From Drought to Fire
During the Dust Bowl in 1934 and again in 1950 Dallas endured a record 58 days without rain, a record surely to be surpassed in 2000.
In Throckmorton, TX, northwest of Dallas, volunteers are working diligently to link a new pipeline to another town's reservoir to pump water to the town. In Ft. Worth it was predicted they could endure up to 70 days without rain.
According to Texas Agriculture Commissioner Susan Combs, over $595 million loss in agriculture and livestock has been taken by the drought with much more expected unless relief is forthcoming.
In central Texas, the Edwards Aquifer is continuing to fall. More water problems loom on the horizon for people there.
A drought across Louisiana is destroying soybean, corn and cotton crops across the state. The state is appealing that 41 of the 64 parishes be deemed disaster areas. This declaration would make farmers eligible for low-interest loans to help with losses.
During Mardi Gras, the drought heralded the highest prices ever recorded for crawfish and other local delicacies.
In Alabama, the state like most others in the Southeast, has a 20-inch rain deficit that has dried up the wetlands of Hale County.
Wells are drying up across the Southeast. The state of Florida is developing a grant program that will allow citizens to apply for grant funds to deepen their wells. More and more everyday, people are realizing that one of our greatest resources, water, may actually run out. More states are looking into similar programs to help citizens survive another year of record drought.
Fires burn across Texas and crews from as far away as South Carolina have been called to help battle the blazes. With a forecast of continued dry weather, Texans could find themselves with widespread fires like the ones in Washington and Montana.
High, gusty winds associated with a cold front fanned out-of-control fires to allow two to merge into Montana's Bitterroot Valley. Combined, the two fires have burned 260,000 acres, making it the nation's largest fire currently burning.
At the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, ID, E. Lynn Burkett said major fall weather like prolonged rain or a snow storm may the be only way to stop the fire. For current fire information log on and go to their Web site at www.nifc.gov/fireinfo.
Fire crews are battling a 110,000 acre fire in Washington state. This fire along with many this year started by lightning and spread fast, destroying everything in its path.
Evacuations from the Black Hills in South Dakota heralded the growth of the Jasper forest fire to 90,000 acres.
Almost six million acres have burned thus far in what experts are calling the worst Western fire season in 50 years. Currently there are 79 fires with 1,637,495 acres burning.
A fire in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona is estimated to be contained on Sept. 1. One large fire is burning in California with an unknown projected containment date.
Fires have been burning in Montana for over six weeks, where will it end? In the meantime, people from all over the nation and world continue to flock to the area to help the people battling the blazes.
Federal assistance will come in the form of personnel, with as many as 2,000 managers and supervisors slated to support the firefighting effort. The Departments of Agriculture and Interior are sending personnel to assume management and supervisory roles to help in management of personnel and resources at fire locations.
According to the NIFC, personnel amount to almost 12,000 fighting fires in Montana alone. Soldiers from bases across the US have been called to help fight the fires.
Experts predict this to be the hardest disaster the United States will face for some time. Until next month...take care.