Western Wildfires Contrast Corn Belt Flooding

Jul 6, 2018  | 2 min  | Ep4346

A California legislative committee advanced a bill to the General Assembly calling for 100 percent carbon-free energy generation.

Other high-stakes measures are moving forward as lawmakers wrestle implications to the Golden State’s power grid.

Not far from the state capital, a different battle was being waged against wildfires.

Josh Buettner reports on the struggles across the West and beyond. Producer Contact josh@iptv.org

By Independence Day, firefighters had 30-percent contained an 86,000 acre inferno in Northern California’s Yolo and Napa Counties that forced evacuations as nearly 1000 homes were put at risk.  But forecasts of record-breaking heat and wind could re-ignite threats northwest of Sacramento this weekend.

By mid-week over 100 homes were engulfed by wildfire near Fort Garland, Colorado - 200 miles southwest of Denver.  Traced to an illegal campfire, the blaze, labeled the Spring Fire, is one of six large wildfires currently raging in the Rocky Mountain state.

One couple described the ‘sickening feeling’ of watching their cabin succumb to flames via surveillance video from their primary residence in neighboring Nebraska.

According to the National Interagency Fire Center, roughly 60 large fires are currently active across the West – including New Mexico and Utah – where nearly 50 square miles have combusted southeast of Salt Lake City, driving authorities to evacuate hundreds of homes near a popular fishing reservoir. 

Governor Gary Herbert/R-Utah: “Ninety-two percent of the fires we have in Utah are man-caused.  To this date, 92 percent.  And that means they’re all preventable.”

In addition to the tinder-dry west, areas of the High Plains and Missouri continue to endure severe drought, while Corn Belt states like Iowa and Minnesota have logged a deluge of precipitation and flash flooding in recent weeks.

For Market to Market, I’m Josh Buettner.

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