- Title: The price of climate change
- Date: 15th July 2021
- Summary: WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (JULY 14, 2021) (REUTERS) (SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. SABRINA MCCORMICK, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR OF ENVIRONMENTAL AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AT THE GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, SAYING: "This drought is going to have massive effects on both our agriculture this year as well as the agriculture industry into the next couple of years. Drought annually costs the United States 10-14 billion dollars, but let's look back to the 2012 drought which many of us may remember as something that looked like the dust bowl. That drought cost 35 billion dollars. This drought is much worse than that. And that 35 billion dollars was largely to the agriculture sector, and so what you might imagine is stalled acres that won't be planted, literally 600,000 acres this year that simply will not be used because they can't be used. This will effect the livelihoods, the long term livelihoods of farmers in this area as well as potentially their mental health, increased stress endured by these economic hardships and the expectation and the justified expectation that this could continue on to the future as well as their ability to support their families, to remain in the places that they live. There may be some potentially community displacement as we see growing droughts and patterns of drought and heat and fire, often we see in these kind of events as we are seeing them now, this may displace communities and farmers themselves."
- Embargoed: 29th July 2021 00:24
- Keywords: West Coast climate change fire heat heatwave
- Location: KLAMATH COUNTY, SUNRIVER, BEATTY, OREGON; SANDOVAL COUNTY, NEW MEXICO; WASHINGTON, D.C.; WEBER COUNTY, UTAH; PORTLAND, OREGON, UNITED STATES
- City: KLAMATH COUNTY, SUNRIVER, BEATTY, OREGON; SANDOVAL COUNTY, NEW MEXICO; WASHINGTON, D.C.; WEBER COUNTY, UTAH; PORTLAND, OREGON, UNITED STATES
- Country: USA
- Topics: Environment,United States,Weather
- Reuters ID: LVA005ELTEEYV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: An immense, swiftly spreading wildfire raged through drought-parched timber and brush in south-central Oregon for a ninth day on Wednesday (July 14), threatening nearly 2,000 homes and displacing hundreds of residents with little sign of slowing, officials said.
"I just am very, have to say fearful about what this bodes for the rest of the summer," said Patty Glick, senior scientist at the National Wildlife Federation, who lives in Oregon. "We didn't see these extremes last year until late August and September, and we are still in mid-July right now," she said.
By morning, the so-called Bootleg fire had blackened more than 212,000 acres (85,793 hectares) and destroyed 21 homes, with firefighters managing to carve containment lines around just 5 percent of its perimeter, according to state and federal authorities.
Now ranked as the largest of at least 10 major active wildfires burning this week in the Pacific Northwest, the Bootleg erupted on July 6 and has spread mostly unchecked in and around the Fremont-Winema National Forest, about 250 miles (400 km) south of Portland.
As of Wednesday, flames were threatening 1,926 dwellings, the Northwest Interagency Coordination Center in Portland reported. Nearly 400 of those homes have been ordered evacuated, officials from the Oregon Department of Forestry said. The remainder were under evacuation standby alerts.
Coming in the midst of record-shattering temperatures across the West, the Bootleg fire has been stoked by hot, dry, windy weather and vegetation desiccated by prolonged drought - a combination that has accelerated the spread of the flames, officials said.
It also reflects a climate crisis, said Dr. Sabrina McCormick of George Washington University. "This drought is going to have massive effects on both our agriculture this year, as well as the agriculture industry into the next couple of years," she said.
Last year, dozens of late-summer wildfires, many of them sparked by dry-lightning storms, killed more than three dozen people and charred more than 10.2 million acres (4.1 million hectares) in California, Oregon and Washington.
The National Weather Service said the heat wave that brought temperatures of 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 Celsius) to California's Death Valley on Sunday had likely peaked, with more moderate temperatures expected by the end of the week.
The unseasonable heat wave, triggered by a lingering high pressure system, is already the third for the region this year, an anomaly that some experts have attributed to climate change.
The high temperatures come as forests and brushwood are already bone dry across the West from years of severe drought, contributing to what authorities say could be an intense fire season.
(Production: Deborah Lutterbeck)
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