无法扑灭的大火:加州山火预示着怎样的未来

e697a0e6b395e68991e781ade79a84e5a4a7e781abefbc9ae58aa0e5b79ee5b1b1e781abe9a284e7a4bae79d80e6808ee6a0b7e79a84e69caae69da5 • 无法扑灭的大火:加州山火预示着怎样的未来 加州山火

無法撲滅的大火:加州山火預示著怎樣的未來

To Save Lake Tahoe, They Spared No Expense. The Fire Came Over the Ridge Anyway.

週二,一名消防員正在加州邁耶斯搶救一處房屋。
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. — They sent thousands of firefighters, 25 helicopters and an arsenal of more than 400 fire engines and 70 water trucks. Yet the fire still advanced.
加州南塔霍湖——他們派出數千名消防員、25架直升機、400多輛消防車和70輛水車。然而火勢仍在蔓延。
They dropped retardant chemicals through an ash-filled sky and bulldozed trees and brush to slow the march of the flames through the steep and rugged terrain of the Sierra Nevada. Yet the fire still advanced.
他們在布滿灰塵的天空中投放阻燃劑,剷平樹木和灌木叢,以減緩火焰在內華達塞拉山脈崎嶇地帶的蔓延。然而火勢仍在推進。
Bursting across a granite ridge into the Lake Tahoe basin, the Caldor fire now threatens tens of thousands of homes and hotels that ring the lake.
卡爾多大火(Caldor fire)衝破花崗岩山脊,進入塔霍湖盆地,現在威脅到環湖的數萬民居和酒店。
On Tuesday, the smoke-choked streets of South Lake Tahoe, the most populous city on the lake, were deserted, save for police patrol cars and an occasional convoy of fire vehicles. Thousands of residents and tourists had been evacuated the day before.
週二,湖邊人口最多的城市南塔霍湖的街道上空空蕩蕩、濃煙瀰漫,只有警察的巡邏車和偶爾出現的消防車隊。數以千計的居民和遊客在前一天已被疏散。
The lake, renowned for its bright blue hues and the evergreen forests that surround it, was smothered in a slate of sickly orange-gray haze. On the Nevada side of the border, which has not yet been evacuated, one industry was still limping along: A trickle of gamblers sat at slot machines to the whooshing sound of large air purifiers that attempted to keep out the pungent smoke. The air quality index was nearing 500, a level considered hazardous.
這片湖泊以其明亮的藍色調和周圍環繞的常綠森林而聞名,如今被一層令人作嘔的橘灰色薄霧籠罩。在尚未疏散的州界內華達一側,有一個行業仍在艱難運行:一小群賭徒坐在老虎機前,伴隨著大型空氣凈化器的嗖嗖聲,這些凈化器試圖阻擋刺鼻的煙霧。空氣質量指數接近500,屬於危險水平。
Battling the Caldor fire has been humbling and harrowing for California firefighters. Experts believe that the challenge is a cautionary tale for future megafires in the West and lays bare a certain futility in trying to fully control the most aggressive wildfires.
對加州的消防員來說,與卡爾多大火的戰鬥讓他們感到無力和痛苦。專家們認為,這一挑戰是對西部地區未來特大火災的警示,也表明試圖完全控制最嚴重的野火在某種程度上是徒勞的。
“No matter how many people you have out on these fires, it’s not a large enough work force to put the fire out,” said Malcolm North, a fire expert with the U.S. Forest Service and a professor at the University of California, Davis.
「不管投入多少人滅火,都不足以把火撲滅,」加州大學戴維斯分校(University of California, Davis)教授、美國林務局消防專家馬爾科姆·諾斯(Malcolm North)說:
“You can save particular areas or particular homes,” Professor North said. “But the fire is pretty much going to do what it’s going to do until the weather shifts.”
「你可以拯救特定的地區或特定的住宅,」諾斯說。「但在天氣變化之前,大火基本上會繼續燃燒下去。」
加州斯托伯裡市,聖馬科斯消防隊員在燃燒的小屋中。
加州斯托伯裡市,聖馬科斯消防隊員在燃燒的小屋中。
加州南太浩湖疏散後的交通。
加州南太浩湖疏散後的交通。 JOSH EDELSON/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE — GETTY IMAGES
On Monday, propelled by strong winds, the fire crested a granite ridge that officials had hoped would serve as a natural barrier. Embers leapfrogged past firefighting crews and descended toward the valley floor just miles from South Lake Tahoe. By early Tuesday, the fire had taken hold in the Tahoe basin. Stands of pine ignited by flying embers were fully engulfed in flames, casting a bright orange glow into the night sky.
週一,在強風推動下,大火越過了官員們原本希望能作為天然屏障的花崗岩山脊。餘燼飄過消防隊員,向下墜落到離南塔霍湖只有幾英里的谷底。週二早些時候,大火已經蔓延到塔霍盆地。一排排松樹被飛來的餘燼點燃,被火焰完全吞沒,在夜空下發出明亮的橙色光芒。
It was only the second time, officials said, that a wildfire that began on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada crossed into the eastern side. The first was also this summer: the Dixie fire, the second largest in California history. No deaths have been reported in either fire.
官員們表示,這是內華達山脈西麓開始的野火第二次蔓延到東麓。第一次同樣發生在今年夏天,那就是迪克西大火(Dixie fire),是加州歷史上第二大火災。兩起火災均未造成人員死亡。
The authorities say about 27,000 firefighters were battling blazes across the country, about 15,000 of them in California. All national forests in California will be closed by Tuesday night. Hundreds of soldiers and airmen and several military aircraft have been sent by the National Guard. But the resources are no match for the ferocious blazes, which continue to outpace firefighters and explode across the state.
當局表示,大約2.7萬名消防員在全國各地滅火,其中大約1.5萬人在加州。加州所有國家森林將於週二晚上關閉。國民警衛隊派出了數百名士兵、飛行員和幾架軍用飛機。但這些資源無法與大火抗衡,大火蔓延的速度超過了消防員的速度,並在全州範圍內爆發。
卡爾多大火已經燒過了超過19萬英畝,只有16%的火勢得到了控制。
卡爾多大火已經燒過了超過19萬英畝,只有16%的火勢得到了控制。
消防員穿行於加州邁耶斯附近的火災現場之間。
消防員穿行於加州邁耶斯附近的火災現場之間。
The blazes in Sierra forests have exposed the domino effects of climate change on firefighting challenges: Frequent heat waves and overall higher temperatures have desiccated West Coast flora, making it more vulnerable to large fires. Droughts have weakened trees, encouraging insect infestations that have contributed to the deaths of close to 150 million trees. This creates more fuel for fires.
塞拉森林裡的大火暴露了氣候變化對消防挑戰的多米諾骨牌效應:頻繁的熱浪和整體更高的溫度導致西海岸的植物乾燥,令其更容易受到大型火災的影響。乾旱令樹木虛弱,助長了蟲害,導致近1.5億棵樹死亡。這為火災提供了更多燃料。
Scientists say there is also a correlation between global warming and the increased wind conditions that have fanned fierce wildfires across the state. And they point to a need for better forest management, thinning out some of the thickest woods.
科學家們表示,全球暖化與不斷加劇的風況之間也存在關聯,這些風況已經在該州各地引發了猛烈的野火。他們指出,需要更好的森林管理,使一些最茂密的森林變得稀疏一些。
The chaotic way these megafires spread was on display in the hills above South Lake Tahoe on Monday. Kyle Hukkanen was leading a crew of 12 inmate firefighters armed with axes, shovels and chain saws. They bounded down a steep hillside of granite boulders and evergreen trees until they reached a spot where wisps of smoke were rising from the ground.
週一,南塔霍湖上方的山丘上,可以看到大火蔓延帶來的混亂。凱爾·胡卡寧(Kyle Hukkanen)帶著12名攜帶斧頭、鏟子和鏈鋸的囚犯消防隊員。他們沿著花崗岩巨石和常青樹環繞的陡峭山坡一路狂奔,來到一個地面上冒出縷縷煙霧的地方。
They dug and sprayed the smoldering fire with water before ascending back to their idling truck. “This is not good,” Mr. Hukkanen said as gusts of wind fed the spot fire on the hillsides. The radio crackled with reports of spotting farther down the mountain toward South Lake Tahoe, and Mr. Hukkanen and his crew disappeared down a smoke-shrouded road.
他們挖掘、洒水,熄滅那些燃燒的火苗,然後上坡回到空轉的卡車上。「情況不妙,」胡卡寧說,因為陣風使山坡上的零星火勢更加猛烈。無線電裡噼裡啪啦地傳來了南塔霍湖方向的山下還有零星火勢的消息,胡卡寧和團隊消失在一條煙霧繚繞的路上。
Fire specialists say some firefighting tools are appropriate on a smaller scale but outmatched by the huge fires of recent years.
消防專家表示,一些消防工具在火災規模較小的情況下是合適的,但在近年來的大火中卻顯得不夠。
In the hills and gullies where the Caldor fire has burned 190,000 acres over the past two weeks, helicopters dropped large buckets of water — thousands of gallons at a time — but they hardly seemed a match.
在過去的兩週裡,卡爾多大火燒過了19萬英畝的山地和溝壑,直升機向這些地方投下了大量的水——每次數千加侖——但似乎根本就不夠。
加州消防局隊長凱爾·胡卡寧正從山坡上往下搜尋邁耶斯附近的火災現場。
加州消防局隊長凱爾·胡卡寧正從山坡上往下搜尋邁耶斯附近的火災現場。
加州雙橋大火冒出的煙霧。
加州雙橋大火冒出的煙霧。
“That’s great for protecting a neighborhood, but when you think about the size of a 750,000-acre fire, that’s nothing,” Professor North, the U.S. Forest Service expert, said of dropping water or retardant in large swaths of forest.
「用來保護一個社區的效果很好,但是對於一場75萬英畝的大火,這根本不算什麼,」美國林務局專家諾斯在談到向大片森林澆水或噴灑阻燃劑時說。
He and others added that the Sisyphean task of fire containment pointed to a desperate need for better mitigation.
他和其他人還說,遏制火災的西西弗斯式任務表明,更好的緩解措施勢在必行。
Controlled burns that embrace Indigenous methods to use “good” fire to fight destructive megafires have become an increasingly accepted method in recent years, but experts say the state has a lot of catching up to do.
近年來,採用原住民的方法,用「好」火來對抗破壞性大火的控制燃燒措施,已經成為越來越被接受的方法,但專家表示,該州還有很多工作要做。
On the receiving end of the worsening blazes are the residents who wonder where, if anywhere, will be safe from wildfire.
在不斷惡化的大火中,承受後果的是居民們,他們想知道有沒有地方能夠逃離野火,如果有,是在哪裡。
Among the evacuees from South Lake Tahoe were Darren Cobrae, a real estate investor, and his partner, Stephanie Cothern, who was driving the couple’s car toward the Nevada state line.
從南塔霍湖撤離的人中有房地產投資者達倫·科布雷(Darren Cobrae)和伴侶史蒂芬妮·科瑟恩(Stephanie Cothern),後者開著兩人的車駛向內華達州的邊界。
Inside were bags of clothing, two large parrots and three dogs, Banana, Freddy and Copper.
車裡裝著幾袋衣服,兩隻大鸚鵡和三隻狗——香蕉(Banana)、弗雷迪(Freddy)和科珀(Copper)。
消防員保護邁耶斯的一戶人家。
消防員保護邁耶斯的一戶人家。
工作人員沿著加州回聲峰附近太浩盆地的50號高速公路行進。
工作人員沿著加州回聲峰附近太浩盆地的50號高速公路行進。
Mr. Cobrae said he moved to South Lake Tahoe from Southern California, where his home was nearly burned in a wildfire in 2007.
科布雷說,他是從南加州搬到了南塔霍湖的。2007年,他的家在南加州的一場野火中差點被燒毀。
“I figured I would be safe in this city,” Mr. Cobrae said. “And now this,” he said, pointing to a sky thickening with smoke.
「我以為我在這個城市會很安全,」科布雷說。「現在成了這樣,」他指著煙霧瀰漫的天空說。

Thomas Fuller是《紐約時報》舊金山分社社長。在搬往加利福尼亞州前,他曾在歐洲和東南亞等地的40多個國家,為時報和《國際先驅論壇報》進行報導。歡迎在TwitterFacebook上關注他。

Livia Albeck-Ripka是時報駐加利福尼亞記者,她曾在澳洲分社報導。歡迎在Twitter上關注她:@livia_ar

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