Eric Holderman, nationally known expert and leader in the field of emergency management recently had this to say:
As I look at the disaster events of today I see us dealing "long-term" with too little water in some places and too much in others. At the same time the lack of water is going to drive up the fire danger to extreme levels in many parts of the nation.
Disasters can sometimes run in cycles, but I don't see an end to the current path we are on. If you look at the wildland fire events of just this year we are seeing fires in May and June like those we might only see in August and beyond. Multi-year drought has caused much of this fire danger and it has been fed by the kill off of trees due to beetle and other insect infestations. These tinder dry conditions are the driving factor why Colorado has seen their worst fire in their history, coming on the record damaging fires of 2012.
The lack of water is going to become critical in the West. Some city and town water systems are already coming dangerously close to not being able to meet the needs of their citizens. I'm a gardener and used to be a lawn fanatic. The American love affair with the traditional grass lawn is about to come to an end. Green lawns were not meant for the desert Southwest and golf courses are also going to feel the pinch. In the end it will all come down to community priorities. Do you want green grass or do you want to be able to flush the toilet. Conservation can help, but in the end the pressures of too many people will be the factor that brings development to a screeching halt.
On the other end of the spectrum we'll continue to see major flooding events. Warmer air temperatures means that the air can hold more moisture. Longer duration rain storms with torrential impacts will cause record breaking flooding, in many cases, flash flooding. This of course will put more people and property in danger.
All the above means that emergency managers will have their work cut out dealing with the consequences of the increasing risks from global warming. Certainly 2013 is shaping up to be a record breaking wildland fire season!
Source: Emergency Management, 24 June 2013 at http://www.emergencymgmt.com/emergency-blogs/disaster-zone/fire-and-water-062413.html