Earth News: Tennessee, USA
March 25, 2007
Lack of precipitation, high winds and population growth are fueling large fires. The area's precipitation totals were about 6 inches below normal as of mid-March. On some days this month, there have been 12-15 separate fires burning simultaneously across the Tennessee Division of Forestry's District 2, a 12-county area. In this area, as of Tuesday, at least 181 wildfires had charred more than 5,000 acres this year. Statewide figures also are up significantly from the 10-year average.
CALIFORNIA - the region's fire season traditionally lasted from June - when temperatures rose and moisture levels plummeted - to late November, when rain tends to fall in the valleys and snow blankets the San Bernardino Mountains. Those days are becoming a memory. "This year... we never really got out of fire season." Normally, this time of year is a favorite for flower enthusiasts. But the lack of any real sustained moisture has left the mountains and deserts devoid of their typical spring blooms - another sign of the region's dryness. It's also a foreboding indication of this year's wildfire season, because the blooms are critical for retaining moisture and holding off the dry season that normally wouldn't start for a month. "We've seen this coming for the past several years."
Adapting to the damaging effects of climate change, plants are gradually moving to where temperatures are cooler, rainfall is greater, f...