In California, where drought is a seasonal cycle within the larger years-long cycles of El Nino/La Nina and climate change, it was big news earlier this week when the Governor declared the most recent period of drought to be officially over. The size and scale of California wildfires have become more noteworthy lately, and such prominent drought announcements can have far-reaching implications.
This shot was taken from the road headed north past Lake Shasta in 2008, a year notable for the ferocity and frequency of wildfires. The air was thick with smoke, even hundreds of miles from the nearest blaze, and convoys of heavy-duty wildland firefighting equipment were seen daily speeding up and down the state highways. The distinctive firefighting airplane ‘Martin Mars’ was moored on the lake between runs.
With the recent rainy season and an immense snow-pack in the Sierra Nevada mountains, this year would appear to be drought-free, though technically, with the seasonally dry summer-fall months ahead, combustible conditions are always just a heat-wave away.
In fact, today is breaking high-temperature records across California, and it is being joked that with just a few more days of this hot dry weather, we’ll have to declare a drought again while remaining vigilant about new wildfires.
Check out more fire-related photographs from my collection here.