The state is increasing funding and preventative measures, but it may not be enough. A year after one of the worst wildfire seasons in California’s history, the state is taking more preventive measures to reduce wildfire risks. But experts worry it still doesn’t have the firefighting and land management resources to adequately fight worsening blazes. Photo: Noah Berger/AP
As of mid-June, nearly three-quarters of the US’s West has been experiencing “severe,” “extreme,” or “exceptional” drought conditions. In addition to the states above, it also includes northern states like North Dakota and Montana.
Overall, climate change is playing a role. But there are smaller factors at play that are tied to climate change as well. Including…
- Not enough rain. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) said the Southwest’s 2020 monsoon season (read: ‘nonsoon’) was “the hottest and driest summer/monsoon season on record.” And the decrease in rainfall is having an impact on today’s drought (think: not enough water for crops, lakes, or reservoirs). And for the little rain that has fallen, it could dry up faster because of…
- Warmer temps. The NOAA dubbed 2020 the second-hottest year on record. And in late June, a record-breaking heat wave hit the Pacific Northwest, with the temperature reaching up to 112 degrees Fahrenheit in places like Portland, OR. (Psst…if you’re dealing with hot weather, here are some tips to stay safe.) Hotter, drier weather creates a thirsty environment, which speeds up evaporation. Rising temps are also causing snowpacks to melt faster, and they’re reportedly producing less runoff – a vital water resource. All of which means there’s less water available for communities and ecosystems.
Experts are also worried that the current dry and hot conditions will have a ripple effect, which brings us to wildfires. Last year’s West Coast wildfire season was the worst ever. Fires in California killed 31 people, burned more than 4 million acres, and destroyed thousands of buildings and structures. And this year, states like Arizona have seen an early start to their wildfire season. But the effects of the drought stretch even further.
“Sunday Morning” takes us to a real hot spot – Lassen Volcanic National Park in California. Videographer: Jaime McDonald.
Lassen Volcanic National Park is in northern California. It’s rich in hydrothermal sites like Bumpass Hell, with its acres of bubbling mud pots. The summit of Lassen Peak Volcano offers views over the surrounding wilderness. Nearby, the Devastated Area is littered with lava rocks from its last eruption. A network of trails through forest and around several lakes connects with the Pacific Crest Trail in the north.
San Diego is set to soon start supplying itself with millions of gallons a day of fresh, drinkable water, using saltwater from the Pacific Ocean, converted by a brand new desalination plant. As California’s historic drought continues, the plant will likely intensify the debate over the role of desalination may play in the state’s water supply. Special Correspondent Mike Taibbi reports.
View the Full Story/Transcript: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/desali…
Each year, California and the Southwest break new records for droughts and high temperatures, leading to heat waves, wildfires, and even flooding. Learn how these catastrophes operate together—and how engineers are working on new technologies to help us survive.
Los Angeles is a sprawling Southern California city and the center of the nation’s film and television industry. Near its iconic Hollywood sign, studios such as Paramount Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers offer behind-the-scenes tours. On Hollywood Boulevard, TCL Chinese Theatre displays celebrities’ hand- and footprints, the Walk of Fame honors thousands of luminaries and vendors sell maps to stars’ homes.
With records broken in Portland, Eugene and Seattle, the Pacific Northwest is sweltering under triple-digit temperatures the likes of which has never seen before in the normally temperate month of June. Lilia Luciano reports. Jeff Berardelli also joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss more.
Treasure Island Park is located in front of Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, California. The park has a walk path that shows beautifully maintained landscape and offers incredible scenic views of the beach and the Pacific coastline.