by Janet A. Ginsburg
“Temperatures hit 108 degrees as 2,500 firefighters attacked flames devouring greasewood, Joshua trees, piñon pines and brush in hills and canyons of the high desert about 100 miles east of Los Angeles.”
– AP report 7/13/06
The fire grew from 30 acres to 37,000 in a couple of days. That’s an area the size of Boston, with a few sacrificial suburbs thrown in for kindling. To call such a fire voracious doesn’t even begin to describe it. Scorched earth? The scar left on the landscape will take centuries to conceal. Joshua trees, those improbably spiky, serenely green yuccas that give this patch of orange rocky desert not far from Palm Springs its sci-fi book-cover look, grow about a half-inch per year, maybe. This is a place of slow, palpable time, where the occasional earthquake topples boulders like pebbles, but mostly nothing much happens. The sun comes up. The sun goes down.

Make that “nothing much seems to happen.” Sit still for a while and you begin to notice signs of life in a somewhat faster lane: lizards, snakes, birds, rodents, insects, disturbingly well-armed scorpions. There is no shortage of drama. A little bit of rain, the desert blooms and everybody imaginable comes to the party. Frogs splash in Brigadoon puddles. Coyotes grin at the good times....

To read the full article and the link between global warming and wildfires, go to the archives page at germtales.com

germtales is now a website. In addition to posts on subjects ranging from The Mystery of the Ancient Horses to Mind Germs, there are book reviews, interviews, news headline links and an extensive, eclectic sources page.

Thanks for your interest!



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