Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Duck Poops Dust

To refer to someone being "figuratively on fire" is nowhere near as tantalizing as leading off the nightly news suggesting that someone is "literally on fire". That or people simply don't understand the difference between the two.

The hyperbolic news reporter was attempting to sell the idea that it was so hot recently that people were actually on fire. They were not, thankfully and it was both disheartening and relieving to find out that no one had actually burst into flame.

If you subscribe to Florida Weather Magazine you know that Florida is experiencing a major drought and that there is no such magazine. News reports persistently claim that we are having "the worst drought in Florida's history" and pundits toss around claims like "it hasn't rained since my sister and brother-in-law came down for vacation". Ok I said that. And it's true.

We have in fact had 7 inches of rain in 5 months and 4.5 of those inches came in one day. The ground is parched. The trees snap and crackle in the wind and just yesterday I saw a duck poop dust. It's so bad that an errant cigarette butt, sparks from unkempt vehicles or a natural lightning strike can start wildfires that burn for days and weeks.

You can get a daily Fire Map here! exciting!

We drove through the Picayune Strand State Preserve the other day where a human caused wildfire had finally been extinguished.

Apparently some dude didn't wish to clutter up his vehicle with a cigarette butt so he flicked it out the window. (To keep it inside would only perpetuate the distasteful air) So...the fire burned 26,000 acres during the nesting season for many species of birds. Chicks were literally on fire. True, fire is a necessary part of the ecosystem, but timing is everything and without saturated soils or rains to put the fires out, the burns can be devastating.

Periwinkles are snails that inhabit the islands or hammocks of the Everglades. Each race has a distinct color pattern on the shell and most islands have their own unique race. Though this is a lesser example, they are often beautiful and intricate (and prized by amorale snail collectors)

The periwinkles have adapted to the wet/dry season like most of the plants and animals in the Everglades, but when fires occur out of season, they can destroy entire races of the mollusks whom for obvious reasons are not quick to retreat to safety.

Peat fires are the latest concern. When the soil burns, it's as good as roasted for the next century. Everything is killed and soon the wind blows the soil away, leaving nothing but scarred limestone.

Millions of acres have burned this season and rain is not in the forecast for anytime soon. It's not enough that we suck the aquifers dry, channel water out to the ocean and develop every square inch possible. We can't seem to keep our flame to ourselves either. It aggravates me to the point where I may literally explode.


  1. I am sad for Florida's critters and ecosystems. Thanks for the informative post. Through my sorrow, however, I was tickled by the firey Meez :)
    -Lizzard Kisser

  2. tomorrow is the second full moon in may....blue moon. I predict rain on 6/1

    Nice blog. So what laws are you going to petition for to stop jerks from littering cigarette butts?

  3. we get out to the picayune strand every so often. have you been to T-canal campground down there? look up cixcell on flickr. we take alot of pics of stuff out there.