As of 2016, California is in its fifth year of drought. Though there were a few good periods of rainfall during the El Niño winter of 2015, it was not nearly enough, and the delivery of rain wasn’t even close to what experts were hoping it would be.
Unfortunately, this has led to a much earlier start to wildfire season. In fact, it’s getting to the point that firefighters consider California’s southern regions to be in a perpetual fire season, a never-ending state of dry, risky conditions.
Looking Ahead: Future Relief?
It would be nice to be able to say that there’s hope on the horizon, but that’s just not the case. The year 2016 is likely to be the start of a La Niña winter, a weather pattern that means further dry conditions with little to no rain relief in sight.
That’s not great news, but there is some light among the darkness. Californians have largely stepped up when it comes to conserving water and doing what’s right. Water is a limited and precious resource in the state at this point, and a combination of local government and individual efforts have resulted in a number of ways to lessen regular impact on dwindling water reserves.
What You Can and Should Do
Government efforts have largely focused on encouraging and even incentivizing behavior changes from individual citizens. If you have a grass lawn, for example, you may be able to get financial rewards for doing away with it entirely. Look into local turf buyback programs to see if you can get any benefits from eliminating your impractical drought-unfriendly grass.
It’s also essential for California residents to be smart when it comes to fire safety. Observe burn and campfire bans and obey rules carefully. A combination of drought and other issues, including insect infestation, has left many California forests vulnerable to devastation by fire. Remember that rules apply to everyone, even you. Don’t let a selfish desire for some toasted marshmallows turn into an expensive disaster.