The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has warned against a megadrought approaching dangerous levels in the southwestern US. Wildfire conditions have been ripe across the region as Red Flag Warnings have been sprouting up from California to Texas.
Arid conditions in Arizona appear to have sparked a duo of wildfires burning in the state, forcing thousands of folks to flee as firefighters struggle to contain the blazes.
One of the fires rages just south of Prescott National Forest, located in north-central Arizona. Mandatory evacuations orders forced thousands from their homes in Minnehaha, Fort Misery, and Horsethief Basin, while Crown King was placed on alert Sunday. The fire has been dubbed the Tussock Fire.
PHD- Update: #TussockFire near Crown King was mapped at 2,448 ac and has reached Prescott NF. Due to lack of moisture, hot, dry and windy conditions and rugged terrain, a Type 1 IMT has been ordered and will take over fire command this evening.
(Photo:BLM Weaver Mtn)
— BLM Arizona Fire (@BLMAZFire) May 9, 2021
“There is significant danger to you, gather necessary items and go,” read a Facebook post operated by the Arizona Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Facebook page continued to say the Tussock Fire is “approximately 3,500 acres; 0% containment.”
The second wildfire is approximately 2,560 acres and stood at 35% contained as of Sunday evening. The fire is called Copper Canyon Fire and is burning 3 miles northeast of Globe in Gila County, located in the state’s central part.
#CopperCanyonFire NE of #Globe – 2,652 acres & 35% contained. Add’l growth due to Saturday night’s burning ops as part of suppression efforts. NE side active Sunday as fire consumed unburned island of fuel w/n perimeter of fire. US 60 remains closed in area. #AZFire #AZForestry pic.twitter.com/lmKiDZClUv
— AZ State Forestry (@azstateforestry) May 10, 2021
The US Drought Monitor as of last week shows more than 40% of the country is in drought coverage. Most of the “extreme” to “exceptional” drought is in the southwestern US.
“There have only been four times in the history of the drought monitor that we have seen more than 40% US drought coverage as we come into early May,” said USDA Meteorologist Brad Rippey. “The current US drought coverage is 46.6% of the lower 48 states in drought. That is a 2.6% increase from what we saw five weeks ago.”
Fears of another 1930s Great Depression-style drought are quickly materializing in the southwestern US.
Utah and Nevada recorded their driest years in more than 126 years in 2020, while Arizona and Colorado had their second driest and New Mexico its fourth. The Southwest, plagued with “severe,” “extreme,” and “exceptional” drought conditions, suggests similarities to the Great Depression’s Dust Bowl of the 1930s (read: “Return Of The Dust Bowl? The “Megadrought” In The Southwest Is Really Starting To Escalate”).
Besides escalating wildfires and water shortages, farmers in the western half of the country are frightened of a significant agricultural disaster this growing season as the drought rages. The exceptional dryness could result in crop failures that would ultimately send agricultural prices even higher. So much for that “transitory” inflation, the Federal Reserve continues to squawk about…
Now Dust Bowl conditions have returned, wildfires begin to break out, and farmers are panicking about crop failures. But don’t worry, the Federal Reserve will just print more money in the name of climate change.