May 2, 2022
The worst drought in 1,200 years in the American Southwest has fueled massive wildfires and reduced water supplies by a lot.
The National Weather Service issued “extremely critical” wildfire alerts for huge parts of three states: New Mexico, Colorado, and Kansas. That's the most severe warning. In northeast New Mexico, wildfires have scorched more than 160,000 acres and burned at least 165 homes. Some people have been ordered to evacuate.
Meanwhile, water levels have forced drastic cuts in water usage for the region. The federal government has slashed the amount of water states can draw from the Colorado River. Levels have fallen so much in one reservoir that experts fear there won't be enough to make hydroelectric power.
Local governments have also passed some of the strictest rules ever for outdoor watering. As of June 1, outdoor watering will be banned for six days out of the week. That will cover much of Southern California. Without drastic measures, the region could run out of water by year’s end. That's according to a person responsible for water management in the region.
Experts say climate change has made wildfires, extreme heat, and drought worse.
"It doesn't matter if this is exactly the worst drought ever," a climate scientist said. "What matters is that it has been made much worse ... because of climate change."
Pixels on Fire
In this lesson, students will examine how NASA remotely detects wildfires from space, how they display satellite data about the Earth's climate, and information about three Californian wildfires of the 21st century.
Fired Up Over Math: Studying Wildfires From Space
In this lesson, students will explore fire progression maps for various wildfires in California's history, the Sand Fire's burn scar, and the difficulties firefighters faced during the King Fire.
(Not So) Slow Burn: Teaching Climate Change Through Wildfires
In this lesson, students learn how climate change is making wildfires worse in Oregon and across the globe and create a wildfire solution for prevention or preparation.