Wind Facilities Sparking Wildland Fires

As if climate change-induced drought and aridity were not enough of a stress on our desert ecosystems, industrial wind energy facilities creeping across our wildlands are proving to pose a serious fire risk.  As KCET and Friends of Mojave reported late last week, a wind turbine failure caused a fire near Tehachapi, on the western edge of the Mojave Desert.   And last month, an older wind turbine in the desert of Riverside County and along the foothills of the San Bernardino National Forest sparked a fire that luckily only burned about 367 acres before it was extinguished.   The fires are yet another sign that the wind industry and wildlands do not coexist harmoniously, as some environmental groups have suggested.

Comments

  1. Absolutely right on with this post!

    I have seen a turbine blazing away near Hwy 62 as I headed up towards Joshua Tree. Luckily the never ending wind there was not blowing at that moment and the area was spared from fiery conflagration.

    You don't even need a telephoto lens to notice that on the vast majority of turbines in the area, and there are thousands it seems, there is a black streak flowing down from the motor housings and onto the round towers. This can be observed even on the newer ones. Combine the possible low oil situation with the dirt and dust blowing on the back of the gale force winds there- this is a prescription for fire disaster- the bearings freeze up suddenly and a fire starts, which can then spread to the tinder dry desert vegetation, with the winds forcing the fire toward Palm Springs and beyond.

    My question is how can we see that evidence, and the environmental groups and regulators supporting the wind industry, not?

    My guess is that the money and endowments flowing from the industrialists to those same enviro groups causes them to, as the great Nelson did, turn a "blind eye" to the warning signals.

    Nelson, as we know, emerged a hero and victorious; this time the desert may be the loser in this battle.

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