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Worst US drought in 500 years fuels raging California wildfires

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Shallah Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:13 AM
Original message
Worst US drought in 500 years fuels raging California wildfires
http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/story.jsp?...

Quote:
Record wildfires blazing across the American West are being caused by the worst drought in at least 500 years. US government scientists believe the conflagrations may herald an epochal, permanent change in the climate and landscape of the region, endangering the future of one of the richest areas on Earth.

Nearly four million acres of forest, ranging from Alaska to southern California, have gone up in smoke this year, and the official fire season has only just begun. The year is expected to be the worst ever, breaking the previous record set in 2003. While cinema audiences have watched an unrealistic scenario of global warming causing a sudden ice age in New York in The Day After Tomorrow, scientists say that climatic change is precipitating a sharply contrasting real catastrophe on the other side of the country.

{snip}

The official US Geological Survey says that the drought is the worst in at least 500 years. The Colorado river, for example, is carrying only half as much water as in the notorious "Dust Bowl" drought of the 1930s. Utah's Lake Powell - the second biggest man-made lake in the country - has lost nearly 60 per cent of its water and, on present trends, will lose its ability to generate electricity in three years' time.

The drought has also created a record amount of tinder, in millions of trees killed off by huge plagues of beetles. The warm weather has increased the beetles' lifespans, while the drought stops the trees from mounting their only defence when they exude a sticky pitch if attacked. Whole forests have been killed from Alaska to Arizona.



This is my first time posting an article so please let me know if I quoted too much so I can edit it to a proper amount :)
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yardwork Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:16 AM
Response to Original message
1. How many more is it going to take?
How many more 500 year droughts?

500 year floods?

500 year hurricanes?

Geez, you'd think we were living in end times, the way we've been hit with these unbelievably rare geological events that suddenly are so common.

It must be end times. It couldn't be anything like GLOBAL WARMING now could it?

Nah. End times.
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tabasco Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 08:27 AM
Response to Reply #1
11. The corporate cabal only cares about science ...
that allows them to make more money. They will allow the building of useless weapons like Star Wars on the weakest of evidence that it will work. But if the science says they have to cut down pollution, then the cabal says we need to study it some more, like for about 200 fkkking years, until the planet is a wasteland. I almost hate the ignorant followers more than the cabal itself. The working class repugs that support this regime are not using the brain that nature gave them. They will watch the world go up in flames before they admit they were wrong.
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AliceWonderland Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:28 AM
Response to Original message
2. Ahhh, this breaks my heart
And the irony is, here in the part of the eastern slope (Boulder), we're having the wettest, chilliest weather. Night before last, it rained through the night, which *never* happens -- I lay awake listening to the rain, with the shutters open, thinking I was back in Nova Scotia or something. It's wonderful, but I wish some of our precipitation could be shared with the drier regions. This climatic change is so arbitrary, it's hard to know who will get hit with what. Sigh. I love the land out here so much and reading this hits me hard.
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Art_from_Ark Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 09:38 AM
Response to Reply #2
12. Meanwhile, here in Japan, Tokyo just recorded its all-time high
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 09:55 AM by Art_from_Ark
temperature, 104 degrees F, last Tuesday. The rainy season, which usually extends well into July, seems to have petered out in June sometime, and it looks like we might be in for a drought. Last summer, on the other hand, was abnormally cool.
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spinbaby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #12
19. Has the heat wave broken?
I heard from a friend near Tokyo whose thermometer last week read the equivalent of 107F.
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classof56 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:43 AM
Response to Original message
3. Appears to me you did just fine with your post
And welcome to DU! This is truly scary stuff. I live in the American West and hadn't really been aware things are this bad. Will bookmark the article and share with folks I know. Thanks!
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Cessna Invesco Palin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:51 AM
Response to Original message
4. Don't forget...
>Record wildfires blazing across the American
>West are being caused by the worst drought
>in at least 500 years.

Not to mention idiotic forest management policies.
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lovuian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:38 AM
Response to Original message
5. When are we going to wake up when the colorado is dry and
the Dam can't produce electricity I guess

Did anybody see Phoenix's temperature this week

drought is right
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cliss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 01:58 AM
Response to Original message
6. Thanks, shallah!
Very nice article. It's just the right length. Welcome to the DU, by the way!! :smoke:

Now, I just have 2 comments about this. I live in Oregon, and our fire season has gotten worse and worse each summer.

1) This summer, all the Oregon National Guardsmen are missing. They were all shipped to Iraq, thanks to Old RumsFathead. He's short some soldiers, so our state is dangerously vulnerable right now. The governor came out recently and said that this is a dangerous situation.

2) Does anyone besides me remember BeetleBush saying that Global Warming was "silly science"? I wonder if he'll feel the same way it his beloved Crawford Ranch goes up in flames.
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opihimoimoi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 02:16 AM
Response to Reply #6
7. Me thinks the science guys are on the right track, we are the cause of GW
and only us can stop it....
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Shallah Kali Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:37 PM
Response to Reply #6
15. re: Bush's Ranch
He will probably find a way to get tax dollars to pay for it the why his Dad did when a hurricane damaged his house in Kennebunkport during his presidency. It was right on the water so no insurance company would touch it but Bush Sr. didn't have to pay for the repairs.
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Hekate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 03:44 AM
Response to Original message
8. And do we see this on the 6:00 news or the daily paper?
Not so's the average person would notice. But the UK, for whatever reason, certainly seems to have a couple of better papers.

The US governors had a conference recently, and the govs of the Western states devoted part of it to discussing the drought, the fires, and how their National Guards have been sucked up by the Iraq war and so aren't available to help out back home.

Aw jeez this is scary stuff. Thanks a bunch for posting this Shallah, and welcome to DU. As I live on the Central Coast of California, I'll be passing this along to my friends.

I suggest that DUers send a copy of this article to their local newspapers and broadcast media and just ask them whether they think this could possibly have any local implications.

Hekate
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GoddessOfGuinness Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 07:57 AM
Response to Original message
9. It's the damned trees...
At least, that's where Dumbyass will lay the blame.
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DBoon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #9
13. No, god's punishment for voting Democratic
Soon as California sends a Republican delegation to congress, the rain will start falling again.

I'm being sarcastic, but it would not surprise me if some RW evangelical type actually claimed this.
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dbt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 08:06 AM
Response to Original message
10. The smoke from these fires has made it to Arkansas!
We have just spent a week under a curiously DIM sun, in an otherwise apparently clear sky. At least, that's the way it started on Monday 7/19. By Wednesday, the smoke was apparent: haze lay at ground level and was quite noticeable at a distance of two miles. By Thursday and Friday, one could smell the smoke. It reminded me of how the pine trees smelled in northern Arizona.

Perhaps the :tinfoilhat:'ers are right when they allege that the Regime is trying to dry up the West so they can control the water out there. They are certainly not lifting a finger (except the middle one) to help the situation!

:freak:
dbt
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pfitz59 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 12:37 PM
Response to Original message
14. 100 degrees in Seattle yesterday
Brush fires all over the "rainy" northwest. Global warming?...nah!
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tlcandie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #14
16. 100 degrees in Seattle?!?!?!
:wow: OMG! Unbelieveable! When it was like 94 that was a HIGH and that was the abnormal! OMG!!! I'm still in shock!

Here in Florida it's raining longer every day now than it use to and through the night. Staying really damp/wet and balmy of course!
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GHOSTDANCER Donating Member (550 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-25-04 06:05 PM
Response to Original message
17. I Know!!! Lets cut them trees down soze they can't burn!!!! Eureka
Edited on Sun Jul-25-04 06:22 PM by GHOSTDANCER
<>
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NickB79 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-26-04 01:11 PM
Response to Original message
18. And all the Natl Guardmen are off in Iraq instead of fighting fires
Here in the US. The Natl Guard is where reserves are usually drawn to fight the fires during bad fire seasons. Now who's gonna help out?
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