As the Great Texas Drought continues unabated, many Texans are facing another horror arising from the drought. Wildfires are raging right across the state and more than 1,000 homes have been lost. More importantly, at least two young lives, a mother and her baby, have been lost.
The worst of the fires have been in the Hill Country around Austin, but here where I live in Southeast Texas, we are being touched by the flames as well. Montgomery County (where I live) and adjoining Grimes and Waller Counties have been hit by big fires in the last couple of days. The fires were made worse by the strong winds that we received as a result of Tropical Storm Lee. All we got was the wind - no rain.
Although climate scientists continually warn that we should not ascribe any single weather event to the phenomenon of global warming, it is very difficult not to conclude that our more than year-long drought is not at least exacerbated, if not entirely caused, by the heating up of the planet. Furthermore, this drought and its attendant wildfires will have long-term effects on our environment and the ecology of our state. Wildlife have already suffered greatly and many animals have been lost. More will die before this is over.
The fall migration for birds is now under way. Texas is an important stopover for many species on their way south. Furthermore, it is the winter home of millions of water birds and shorebirds. All those birds now winging their way here will arrive to find ponds, rivers, streams, and lakes dried up and food in short supply. If we don't get rains soon, this could well be devastating to some of these species.
These are the kinds of effects that climate scientists have predicted and warned of and tried desperately to get us to take seriously and start doing what we can to ameliorate our impact on global warming. Still, our militantly ignorant and proud-of-it political "leaders" make jokes about the whole idea of global warming and refuse to take any sensible steps to stop or slow it. Perhaps when their states are burning, they might begin to think in a more serious way about it.
Or maybe not. It sure hasn't worked for Rick Perry.