Archive for the 'fires' Category

California Gov. On Drought, Wildfires: ‘Humanity Is On A Collision Course With Nature’

Photo retrieved from: www.thinkprogress.org

“California Governor Jerry Brown linked his state’s severe drought and wildfires to climate change on Sunday, saying California was “on the front lines” of the warming problem.

Brown said on ABC’s This Week that though California’s wildfires are relatively under control right now, the state is “in a very serious fire season” — one that’s seen about twice as many fires this year as the average — and future control of the fires depends largely on the weather. He said that as the climate changes in California, the state will need thousands more firefighters and California residents will have to be more careful about where and how they build.

“As we send billions and billions of tons of heat-trapping gases, we get heat and we get fires and we get what we’re seeing,” he said. “So, we’ve got to gear up. We’re going to deal with nature as best we can, but humanity is on a collision course with nature and we’re just going to have to adapt to it in the best way we can.”

Brown also lambasted those in Congress who deny that climate change is occurring or is caused by humans, saying in California, there’s no question climate is changing.

“It is true that there’s virtually no Republican who accepts the science that virtually is unanimous,” he said. “There is no scientific question — there’s just political denial for various reasons, best known to those people who are in denial.”

Right now, the entire state of California is in the severest rankings of drought, conditions which, as Joe Romm points out, have created a soil moisture level reminiscent of the Dust Bowl. Last week, more than 20,000 residents were forced to flee their homes as heat and strong Santa Ana winds created conditions ripe for fires that spread through San Diego County.”

Read more: Climate Progress

 

Major California Drought Could Spell ‘Catastrophe’ for Nation’s Food Supply

Photo retrieved from: www.commondreams.org

“A major and unyielding drought in California is causing concern in the nation’s “food basket,” as farmers there say the U.S. food supply could be hit hard if the conditions in their state don’t rapidly improve, Al Jazeera America reports Tuesday.

“This is the driest year in 100 years,” grower Joe Del Bosque told Al Jazeera, expressing concern that the hundreds of workers he employs for each year’s harvest could be without a job this season.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, 2013 was the driest on record for most areas of California, “smashing previous record dry years” across the state, including regions where approximately half the fruits, vegetables and nuts in the U.S. are grown.

Those conditions have not relented as 2014 begins with most of the state experiencing official ‘severe’ or ‘extreme drought’ conditions.

And as Al Jazeera reports, reservoirs, which store water that flows from the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, are at less than 50 percent capacity—20 percent below average for this time of year.

“That’s rather dismal,” said Nancy Vogel, spokeswoman for the California Department of Water Resources. “If we don’t get big storms to build up that snow pack, we can’t expect much in reservoirs.”

Additionally, earlier this month firefighters were forced to Northern California to battle wildfires that were unprecedented for the time of year, and officials are concerned more fires could be on the way.”

Read more: Common Dreams

 

Waldo Canyon Fire: 20 Percent Of Soil So Severely Burned It Is Likened To ‘Moonscape’

Photo retrieved from: www.huffingtonpost.com

“The Waldo Canyon Fire, the most destructive wildfire in state history, burned so hot that wildfire experts say that nearly 20 percent of the total 18,247 acres (29 square miles) consumed by the blaze was burned so severely that no living vegetation was left on the surface nor root systems left below the surface to a depth of about 4 inches, The Associated Press reports.

The Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) assessment team determined that 3,375 acres or about 5 square miles was determined to be damaged so badly, left so baren after the blaze ripped through the area that it was likened to moonscape, U.S. Forest Service hydrologist Dana Butler said.

BAER broke the burn severity of the soils and watersheds into three levels, besides the nearly 20 percent severely burned, the group found the remainder of the area to be 41 percent low or unburned severity (7,586 acres) and 40 percent moderate severity (7,286 acres), according to InciWeb.org

Read more: Huffington Post