Fortunately for firefighters, Santa Ana winds that were expected
over the weekend never arrived, but the Day Fire is yet to be
contained. As of Wednesday morning, it had burned 150,000 acres and
was only 42 percent contained, with 60 miles of fireline still to
be built. The wildfire escaped its northwestern perimeter, burning
barns and a cabin in Ventura county’s Lockwood Valley Community,
where firefighters with air support saved dozens of homes.

It’s getting really, really hot, researchers said last week. A
study conducted by the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
found that global temperatures are nearly the highest they’ve been
in the past million years. Researchers found that the earth has
been warming rapidly in the last three decades, and linked the
phenomenon in part to human activity. If the earth warms another
two or three degrees Celsius, the average global temperature will
be comparable to that in the Middle Pliocene, a period 3 million
years ago in which sea levels were estimated to have been about 80
feet higher than they are today.

Nobel Prize-winning physicist Walter Kohn joined Mayor Marty
Blum, Councilmember Das Williams, the Community Environmental
Council, and the Sierra Club in endorsing Proposition 87, the
statewide ballot initiative that would raise $4 billion for
alternative energy development over the next 10 years by raising
taxes on oil companies. The oil industry has spent about $40
billion trying to defeat the measure, arguing it would increase gas
prices, discourage domestic production, and heighten America’s
dependence on foreign oil – which would apply only to oil produced
in California – Williams countered the tax which would have little
impact on prices because so much of the oil used to make gasoline
comes from elsewhere. “But if we can reduce gasoline consumption in
the seventh largest economy in the world by 25 percent … that would
help push gas prices down,” he said.

The final application of Naled, scheduled for September 26, was
cancelled. No more Oriental fruit flies were found after three were
caught in a Hope Ranch monitoring trap in late July. Anti-Naled
activists were primed to demonstrate once more against using the
pesticide on neighborhood streets.

The Four Seasons Biltmore was one of five winners of the Santa
Barbara County Green Award this year. The hotel was recognized for
replacing energy-intensive lighting with LED lights, among other
environmental measures. The four additional winners included NWA,
Inc. Landscape Architecture and Construction – which features
biodiesel-powered vehicles and graywater drip irrigation – and Van
Atta Associates landscape architects, who use drought-tolerant
natives and rainwater collected from the roof.

A project is underway on Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa islands to
eradicate two weeds, the rare Solanum elaeagnifolium and the even
rarer Circium ochrocentrum. The latter, which is toxic to cattle,
is found nowhere else in Santa Barbara County aside from the
islands, and the county’s Agricultural Commission hopes to keep it
that way. Solanum is not toxic, but still a pest. The Agricultural
Commissioner’s office will employ the nonprofit Channel Islands
Restoration to help search for the weeds.


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