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Posts tagged ‘wildfire’

Utah Climate Week is Coming Up!

by Emily Seang, SLCgreen intern

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Source: Utah Climate Action Network

October is the month for falling leaves, cooler breezes and– now in its second year– Utah Climate Week!

Why Climate Week?

According to the latest National Climate Assessment, global temperatures will rise by some amount this century. The extent of the increase, however, will depend on how aggressively global society can rein in greenhouse gas emissions.

This change in the climate is already contributing to existing extreme weather patterns all over the world.

This is the case in Utah too. In 2018 alone, Utah has felt the effects of climate change on many fronts, including low water levels, an explosion of algal bloomspoor air quality, extreme heat, and frequent wildfires. These repercussions take a toll on our health, as well as our summer and winter outdoor recreation past-times and economic drivers.

Record 50 degree nights 2018

The National Weather Service tweeted a record 131 days in 2018 that temperatures in the Salt Lake City area did not dip below 50 degrees F.

Climate change is clearly a concern to our public safety, natural resources, and economic development. But we can all play a role in amplifying the message that it’s time to take action.  We can also look at our daily routines and make small changes that add up to meaningful emissions reductions.

These are the goals behind the Second Annual Utah Climate Week.

Utah Climate Week is hosted by the Utah Climate Action Network, a partnership that aims to reduce emissions, enhance resiliency, and engage individuals and local leaders within our state.

Utah is one of only a few other communities to host a climate week, joining the likes of New York City and LondonRead more

Wildfires + Fireworks + Ozone (Oh July!)

 

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Wildfire in Federal Heights, July 6th. Courtesy of the Salt Lake City Fire Department.

by Talula Pontuti, SLCgreen intern

For weeks, we have experienced wildfires across the state, primarily in the southern part of Utah, where firefighters are fighting tirelessly to protect communities and landscapes.

Those fires have not only destroyed homes, habitats, and landscapes, but the fires are contributing to poor air quality in those areas and throughout Utah.

In addition, fireworks from the Fourth of July increase particulate matter, aggravating respiratory conditions for those with preexisting respiratory and heart illnesses, such as asthma and heart disease.

Combine the fires and fireworks with ozone created by vehicle and product pollution – and we have the perfect mix for poor air quality.

Understanding what is going on and what our impacts are on air quality in our city is critical to being able to keep people healthy and having fun this summer. Read more

Be Prepared for Climate Emergencies, Joint Op-Ed from SLC’s Sustainability & Emergency Management Directors

Salt Lake City's Sustainability Director Vicki Bennett and Emergency Management Director Cory Lyman pen a joint op-ed in the Salt Lake Tribune on climate change and emergency preparedness.

With all of the storms, hurricanes, and wildfires hitting our country this fall, we need to take the opportunity of September being Emergency Preparedness Month to prepare for and mitigate climate change.

Read the op-ed published in The Salt Lake Tribune from Salt Lake City’s directors of Sustainability and Emergency Preparedness.


By Vicki Bennett and Cory Lyman

September is Emergency Preparedness Month.

While Utahns traditionally take important measures to prepare for sudden natural disasters such as earthquakes, we also need to think about taking mitigating action for climate-related events such as extreme flooding, changing water supplies, wildfire and heat waves.

This need is amplified by the awful pictures we see of Hurricane Harvey and Irma and the destruction they have wrought. In Texas alone initial estimates are putting the damage at over $180 billion – that is billion, with a “b” – and we can’t start to comprehend numbers like that.

Scientists have been warning us for years that a warming climate increases the strength of storms like these — larger, powerful and devastating to our communities.

One month before Harvey hit, Salt Lake City experienced our own 200-year storm. .

CONTINUE ON THE TRIBUNE’S SITE.

Mayor Becker, SLC Sign on to Resilient Communities

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Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker has joined 45 other mayors and county officials from around the country who have committed to creating more resilient cities, towns and counties in response to our nation’s growing extreme weather and energy challenges.

As an Inaugural Signatory of the Resilient Communities for America campaign, Mayor Becker is among the first local elected officials in the nation to showcase his leadership on these key issues testing America’s communities.

resilientcommlogoThe national campaign, which launched today, recognizes that local governments like Salt Lake City are on the front lines of responding to increasing disasters and disruptions fueled by a changing climate. An unprecedented increase in heat waves, droughts, floods, severe storms and wildfires have devastated communities nationwide over the past two years and cost America $188 billion in damages.

The Resilient Communities for America campaign seeks to champion the work of Mayor Becker, Salt Lake City and other local governments at the forefront of the emerging national movement to build resilience – and to inspire hundreds more to follow their lead. Every $1 spend on disaster risk reduction can save $4 in recovery and emergency response costs – make resilience efforts a sound investment for our community.

Local Impacts for Salt Lake City

  • Long-term trends show that as warming occurs, less precipitation is falling as snow in surrounding watersheds, which means diminished snowpack water storage for Salt Lake City. In addition, recent climate studies show that the timing of water runoff will shift to earlier in the season, creating challenges during peak summer water demand.
  • Increases in temperature and changes in precipitation will impact water supply and water demand. One recent study indicates that Salt Lake City’s watersheds in the Wasatch Mountain range could see an overall average of 3.8% reduction in stream flow per one degree Fahrenheit. Almost all of Salt Lake City’s water supply emanates from these local Wasatch Mountain watersheds.
  • In recent years, trees in the urban forest are becoming more susceptible to disease due to warming.
  • Lower precipitation and warmer temperatures are causing changes to forests and vegetation, increasing the danger of area wildfires, and increasing the threat of water quality degradation.

Local Actions Being Taken by Salt Lake City

  • LeoSolar600pxLong-term master plans for the city will incorporate likely future climate scenarios, including the City’s Water Resource Planning efforts.
  • Infrastructure Planning: Roads, storm drains and other critical infrastructure will need to handle extreme weather events such as heat waves and greater storm intensity.
  • Energy Security: To minimize energy demand, especially during heat waves, the City is focusing on energy efficiency upgrades, develop net zero buildings and expanding local renewable energy sources, such as solar PV and solar hot water systems.
  • Efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions include energy efficiency projects and transit-oriented development projects to minimize vehicle trips.

Learn More

Find Resilient Communities for America on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.