In recent days, now-houseless survivors of Oregon’s Bootleg Fire surveyed their incinerated communities, dozens huddled in a Colorado tunnel seeking shelter from a mudslide, and across the Eastern Hemisphere fires and landslides forced evacuations and took lives. These, and other, impacts of human-caused climate change come as the U.S. Senate considers an infrastructure package largely stripped of its initial ambitions to combat climate change.
“West of the Mississippi we have droughts, fires and smoke, and east of the Mississippi there’s flooding,” Anne Golden, whose home was destroyed by the Bootleg Fire, told the New York Times. “It’s biblical. It just feels like the plague and everything else.” In Colorado, mudslides set off by three days of heavy rainfall cascaded down a mountainside burned by the Grizzly Creek wildfire last year.
The compound disaster blocked portions of I-70 with boulders and stranded motorists, including more than 100 forced to remain in their cars overnight. Wildfires, fueled by dry heat linked to climate change, are also raging around the Mediterranean including on the Italian peninsula and in Sicily. In Turkey, “The animals are on fire,” Kacarlar resident Muzeyyan Kacar told CNN; at least eight people have died in the more than 100 fires across the country. Wildfires and extreme heat also prompted closures and evacuations across Greece.
“Welcome to global warming!” George Papabeis, a Greek-American tourist in Athens told Reuters. Further East, at least seven people were killed in a landslide in northern India set off by heavy monsoon rains. “I am 58-years-old and I have never seen such a severe flood in my life,” Ved Prakash, a resident of Rajouri, told Reuters.