Covering an area over 200 square miles, with containment estimates ranging between 2-7 percent, nearly 3,000 firefighters are battling fires egged on by harsh, dry winds on the rim of California’s Yosemite region, destroying over 106,000 acres of wildlife habitat, while threatening thousands of homes and making moves on Yosemite National Park’s beloved Sequoias. And, worst of all, Huey Lewis and the News had to cancel a show.
What is typically a bustling tourist attraction, residents have likened the activity in the area to a “war zone.”
“It feels a little bit like a war zone, with helicopters flying overhead, bombers dropping retardant and 10 engine companies stationed on our street,” Ken Codeglia, a retired Pine Mountain Lake resident who decided to stay to protect his house with his own hoses and fire retardant system, told the Associated Press. “But if the fire gets very hot and firefighters evacuate, I will run with them.”
So far, it is considered to be “the 20th-largest wildfire in California’s recorded history, dating back to 1932,” and is expected to grow. Observers have said that the fires are so fierce, they’re “creating their own weather patterns,” with firefighters unable to predict its movement.
It’s only worsened by the fact that water supplies are being stretched to their limit, threatening San Francisco’s supply, which gets 85 percent of its water from the Yosemite-area Hetch reservoir.
* A 2011 EPA report estimated that 70 to 140 billion gallons of water are used to fracture 35,000 wells in the United States each year – approximately the annual water consumption of 40 to 80 cities each with a population of 50,000, according to Earthworks.
* Fracture treatments in coalbed methane wells use from 50,000 to 350,000 gallons of water per well, while deeper horizontal shale wells can use anywhere from 2 to 10 million gallons of water to fracture a single well.
* Looking at industry records on the website FracFocus, the group Skytruth calculated that between January 2011 and August 2012, a total of 20 months, the U.S. used at least 65.9 billion gallons of water to frack for oil and gas, with Texas accounting for almost half of all water use.(emphasis mine)
We’re quite literally being burned alive, and the really sick part is that the oil, coal and natural gas industry– which donates 90% of their political contributions to the Republicans– are pissing through 69 billion gallons of water a year!
They start the fires, and steal the water. A civil and just nation would call that sabotage.