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U.S. Troops Deployed to Fight Wildfires in Drought-Stricken Western United States

The Alaska Army National Guard supported fire suppression efforts in June 2015 in and near Willow, Alaska. UH-60 Black Hawks from the 1-207th Aviation Regiment flew multiple missions, dipping their orange water buckets into waters east of Willow Lake and dropping thousands of gallons of water over the east side of the fire, about five miles north of Willow Airport. Sgt. Sonny Cooper, a crew chief for the 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment, flew on a crew during firefighting efforts, and operated the water bucket during missions. (Photo courtesy of Sgt. Kevan Katkus)

The Alaska Army National Guard supported fire suppression efforts in June 2015 in and near Willow, Alaska.

This week 200 US Army Reserve troops were deployed to fight wildfires in the U.S. Pacific Northwest, joining thousands of firefighters and National Guardsmen who have been working to control one of the worst wildfire seasons on record, including some record-breaking wildfires that were visible from space. At least two firefighters have lost their lives this season. But this year’s wildfires have not been limited to the U.S. Pacific Northwest. (more…)

U.S. Drought Worsens

Parched_ground_-_Flickr_-_Al_Jazeera_EnglishClimate Central’s Andrew Freedman recently reported on the U.S. Drought Monitor’s latest numbers, which reveal that “all categories of drought increased across the country between Nov. 20-27, with the largest increase occurring in an area from Alabama northeastward to Virginia.” Freedman also reports on a recent statement by Deutsche Bank Securities’ chief U.S. economist, Joseph LaVorgna, who predicted that “the drought will be responsible for a 0.5 to 1 percent drop in U.S. gross domestic product this year, a significant drop considering the relatively slow pace of growth throughout the year.”

Also, as we have written previously, the drought may have worrying security implications for other countries that are tied to the U.S. through the global food market. And given that a number of these countries have themselves experienced major droughts recently (Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Spain, Argentina), this prolonged U.S. drought could have serious global consequences.