of death for people ages 1–34, and nearly 5 million people sustain injuries that require an emergency department visit. The economic impact is also notable: motor vehicle crashes cost around $230 billion in 2000.”

The CDC  offers a number of suggestions to help reduce drunk driving in the U.S.

Many of these recommended measures involve tough enforcement of drunk driving laws of and strong punishments for those convicted of drunk driving.

Here are many facts and much information from the CDC about safe driving.

It was raining this morning. When I saw the wreck, I wondered if the rain had played a part.

Here are tips for driving in the rain from Edmunds.com.

Here are tips for driving in snow and ice from The Weather Channel.

The Weather Channel says that the best advice for driving in winter weather is to avoid doing so when possible.

Two Thanksgivings ago, a young person I knew was killed in a wreck while driving from her holiday break in Houston back to school at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

This young person was a senior at Baylor and an honors student.

In her death notice in the newspaper and in the program distributed at the memorial service, her parents wrote— “…slow down and be careful on all the highways of life.”

This is good advice.

Please do slow down and be careful on all the highways of life. Please give some thought to how you drive and to the terrible things that can happen on the road.

February 11, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Despite Seccession Talk, Texas Governor Perry Asks For Federal Help On Swine Flu

Despite talk of secession, Texas Governor Rick Perry has asked for flu medicine  from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He wants these drugs to help deal with possible Swine Flu cases from Texas. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention are part of the federal government.

What? The Republic of Texas does not have thousands of doses of this medicine on hand in its science labs?

(Here is an explanation of Swine Flu with handwashing tips.) 

From the Associated Press

Gov. Rick Perry has asked for 37,430 courses of anti-viral medicine from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention because of the swine flu outbreak…..As a precautionary measure, I have requested that medication be on hand in Texas to help curb the spread of swine flu by helping those with both confirmed and suspected cases of this swine flu virus, as well as health care providers who may have come in contact with these patients,” Perry said in a prepared statement.”

Here is what the Governor said two weeks ago—

“Texas is a unique place. When we came into the union in 1845, one of the issues was that we would be able to leave if we decided to do that,” Perry said. “My hope is that America and Washington in particular pays attention. We’ve got a great union. There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, who knows what may come of that

Governor Perry knows that in the end there are many issues that only the federal government of the United States of America has the ability to address.

April 27, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Texas | , , | 1 Comment