There is a gruesome beauty to these photos. The flames light up for us in an oppressively fascinating manner. But they eat their way through everything that is there with an almost infinite hunger. Trees, animals, houses, cars. Man has almost no chance.
For the sixth year in a row, firefighters in California are fighting fires that get bigger and more voracious every year. And the western US state has been drying up for a good six years. Water is now a scarce commodity – and meteorologists are already expecting the next heat wave.
Take a deep breath, gain strength, and stop fires is not an option.
Still, more than 1200 “firefighters” don’t give up. They are supported by fire-fighting planes. But the air is so dry that the extinguishing water evaporates before it even reaches the ground, reports “CBC”.
The National Weather Service issued appropriate warnings for more than 30 million people. In large parts of California and Nevada, the highest warning level applies: because of the persistent heat and the lack of cooling at night, not only the elderly or the sick, but the entire population are at risk. Extreme heat is also expected in Utah and Arizona.
► In Death Valley, California, notorious for its incredible heat, temperatures could rise to more than 50 degrees Celsius. The highest temperature ever measured there was 56.7 degrees in 1913. It was just below that on August 17, 2020 with 54.4 degrees Celsius. It could also get particularly hot in Las Vegas and Sacramento.
Just last week there was extreme heat in the northwest of the USA and in western Canada with temperatures of almost 50 degrees Celsius claiming hundreds of lives. In the Canadian community of Lytton, around 260 kilometers northeast of Vancouver, 49.6 degrees had been measured – a few days later, the village was almost completely destroyed in a fire inferno.
California calls on citizens to conserve water because of drought
The governor of the US state Gavin Newsom urged citizens on Thursday (local time) to take shorter showers and less watering of green spaces. Everyone should save 15 percent consumption. He also called on industry, trade and agriculture to save water.
Newsom spoke of a “mega-drought”: Overall, it has rained significantly less in California over the past few years. Last winter was also comparatively dry. As a result, at the end of May, an estimated one third of the normally available water was missing from the water reservoirs.
According to the state website “Save Our Water” it is “likely” that this year will end up being even drier than last year, which was already the fifth driest in California’s history.