AZ drought

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
noisebeam Senior Member • Posts: 2,944
Re: AZ drought

lost alaskan wrote:

Reminds me of the old saying about western water; Whiskeys for drinking, waters for fighting.

AZ could probably use a little more water but we are OK so far. Water doesn't prevent fires out here. In fact water makes for trouble. A nice wet winter produces lush green grass. It looks like Ireland for a few months ,but it IS going to get hot again. We had a new record set in 2020: Over 50 days of 110+ All that grass turns to straw and it's 100,000 acres of fuel. People swarm all over the desert in ATV's and camp in the forests. I don't think there is an acre of forest in the Tonto National forest that hasn't been burnt at least once or a half dozen times. It's tough country to be a plant.

AZ flora and fauna are not OK. Note the level of D4 and D3 regions, almost 87% of the state. There is expected two decade drought coming and this is the start, while there could be a wet bit here and there before it fully sets in, the trend is dryer.

Precipitation overall does not make it worse - especially the winter/spring soaking rains that go deeper into the soil. Yes there are winter grasses that dry out, but they are already there from previous winters and will burn eventually. All of the low deserts I've been hiking in this spring are thick with dry grass from prior rains and dying native plants or have otherwise burned recently- notably ones with invasive grasses that thrive on fire cycle. Prior to invasive plants/grasses many desert areas never burned previously which is why native plants have not adapted to fire. Now in D4 zones even plants like creosote and jojoba are dried out and will add to the fuel, a bit more winter rains would have prevented that.

For the forested areas the grasses don't make the fires, the dry and dying trees do. No snow pack means dying trees. Rain can help the forests, but unfortunately it often comes with lightning.

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