Global warming responsible for the burning Joshua Trees?


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**Update on the fire – It has now spread to 50,000 and they are forecasting that it will make it up the mountain to the national forest. I hope my friend in Big Bear is ready to go!

A few weeks ago we went out to Palm Springs for a little mini vacation, and took a side trip out to Joshua Tree National Park. Boy am I glad I am not out in that area this week! There is a HUGE WILDFIRE that has now burned over 40,000 acres out near Yucca Valley and Joshua Tree, and it is showing no signs of stopping. In fact, the authorities are now concerned with the fire jumping into the San Bernadino National Forest, where they say it will be difficult to stop. Once it reaches this forest, they say it could burn all the way to Big Bear. This is a big fire…and it could get a lot worse if they cant get it under control. However, with 110 degree heat and winds up to 30 MPH, it doesnt look like its going to stop any time soon.

Here is a photo from my trip, this is what it normally looks like:

And here is what is happening today, from the LA Times:

The above being said, I have to wonder if global warming is playing any part in this fire. I have lived in Southern California for over 10 years, and it seems every year the fires get worse and worse. Last year there was a big fire near my work, and I could see the flames dancing from the top of the mountains surrounding the Valley. It was pretty scary, the air was filthy, and the smell from the burning trees even got into my office building. There have been several stories about the impact that global warming could be having on wildfires, such as the one from the Los Angeles Times that says that:

“Rising temperatures throughout the West have stoked an increase in large wildfires over the past 34 years as spring comes earlier, mountain snows melt sooner and forests dry to tinder, scientists reported Thursday.”

When you combine the fact that wildfires are getting worse, the ice is melting in the caps, my hometown on the east coast has been having rather mild winters for the last few years, and the fact that a TORNADO just roared into a town just north of Manhattan, you really have to wonder…what statistics are the naysayers reading? To me, all signs point to “YES” and we have to do something about it.

Anyway, I hope the firefighters can get that fire under control and save some of the land out there. It is truly beautiful country and I wish them all the best of luck.

technorati tags:pollution globalwarming green wildfires joshua tree

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  1. I lived in 29 Palms for 13 years. The fires in Morongo are devastating to me. I can *see* the blackened desert in my eye.

  2. glad to report that weather and fire crews kept this one away from us. There are many dead trees still to be dealt with, see video on my blog of my friends and I taking some action.

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