Earthquake, Drought and Wildfires Ravage California
by Cassady Sharp
August 26, 2014
We probably cant blame the earthquake that hit Californias Napa Valley this weekend onclimate change. But its one more thing that the beleaguered residents of the so-called Golden State have to deal with. And while we cant do much to address thefact that the state sits on geographical fault lines, other issues have a human element.
The magnitude 6.0 earthquake, which occurred early Sunday morning, is the largest to hit the state since 1989s Loma Prieta quake. It injured several hundred people.
The earthquake is understandably dominating the headlines coming out of California, while the fallout from the states record drought is being reported almost daily.
In East Porterville in the rural San Joaquin, several hundred homes have no tap water because theirwells have dried up. Thats due to an exceptionally low flow in the Tule River, which fills the wells.
Volunteers and county workers aredelivering bottled waterprovided by the county to these homes, but those deliveries are only a stop-gap solution. The areas high poverty rate makes it difficult for residents to affordable ongoing solutions, such as digging new wells.
Tulare County has been hearing from residents about their diminished water supply since February, but the trickle of calls has become a gusher. TheFresno Beereports that nearly 1,000 people are now impacted by the dry wells.
I grew up here. Ive never seen this many people out of water, Tulare County District Five Supervisor Mike Ennis told theFresno Bee.
Up in the states northwest corner in Trinity County, already threatened bysalmon die-offsdue to low water flow in the Salmon and Klamath rivers, a wildfire that started late Sunday afternoon isthreatening homes in Weaverville. About 200 homes were evacuated as crews worked to build containment lines that had about 25 percent of the fire under control by this morning. But local officials said they were concerned about gusting winds and dry conditions causing the fire to flare up again.
The Redding, California newspaper theRedding Searchlightreports that four other wildfires are currently burning tens of thousands of acres in the area as well.
TckTckTck, the Global Call for Climate Actionreports:
High temperatures anddroughtin the American West, both linked to climate change, lead to the dry conditions and tree deaths that enable more frequent and intensewildfires. The American wildfire season is getting longer, and the number of very large fires has doubled in California and many other states since the 1970s.