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Mikhail Krasnyansky, PhD, retired professor

The Horrific Hurricanes and Wildfires Warn America and the Whole World

Ecological catastrophes are very real phenomena, but all of them, unlike conversations about GLOBAL warming, are absolutely LOCAL. Only during 2017-2018, the horrific hurricanes in the USA and wildfires (in California) destroyed about 200,000 houses, killed more 120 people and brought damage about $500 billion, and wildfires in California destroyed a territory of more than 2500 km2(600,000 acres).Also, in Siberia (Russia) in the summer of 2019, fires engulfed about 3 million hectares of forest. Fiercer weather and worsening wildfires drove more than 20 million people from their homes over the last decade. In Australia, in 2019, wildfires killed at least 27 people and more than one billion animals. At least 10 million hectares of forests, more than 3 thousand private houses and over 4 thousand office and utility buildings burned down. Damage exceeded 5 billion USD.

Climate change is already deeply affecting what’s seen as the storage facility for any excess heat generated by a warming world. Hotter oceans are threatening marine biodiversity and fisheries. There're rapidly melting land's and sea ice fueling more severe storms and flooding. In addition, when water is heated, the solubility of carbon dioxide decreases there, and CO2 is emitted from the World Ocean waters into the Earth’s atmosphere additionally warming the Earth’s atmosphere.

Undoubtedly, mankind should move towards replacing fossil fuels (all coal and oil, partly gas) with “green” energy (sunlight, wind, water flows), but this will be done by the market (surely and soon!), but not by politicians or international officials.

Therefore, high-level politicians and officials should not get into the debate about “global warming” or “climate change” (let's leave it for scientists!). Also, maybe, caution should be exercised when taking money out of the U.S. budget and investing them in international funds where international bureaucrats will spend them on fight against “it is not known what”. It is necessary to fight not “global warming” with help international clerks, but with its consequences - for every government in its own countries! The main strategy must be ADAPTATION. These are large-scale measures that will help mitigate the effects of climate change on ecosystems, people, nations, and global economy.

But all of us must be REALLY prepared to the increased number and magnitude of catastrophic hurricanes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes, and other natural cataclysms, and hence, to the explosive growth of the spend out of the state budget on liquidation of consequences of natural disasters.But this is not enough. The U.S. does not have new modern technologies for the prevention (first of all!) and elimination of large-scale natural disasters and they need to be urgently developed.

For efficient prevention of natural disasters, reduction of damage and quick assistance to the victims, it is necessary to create a Natural Disaster Fund (NDF) $500 billion. Of course, it is natural to ask a question, “Where will we obtain such a huge amount of money?” The answer is: formerly this money we gather and spent many times AFTER a hurricanes or wildfires, whereas I suggest spending theirs ONLY ONCE, but BEFORE a hurricanes or wildfires!

This Fund must be spent for following actions:

1) To survey the riverbeds, dams and other hydro-technical objects and structures in flood-prone states; to produce complete design documentation for repairing old dams and constructing new ones, for deepening the river beds, for creating underground canals (with help of large-diameter pipes) and pumping stations for pumping water from flooded areas; fulfill other necessary hydro-technical projects; then to start phased implementation of all these projects.

2) To allow ONLY "hurricane-resistant" private houses and buildings to be built in the hurricane-prone states; in California and other fire-prone states to build the houses (including privet houses) that are not only seismically stable (these are already there), but also fire-resistant (using modern materials and technologies, for example, use large "3D-printers" for the rapid construction concrete and iron-concrete houses.)

3) Electrical power cables in all these areas should be laid exclusively underground – Fig. 1 (in watertight or heat-resistant shells), but not above the ground on metallic and even wood pillars, so that every hurricane or forest fire does not leave millions of people without electrical power. (In addition, worn high-voltage power lines are often themselves responsible for forest fires. For example, California-based Pacific Gas and Electric (PG & E) was found guilty for fires in California.

Colt Army 1860 Fig. 1. Comparison of a conventional high voltage power line (1) and cryogenic superconducting underground cable (2)
(distances in meters (m) indicate the size of the sanitary zones (“exclusion zones”)

4) All US rescue services should be sufficiently equipped with rescue gears and machines for floods and fires: capacious boats and inflatable rafts, fire-fighting helicopters and fire-fighting aircrafts with large carrying capacity, sufficient supply of extinguishing powders and foam generators, etc. Have available and use "building 3D-printers" for the rapid construction of temporary concrete dams and bridges in the disaster area.

5) In the each of the US area that have an increased natural disaster risk to have a plan for the instant organized evacuation of the population from the natural disaster zones using buses of large capacity (and ample reserve fleet of buses); excessive using of personal vehicles will lead to long miles of jams and make it impossible to evacuate the population in a timely fashion.

6) The people who live in places of the increased danger for hurricanes, floods, wildfires, earthquakes must have an insurance for property and life necessarily.
The possible additional measures for wildfires:

7) California should be sufficiently completed by aircrafts and helicopters with large load capacity for fire-fighting. The problem is that the ALL area of the fire must be CONTINUOUSLY covered by a fire extinguishing agent (powder, foam, water). To do this, California needs to have several squadrons of firefighting planes (several tens), so that when the last plane will drop the fire extinguishing agent on the flame, the first one would have time to recharge and to arrival to the fire. There need non-stop “aviation fire extinguishing carousel" over the wildfire! It is best to convert old military planes C-130 ("Hercules") into firefighting aircraft. It will also require a significant increase of firefighters' staff, including pilots.

8) It is advisable to explore the possibility of using self-hardening flame retardant foam to extinguish wildfires (especially for “ground” flame).

9) Maybe, to suggest to geneticists to create the new sorts of trees with the increased fire resistance (perhaps, on the basis of Curatella Americana, Sequoia, Eucalyptus, "Iron tree".)

10) “Lockheed Martin Corp.” proposes to create new forests and restores the burned out forests using “seed bombs” (Fig. 2). It can be done using the military airplanes C-130 (also known as the "Hercules") for mass planting trees by bombing. The possibilities are amazing. They can fly on 1,000 ft at 130 knots planting more than 3,000 capsules a minute in a pattern across the landscape and each capsule contains a sapling.

Seed bomb
Fig. 2. "Seed bomb" (inside container are capsules with seeds) )

11) The Natural Disaster Fund (NDF) can declare financing of startups for new methods of fighting with natural disasters and their consequences.

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Once again: In the present time, AFTER EACH fire or hurricane, all money is allocated from the budgets to compensate for the destruction and victims. I propose to spend money ONLY ONCE, but BEFORE wildfires or hurricanes which will occur!

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