California’s ‘2021 fire season looks GRIM’: Intense drought leaves combustible material in plants that could fuel violent fires after more than 50,000 wildfires ripped across the state last year
- Researchers conducted a fuel-moisture content study in California
- This means that wet plants are weighed, dried and weighed again
- This method shows how much moisture is in the vegetation to help fight forest fires
- However, the latest study found one of the lowest moisture levels ever found
- This means that no new growth has occurred in the state after the rainy season
- This winter was California’s third driest on record and sets the stage for wildfires
California typically glows with new bright green growth in April, but areas are currently covered in dead vegetation due to a ‘disappointing’ wet season that leaves the state vulnerable to wildfires.
The Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center sampled combustible shrubs found across California and found record low moisture levels.
The average fuel-moisture content (FMC) for some regions is 137 percent, but this year experts calculated a shocking low of 97 percent in some parts of California.
FMC is a measure of the amount of water in a fuel or vegetation available for a fire, and the latest calculations suggest that ‘2021 fire season looks bleak’.
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The Wildfire Interdisciplinary Research Center sampled flammable shrubs called chamise found across California and found record low moisture levels
Last winter was the third driest on record for California, ending with a disappointing wet season in February that typically extinguishes that dry land as the area transitions into wildfire season.
While April sometimes brings the Hail Mary weather needed to combat drought, forecasts predict that this month will be quite dry.
Craig Clements, a professor at San Jose State University (SJSU) and director of the wildfire center, told SF port he ventured up Mount Umunhum in the South Bay to witness the green shrubs and lush trees that typically cover the mountaintop, but only dry, dead wood was seen.
“I was shocked when we went there because usually we have a lot of new growth and old growth in April, and we didn’t see any new growth on the bushes,” said Clements.
Craig Clements, a professor at San Jose State University (SJSU) and director of the wildfire center ventured up Mount Umunhum (pictured) in the South Bay to witness the green shrubs and lush trees that typically cover the mountaintop, but only dry, dead wood was seen
While April is sometimes the Hail Mary to combat drought, forecasts predict it will experience dry weather as well.
“We didn’t see any of the lighter, bright green new growth emerging from the growth.
‘We usually take clippings from new stems and there were none. This never happened. ‘
He shared a photo of the mountain to show how dire the situation is.
“ The lack of rain this season has had a serious impact on our chaparral live fuel moisture, ” reads the tweet shared with the image.
Wow, never seen April fuels look so … dry. Nowhere new growth in this Chamise. April is climatically the highest live FMC of the season. Very scary! ‘
Clements and his team measure FMC by weighing wet plants, letting them dry for 24 hours, and then performing a second weighing.
Chamise is typically the go-to model, as they are found all over California and can play a huge role in providing fuel to fires.
The lab researchers visited Blackberry Hill on April 2 to collect samples for weighing.
The team found that the FMC in the area was 97 percent – the lowest on record was 115 percent when California was hit by a four-year drought.
Clements said the results suggest that ‘the plants are very stressed and the lack of rain is leading to drier conditions at this time of the year’
Dramatic photos of photos of a California reservoir that surfaced last week showing the impact of a drought gripping the state as it invests $ 536 million in fire prevention
Clements said the results suggest that “the plants are very stressed and the lack of rain is leading to drier conditions at this time of year.”
Dramatic photos of photos of a California reservoir that surfaced last week showing the impact of a drought gripping the state as it puts $ 536 million into fire prevention.
Aerial photos of the nearly empty San Gabriel Reservoir show extremely low water levels after California recorded the driest February in 150 years.
In some photos, the outline of the San Gabriel River bed, which feeds the reservoir, is clearly visible.
And about 35 million Americans depend on these water sources, either for drinking or for farming.