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Droughts, Fires, and More | Post-Summer Climate Change Update

Now that it’s fall, I thought I would give an update on the fires, droughts, and other things happening right now. This blog will focus on the western United States, but I will also talk about some global things.

First things first, there is a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is a group of the world’s top climate scientists that was assembled by the United Nations to give make a report on climate change. If you want to know more, I wrote a blog about it last month, so go check it out.

Next, I want to talk about the droughts. There are some pretty severe droughts all over the world right now, especially in the US. This is a map from the US Drought Monitor that shows the severity of the droughts in the western US. It is surprising how bad the droughts are, as it is getting towards the end of the drought season, but droughts will continue to last longer and longer as climate change progresses.

Earlier this summer, I visited Shasta Lake, where extreme droughts have made the water level decrease drastically. I made a video about it and it got 3,600 views! If you want to learn more, you can check out the video using the link below.

Shasta Lake is not the only place suffering from these extreme droughts. Most rivers and reservoirs are extremely low. Lake Oroville, a reservoir in California, had to temporarily shut down its hydroelectric dam because the water levels were so low! Water levels are also shockingly low in the Colorado River. Lake Mead, which is the largest reservoir in the United States and was formed by damming the Colorado River, is only a third full, so low that the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation had to declare a water shortage on the Colorado River for the first time since the dam was completed in the 1930s. This is a vital water source for the whole southwest, and many people will suffer because of the lack of water. There are some great National Geographic articles about this, as well as a fantastic video from Vice News explaining the situation.

These droughts are making fires much worse. Right now, there are some fires raging throughout the western United States. The Dixie Fire, which has burned 963,276 acres, making it the second-largest fire in California history, has burned its way through Lassen Volcanic National Park and much of the surrounding area. Luckily, it is 94% contained, and it shouldn’t grow much larger. In my last video, which was about Lassen Volcanic National Park, I gave more details about this fire. You can check out this video at the link below.

The Caldor Fire, another major fire, has burned 221,500 acres and is very close to Lake Tahoe. This fire was a huge threat to the cities around Lake Tahoe, and 43,000 people living around the lake had to be evacuated. Luckily, this fire is mostly under control, and some of the evacuation orders have been lifted. I made a video about Lake Tahoe earlier this summer if you want to check it out.

Another notable fire is the KNP complex, which is burning its way through Sequoia National Park. It is threatening the giant sequoias of the area, which are massive, thousands-of-years-old trees. The fire is mere acres from the world’s largest tree. I made a video about Sequoia National Park last year, which you can watch below.

There were also some major fires earlier this year. After the heat dome that made temperatures in the Pacific Northwest skyrocket, there were huge fires all over the region. The high temperatures in combination with the extreme dryness started fires that burned their way through a lot of forest. There were also massive fires in Siberia and Turkey earlier this summer, both of which show that climate change is happening now and it is affecting everyone everywhere. We need to take action while there is still time to save our planet.

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