In Arkansas, it seems as if  everything is early this year. Corn planting began in February. The first strawberries, blackberries and raspberries showed up almost a month early in May. All of the row crops are growing two to three weeks ahead of the norm and in some cases, the (irrigated) crops reached key maturity stages so early there was no precedent.

The latest thing to come early is August. August actually showed up the last week of June and September is making a play now that it’s July.  How do we know? Right now, the thermometer is showing triple digits and tree leaves are changing color and falling.  Mercifully, no Halloween decorations or mention of football has yet appeared.

However, Arkansas is in a serious drought. Exhausted fire crews are battling dozens of wildfires every day in 100-110-degree heat. Ranchers with burnt pastures are selling off cattle they can’t feed. Utilities are restricting water usage and Arkansans are being asked to refrain from running tractors, mowers or other vehicles with hot engines through dried up hay meadows and yards, be extra cautious with the barbecue grill, and hardest of all this Independence Day week — not set off fireworks.

Those who do long-term forecasting say the state and much of the southeast may see some relief if El Nino strengthens in the Pacific.

NO FIREWORKS — Burn bans have been enacted in 70 of the state’s 75 counties, and some cities have cancelled their annual July Fourth fireworks displays. This sign is outside one of the Salem, Ark., fire stations.
FALL IN JULY — In an effort to conserve water, trees are shutting down their leaves. The view across the Ouachitas shows a significant bit of browning during a time when the canopy should be lush and green.

Ironically, on June 24th, the National Weather Service said that through the first 23 days of the month, June in Little Rock was the coolest in years. The average highs were the coolest since 2009 and the average low was the coolest since 2003.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Colorado where wildfires have destroyed hundreds of homes. More than a dozen other states are also battling wildfires.

NEAR COLORADO SPRINGS — Friend and co-worker Margaret, who moved to near Colorado Springs, sent back some terrifying photos, including this one.
ASHES — The heartbreaking aftermath of a finger of one of Colorado’s wildfires. (Photo sent by Margaret)

11 thoughts on “Really heating up

  1. The fires are my greatest fear. I have seen them many years ago. When I was a child half of Pope county burned! They got most of the boys from the schools to help fight the fires. They weren’t on the lines but they did get water, etc. for the volunteers who were on the lines. There were very few professionals then. God bless!

    1. Wildfires really are fearsome. They are not even as predictable as tornadoes. Keep all our firefighters, professional, volunteer and those recruited out of dire necessity, in your prayers. We sure do need a rain! I hope you never see a repeat of what you experienced during your childhood.

  2. I complain about the heat but when you see the devastation in other parts of the country from floods and wildfires I realize it isn’t so bad. I sure would like a bit of rain though. 🙂 Stay cool if that’s possible and maybe El Nino will bring us some relief in the near future.

    1. And don’t we need it? Was just out on the deck and was hoping that smoky smell was coming from a nearby grill and not some fire just out of sight. Be safe out there on your travels. That heat can catch up with you in a hurry.

  3. Hard to hit the Like button, but it’s good to hear news about what’s going on with the fires and drought outside ofColorado

  4. Apparently you are one side of a stuck jet stream and we are the other. O on 2nd July I was wearing a fleece…
    Those fires make m appreciate our rained off summer.

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