Hill Fire, 2010

One of the hazards of drylands growing is fire. This fire was a bit more than 5 miles from us. It was in a fire-adapted zone of our region with chaparral plant communities and many canyons making it harder to fight than if a fire were to begin in a flatter area such as ours. We have watched nearby houses burn down, sadly, but those fires are generally easier to control than the fires in less-accessible terrain. Two families I know were either put on evacuation notice or evacuated.  They are safe, their animals are safe. Our drylands firefighters are amazing. They risk it all for us and do an incredible job. Here in California, north and south, we have a propensity for building within fire-adapted regions. Partly because such regions are very beautiful, I suppose. We also tend to build in floodplains, forgetting that there are 100 and 500 year floods of amazing proportion. The latter, I suppose is done again and again all over the USA portion of North America.

Climate change is a reality. Most human-scale farmers and many gardeners can talk about this as we’ve seen it – especially if we’ve worked in a region for any amount of time. One hundred year floods are increasing, just as torrential storms are. Fires in the western USA and other drylands regions are increasing in number and scope. We really must take this seriously. I don’t have the answers but I know that teaching and learning are still one way to go.


About rainshadowfarm

I teach anthropology, am an archaeologist, a drylands agroecologist, community educator, and a single mother of eight grown kids. I currently own and operate an educational and research farm in the southern Mojave Desert, Rainshadow Farm. I'm 100% West Virginia hillbilly. Not necessarily in that order.
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