The local skies are smoky from fires elsewhere in the state, but the tap
water is running. But dont be fooled. The water is no assurance the valley will not
face more extreme impacts from the intense drought this summer. Its hot, tinder dry,
with no relief in sight.
Residential, recreational and commercial growth means no one can take the
valleys water resources for granted anymore. There used to be plenty of water to go
around within the valleys communities, even during drought years, but things have
Both Sun Valley and Bellevue are having problems pumping enough water for
both lawns and fire reserves. The U.S. Forest Service has banned campfires in many places.
Dropping well levels and stream flows indicate that existing water supplies are strained
and that residents should be concerned.
Fire is no stranger to the valley. Local governments have not yet imposed
any serious water conservation measures. They are looking first to voluntary measures.
If the valley is to avoid fire, everyone will have to get serious about
conserving. Sacrificing emerald green lawns is a small price to pay to ensure enough water
for local fire departments to put out house fires or beat back wildfires in areas where
the sage meets the suburbs.
County residents should heed the warnings of fire professionals and take
measures to protect property. They should clear brush and weeds away from homes to create
fire protection zones.
Visitors should be aware that something as simple as parking a vehicle
with a hot exhaust pipe in dry brush could trigger a fire.
August has started out hot. With a little luck and a little common sense,
we may be able to avoid making it any hotter.