climate change

(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

Climate change in the Western U.S. means more intense and frequent wildfires churning out waves of smoke that scientists say will sweep across the continent to affect tens of millions of people and cause a spike in premature deaths.

KNAU/Ryan Heinsius

This week, we begin a series of interviews called Bearing Witness: Voices of Climate Change. They're stories told by longtime Arizonans about changes they've seen in the familiar landscapes of their lives: Watering holes gone dry, food sources vanished, tribal customs changed because of drought. Personal experience, in and of itself itself, is not scientific conclusion. But, many researchers believe long-term observation is a critical component to understanding how climate change affects humanity and the planet. In this segment, we hear from lifelong Flagstaff resident, Jim Babbitt. His family came to the area in the late 1800's when the population was only about 600. They bought ranch land and cattle to graze it, and over the next 100-plus years, became a ranching dynasty, as well as a family of conservationists and stewards of the West. Here, Jim Babbitt remembers local watering holes and streams in Flagstaff that aren't what they used to be, including the Frances Short Pond. It was created by the Arizona Railway as a storage reservoir. 

USGS/Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection

150 years ago this week John Wesley Powell began his epic journey down the Green and Colorado Rivers. He became a legendary adventurer as the first white man to raft the Grand Canyon. But the experience inspired him to make a radical effort to change the way America settled the West. Powell warned Congress the land was too dry to support farmers, and said states should be organized by watersheds instead of political lines. Author John Ross tells that story in his book The Promise of the Grand Canyon. Ross spoke with KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny about the lessons we can learn from Powell today.

U.S. Forest Service, Coconino National Forest

A new study from Northern Arizona University shows the area burned by wildfires in Arizona and New Mexico has increased by about twenty thousand acres annually since the mid-eighties. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.

U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Arizonans celebrated the completion of their Drought Contingency Plan yesterday, passed by the state legislature just hours before a deadline set by the federal government. But the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation says Arizona and California aren’t finished yet, and announced this morning it will step in. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.