Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Guardian's Jonathan Jones sees a picture of an Australian family not dying in a fire; imagines he's seeing the CO2-induced "end of civilisation"

Wildfires: an astonishing photograph of survivors in an age of catastrophe | Jonathan Jones -
It is such a flame-seared image, we might be seeing the end of civilisation – and a family tough enough to outlive it.

What else does the picture tell? As temperatures soared to burning point in Tasmania, the Met Office in Britain issued a downward-revised model of its predicted global temperature rises to 2017. Climate change sceptics leapt on the figures – and their supposed news-burial on 24 December – while climate scientists rushed to explain them. On the ground, the climate seems all askew. From the waters of Hurricane Sandy to the fires of Tasmania, the results of global warming seem all too apparent. Scientific evidence is apparently more debatable. Perhaps infinitely debatable.
US: Top 25 Wildfires of All Time
Top National Wildfires of All Time

The Great Peshtigo Fire
In 1871, the worst recorded forest fire in North American history raged through Northeastern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. Known as The Great Peshtigo Fire, it destroyed millions of dollars’ worth of property and took between 1,200 and 2,400 lives. Ironically enough, it also took place at the same as another famous fire in Chicago found further down the list.
Cloquet Fire
In 1918, Americans were being killed in World War I in addition to a deadly Spanish flu epidemic. However in the same year, wildfires in the forests of Minnesota killed 453 and seriously burned 85 others. Ten towns were completely destroyed. The fire was deemed the fault of railroad due to sparks caused by trains.
The Great Hinckley Fire of 1894
This fire tore through the town of Hinckley, Minnesota after a dry summer season. The fire might best be remembered for the heroic acts of the train engineers which were ferreting away survivors as fast as the trains could take them. When it was over, an estimated 418 were dead in an area of about 1,400.

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