Drought, Wildfires, Power Outages…This is a cycle that becomes the nightmare of all California residents, especially from August 2020. The record-breaking heat during that time caused wildfires which made it impossible for the grid to fully operate. About a million residents lost their power unprecedentedly. And just when everyone wants to get over this incident, it seems like drought is back.
Early April dryness in the West is already equivalent to mid-July drought, which is a signal of upcoming destructive fires. Already 40% of the West is classified as most severe categories “extreme” to “exceptional.” The precipitation forecasts are not in favor of the community as it is not expected to get much rain. The human-driven climate change caused the rainy season to occur late until late 2021. Moreover, it may bring forward another big water supply problem as the demand for water rises in the ecosystem the closer we get to the summer. Another red flag was California winter, as it was drier and warmer than average. Indeed, February was recorded to be the driest in 150 years. Not concerned yet? Then have a look at the Colorado River, where meltdown started earlier than the typical melt season, again signaling drought. Because of the dryness, spring bloom and plant growth are not as vigorous as usual. As for soil moisture, during March, it was at its lowest level across the West in 120 years. The scientist called this period the first-ever human-drive mega dryness in history. As a result, San Gabriel Water Reservoir currently has the lowest water level compared to the same period in 150 years.
California realizes the risk of massive wildfires, which can be devastating. No wonder, that the state proactively tries to prevent the wildfires, allocating $536million to fire prevention strategies. The governor also authorized 1400 additional firefighters, allocating $81million to hire talent.
2020 record-setting wildfire season damaged around 4 percent of the state while destroying nearly 10500 buildings and killing 33 people. The forecasts are expected to get worse, raising the concerns of how to prepare the community against such severe weather conditions across much of the West from Colorado to Montana, down to California and Arizona.
These severe weather conditions teach us a lesson to be as responsible towards the climate and environment as possible. Otherwise, you will get an irreversible stroke. One way to do so is cutting the main greenhouse emissions caused by gas and coal plants of energy generation. Going Solar and using clean energy from the sun with unlimited resources is one way to have your impact in building a cleaner environment that will never hit you back with severe wildfires.
The author of a publication: Elen Gevorgyan