Study: Driving increases wild fires

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Joshua Tree by Steve Berardi (The original image is no longer available, please contact KCRW if you need access to the original image.)

California Watch has this depressing news: your car emissions are probably increasing desert wild fires. A new study out from the Ecological Society of America shows that nitrogen emitted by cars and industry fuel the growth of non-native grasses which are highly flammable. The nitrogen gets trapped in the atmosphere and then finds its way into California’s ground water when it rains or snows. It also gets there from farm fertilizer. Here’s more:

The trouble is that about half of the fertilizer isn’t taken up by the plants, but seeps through the soil and into groundwater or washes into streams, Tomich said. The Central and Imperial valleys have high levels of nitrates, a form of nitrogen that can cause blue baby syndrome.