4x4Wire

About you, your 4x4 and access

MUIRNet-News articles, news and information about recreation and environmental issues

John Stewart

Colorado authorizes low-speed vehicles on portions of public roads

Colorado authorizes low-speed vehicles on portions of public roads

Effective August 2009, Colorado will join 42 other states and the District of Columbia in authorizing low-speed vehicles on roads with a posted limit of 35 mph or lower. The law restricts low-speed vehicles from traveling faster than 25 mph. Previously, low-speed vehicles were permitted in Colorado only by local option.

To compare low-speed vehicle laws in all states http://www.iihs.org/laws/LowSpeedVehicles.aspx

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Continue reading
  5489 Hits
  0 Comments
John Stewart

In the warming West, climate most significant factor in fanning wildfires’ flames

Study finds that climate’s influence on production, drying of fuels—not higher temperatures or longer fire seasons alone—critical determinant of Western wildfire burned area

PORTLAND, Ore. June 26, 2009. The recent increase in area burned by wildfires in the Western United States is a product not of higher temperatures or longer fire seasons alone, but a complex relationship between climate and fuels that varies among different ecosystems, according to a study conducted by U.S. Forest Service and university scientists. The study is the most detailed examination of wildfire in the United States to date and appears in the current issue of the journal Ecological Applications.

“We found that what matters most in accounting for large wildfires in the Western United States is how climate influences the build up—or production—and drying of fuels,” said Jeremy Littell, a research scientist with the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group and lead investigator of the study. “Climate affects fuels in different ecosystems differently, meaning that future wildfire size and, likely, severity depends on interactions between climate and fuel availability and production.”

To explore climate-fire relationships, the scientists used fire data from 1916 to 2003 for 19 ecosystem types in 11 Western States to construct models of total wildfire area burned. They then compared these fire models with monthly state divisional climate data.

The study confirmed what scientists have long observed: that low precipitation and high temperatures dry out fuels and result in significant fire years, a pattern that dominates the northern and mountainous portions of the West. But it also provided new insight on the relationship between climate and fire, such as Western shrublands’ and grasslands’ requirement for high precipitation one year followed by dry conditions the next to produce fuels sufficient to result in large wildfires.

The study revealed that climate influences the likelihood of large fires by controlling the drying of existing fuels in forests and the production of fuels in more arid ecosystems. The influence of climate leading up to a fire season depends on whether the ecosystem is more forested or more like a woodland or shrubland.

 “These data tell us that the effectiveness of fuel reductions in reducing area burned may vary in different parts of the country,” said David L. Peterson, a research biologist with the Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station and one of the study’s authors. “With this information, managers can design treatments appropriate for specific climate-fire relationships and prioritize efforts where they can realize the most benefit.”

Findings from the study suggest that, as the climate continues to warm, more area can be expected to burn, at least in northern portions of the West, corroborating what researchers have projected in previous studies. In addition, cooler, wetter areas that are relatively fire-free today, such as the west side of the Cascade Range, may be more prone to fire by mid-century if climate projections hold and weather becomes more extreme.

To read the study online, visit http://www.esajournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1890/07-1183.1

# # #

  4878 Hits
  0 Comments
John Stewart

EPA Denies E15 Waiver for Pre-2001 Cars, Permits Use in Newer Cars

Consumers will not see E15 at the pump any time soon.  The EPA must first approve regulations on how gas stations will label their pumps to avoid consumer misfueling.  This will take months.  Furthermore, there is no obligation that gasoline retailers market the fuel.  In fact, some retailers oppose the fuel over concern that they could be held liable if E15 damages a vehicle.  The gas stations and distributors may also need to invest in new storage tanks, hoses and other equipment.

The SAN will continue to oppose E15 until there are conclusive scientific findings that demonstrate that it will not harm automobiles of any age as a result of corrosion or other chemical incompatibilities.  SEMA represents thousands of companies that market products for these vehicles and, through its SEMA Action Network, millions of enthusiasts who buy and operate these automobiles.   Questions/comments may be directed to Steve McDonald at [email protected]

 

  3994 Hits
  0 Comments
John Stewart

President to Sign Proclamation Designating Fort Ord National Monument

“Already, over 100,000 people come every year to enjoy all that Fort Ord has to offer. President Obama’s action, with the strong support of the people of California, will ensure that this special place continues to thrive for generations to come. At the same time, the creation of this new national monument is good for tourism, recreation, and local businesses that cater to the tens of thousands of people who come to experience this remarkable place,” said Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar.

President Obama first used the Antiquities Act in November 2011 to designate the Fort Monroe National Monument, a former Army post integral to the history of slavery, the Civil War, and the U.S. military. First exercised by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 to designate Devils Tower National Monument in Wyoming, the authority of the Antiquities Act has been used by 16 presidents since 1906 to protect unique natural and historic features in America, such as the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty, Colorado’s Canyons of the Ancients, and the Papahānaumokuākea marine protected area of the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Today, Fort Ord provides exceptional recreational opportunities to over 100,000 visitors annually, offering 86 miles of hiking, biking, and horseback riding trails.  The area is an economic engine for the community and serves as a key venue for the annual Sea Otter Classic, one of the largest bicycling events in the world with approximately 10,000 athletes and 50,000 spectators every year.

Nearly two and a half centuries ago, the area was traversed by a group of settlers led by Spanish Lieutenant-Colonel Juan Bautista de Anza, whose diaries were used to identify the route of the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail.  The area’s open, contiguous landscape owes its undeveloped state largely to its role as a U.S. Army facility.  From World War I through the early 1990s, the area’s rugged terrain served as a military training ground for as many as a million and a half American soldiers.  

The Fort Ord National Monument will be managed by the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM).  The BLM currently manages approximately 7,200 acres of the area, and the Army will transfer approximately 7,450 acres after clean-up under an existing base closure agreement between the Army and the BLM.  The BLM will continue to work closely with its many community, state, and Federal partners to effectively manage the new national monument, which will become part of the Bureau’s 27-million-acre National Landscape Conservation System.

The Department of the Interior lands support $363 billion in economic activity and 2.2 million jobs annually, with BLM public lands in California alone hosting more than 10 million recreation visitors a year.  This translates to an estimated contribution of $980 million to local California economies and 7,600 recreation-related jobs. 


###

 

  4263 Hits
  0 Comments
John Stewart

Little Change in Drought Over 60 Years

A new paper out in the current issue of Nature finds little evidence to support claims that drought has increased globally over the past 60 years. The authors write:

Drought is expected to increase in frequency and severity in the future as a result of climate change, mainly as a consequence of decreases in regional precipitation but also because of increasing evaporation driven by global warming. Previous assessments of historic changes in drought over the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries indicate that this may already be happening globally. In particular, calculations of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) show a decrease in moisture globally since the 1970s with a commensurate increase in the area in drought that is attributed, in part, to global warming. The simplicity of the PDSI, which is calculated from a simple water-balance model forced by monthly precipitation and temperature data, makes it an attractive tool in large-scale drought assessments, but may give biased results in the context of climate change6. Here we show that the previously reported increase in global drought is overestimated because the PDSI uses a simplified model of potential evaporation that responds only to changes in temperature and thus responds incorrectly to global warming in recent decades. More realistic calculations, based on the underlying physical principles that take into account changes in available energy, humidity and wind speed, suggest that there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.

What does this mean?

Original author: Roger


Read More

  4470 Hits
  0 Comments
4x4Wire.com

OutdoorWire, 4x4Wire, JeepWire, TrailTalk, MUIRNet-News, and 4x4Voice are all trademarks and publications of OutdoorWire, Inc. and MUIRNet Consulting. Copyright (c) 1999-2019 OutdoorWire, Inc and MUIRNet Consulting - All Rights Reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without express written permission. You may link freely to this site, but no further use is allowed without the express written permission of the owner of this material. All corporate trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

OutdoorWire, 4x4Wire, JeepWire, TrailTalk, MUIRNet-News, and 4x4Voice are all trademarks and publications of OutdoorWire, Inc. and MUIRNet Consulting. Copyright (c) 1999-2019 OutdoorWire, Inc and MUIRNet Consulting - All Rights Reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without express written permission. You may link freely to this site, but no further use is allowed without the express written permission of the owner of this material. All corporate trademarks are the property of their respective owners.