If you are a Californian, you know what is coming.
For Manhattan dwellers, it is Central Park strolls with the first nips in the air. For Michiganders, it is the leaves in every variation of red, orange, and yellow, a spell of seasonal transformation that lasts a few fleeting weeks. For most, it is the haunting smell of pumpkin spice lattes. The butternut squash soups and cozy fireplace reads.
If you are a Californian, you know it is tinder box hillsides, triple-digit days, and the sound of sirens and news anchors.
Autumn is here, and so is wildfire season.
Things you can do to prepare for wildfires and droughts:
- Smokey Bear says to build fires in permitted areas only.
Autumn is the season of golden marshmallows and gooey chocolate sandwiched between graham crackers. Camp side stories and tent snuggles. Given that a staggering 96% of wildfires are manmade in the United States, autumn is also the time to build safe campfires. Park rangers, environmental scientists, and fire departments label safe and unsafe areas to start fire rings. To avoid putting yourself, others, and the surrounding wildlife at risk, only build fires in permitted marked areas.
- Listen to nature. While nature can often deceive us, Southern California Autumns rarely pretend to be anything but a red flag for wildfires and drought. With extreme dryness, soaring temperatures, and impeding Santa Ana winds, nature warns us to take caution when dealing with human-induced fires.
- Acknowledge climate change. Climate change has taken a toll on California, rising temperatures and extending the dry season. The state receives less rain each year, which further threatens the water table and the reserve reservoirs.
- Plant native. To restore said water table and reserve reservoirs, California residents and anybody inhabiting drought-ridden regions should landscape appropriately. Landscape architects, designers, environmentalists, and biologists implore residents to remove invasive and exotic plants to reduce water usage. Planting native enhances natural ecosystems, allowing species to pollinate and preventing soil erosion.
- Act water-smart.Use efficient drip irrigation systems for watering plants and, while indoors, never leave unattended water running: turn off the faucet when you brush your teeth; be mindful of shower lengths; choose water-wise appliances.
Increasing temperatures threaten California ecosystems, homes, and lives each year, intensifying the Autumn season and drying plant materials into highly flammable vegetation. By conserving water and acting to reduce fire threats this Autumn season, you can help prevent disaster.