Dixie Fire, the nation’s largest fire, is forcing many to make the tough calls
The latest drought monitor shows that the western drought’s intensity remained unchanged from last week. States like Utah and Oregon did get some relief, though. Spring wheat and barley are damaged the most significantly among crops.
The dry conditions are fueling western wildfires. California’s Dixie Fire is prompting widespread livestock evacuations.
It is also leading to urgent efforts to care for those animals that are left behind.
The Dixie Fire has now scorched more than half a million acres, and destroyed more than 500 homes. It is forcing ranchers to make the tough decision to liquidate their herds.
The Dixie Fire is now the nation’s largest and the second-largest in California’s history. It is one of the hundred fires burning across the country, and the smoke is drifting east.
According to USDA meteorologist, Brad Rippey, “The worst impacts on air quality are closer to the source region, across the western United States, and in recent days, we’ve seen primarily from northern California extending eastward to the central Rockies. That’s the areas where we have enough particulate matter, lower levels into the atmosphere create very hazardous conditions for those with breathing difficulties or underlying conditions.”
He says that lower air quality in the east is not unusual this time of year, but those fires are creating a phenomenon with haze stretching across the nation.
Many of you have your eye on the upper Missouri River Basin, where drought is having an impact.
For now, the Army Corps of Engineers says that the river levels have not impacted grain movement. That is because some food rainstorms in the lower basin have helped maintain higher levels, but the real concern could come this fall.
The Water Management Chief tells Brownfield Ag that if the lower basin dries up, it will have an impact on barge movement.