Drought and Wildfire

Enchanted Light | New Mexico by Jim Crotty is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND


The drought continues this year. We had a snowpack that was pretty close to average for the valley, but then we had one of the driest springs on record. Right at the end of June, which is supposed to be the month when we get most of our spring rainfall, we got a heat wave. We saw temperatures that have never been recorded here before. For a while each day was breaking the record set the day before. What was already dry became crisp.

Our lawn knew what was happening. Normally we can count on the vigorous growth tailing off at the end of June, the weekly mowing along with it. This year the grass never really got going. So far I’ve mowed it twice, and the second time it didn’t really need it. It appears to have gone dormant. The predominant color in most yards is brown rather than green. I’m not bothering to try to keep our lawn green, I’m just trying to keep it alive. Even that is difficult in the face of watering restrictions brought on by the drought.

The forecast calls for continued hot, dry weather. There is no respite in sight, not even the occasional drenching thunderstorm we usually get in the summer. Worst of all, we’re being told to expect more of the same in the future.

On the plus side, there has been no comment from Droughtman. In the past he has said we’re not having a drought because we have a big lake full of water. He’s being quiet this year.


As for the wildfires, we were warned that conditions were right for a bad season. They were right. Fires are starting every day and spreading quickly. There are boiling clouds of smoke and steam rising up in flammagenitus, creating pyrocumulonimbus that are as big as any thunder clouds I’ve ever seen.

Eric Neitzel – CC-BY-SA

The people fighting those fires are having to concentrate on protecting human structures, because stopping them is out of the question. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and the province has declared a state of emergency.

My back yard. That’s smoke, not cloud.


People are saying we should get used to it and try to adapt to a future of drought and wildfires. I’d rather not have to.

rjb

About arjaybe

Jim has fought forest fires and controlled traffic in the air and on the sea. Now he writes stories.
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