Burnt Lands, Dry Lakes, and Empty Pockets: Emergency Water Takings and Wildfires

Alexander Ronchetti.

After weeks of endless meetings and memos, Doc finally arrived at his family’s upstate farm for some rest and relaxation. After settling in, he grabbed a chair and walked down the path to the lake where his family stored the farm’s water supply. On the drive up, Doc had heard about the wildfires that were moving their way across the state, but he had paid no attention to them because the fires were reportedly still hundreds of miles away and outside his water basin. After a little while he started smelling smoke and hearing helicopters in the distance. Alarmed, he looked up and saw that a wildfire was heading his way. Suddenly, over the tree line, a U.S. Forest Service helicopter rapidly approached and then stopped, hovering directly over his lake. Attached and hanging below the helicopter was a bucket. Steadily, the helicopter lowered itself closer to the lake, filling the bucket with water. While Doc watched, the helicopter filled up the bucket and flew away towards the wildfire. It returned again and again. In the end, Doc had only burnt farmland, a dry lakebed, and empty pockets.

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