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Protecting Workers from Wildfire Smoke

CA Department of Public Health Occupational Health Branch — In 2020, California had five of the largest wildfires in state history during that one year alone. This year, the Dixie fire continues to burn and is now the largest single wildfire in state history. Poor air quality due to wildfire smoke may persist for months and spread to neighboring counties and states. …

Critical Groundwater Supplies May Never Recover From Drought

Along with hurricanes and wildfires, there’s another important, but seldom-discussed effect of climate change — toxic water and sinking land made worse by groundwater drought. Water from snow and rain seeps deep into the ground between layers of soil and accumulates in sponge-like underground bathtubs, called aquifers. Farmers rely heavily on this groundwater to irrigate their crops when they can’t get …

How Can We Mitigate Wildfires?

As wildfires rage across the western U.S., incinerating hundreds of thousands of acres, destroying entire communities, and polluting the air, Bill Pekny has a message: We need to get more educated on what causes these disasters. It’s the only way we’ll be able to reduce the devastation. “There are a lot of misconceptions around wildfires,” says Pekny, author of A Tale …

Preharvest Conversations Growers & Wineries Need to Have Regarding Smoke Taint

“Uncertainty” seemed to be the theme of 2020 for all, and it was no different for the wine industry.  Unfortunately, this uncertainty continues this year for wine grape growers as they gear up for harvest amidst another threatening wildfire season.  With severe drought plaguing the American West, it’s not a question of if, but when more wildfires will occur and …

Preparing to Harvest Raisins Under Smoky Skies: What Growers Need to Know

Most agricultural news coverage of the wildfire impact last year focused on the wine grape industry.  Though raisins don’t share the same concern for smoke taint as wine grapes, the lack of radiant sunlight due to smoky overcast skies had a significant effect on the sugar accumulation and natural drying process for much of Central Valley raisin crop last year. …

USDA to Begin Payments for Farmers Impacted by 2018 & 2019 Natural Disasters

More than $1 billion in payments will be released over the next several weeks starting June 15 for agricultural producers with approved applications for the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) Program and for producers who have already received payments through the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). These U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs provide disaster assistance to producers who …

Will Drought Fan the Flames this Fire Season?

Will the current drought increase the chances of another bad fire season this year? We talked to Scott Stephens―a fire ecologist at UC Berkeley and a member of the PPIC Water Policy Center research network―about the risks, and what can be done. How might drought conditions affect this fire season?  With very low moisture levels in vegetation in landscapes across the state, …

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