Currently — June 7th, 2022

The weather, currently.

Fourth of July fireworks set off several fires this past weekend. In areas where the megadrought continues to make wildfire conditions particularly volatile, the explosives are a major hazard, as a lack of rainfall has severely worsened fire conditions this summer. Many first responders and emergency managers across the country urged city officials and individuals to ditch the explosive tradition this year.

Not everyone heeded this advice. In Texas grass fires erupted just minutes into multiple firework shows across the state. In this slightly dystopian video on Twitter, grass fires burn while “Party in the USA” plays in the background through large speakers. In Denver, several small fires are being attributed to fireworks. One of the Denver fires escalated into a brush fire, forcing around a dozen families to evacuate their homes.

Fortunately, in several major cities, additional harm was avoided as communities canceled firework displays, instead implementing alternative shows that reduce the potential danger. Salt Lake City, Utah, opted for a laser show instead this year, citing fire danger and air quality as the reason for the shift. People also shared videos of kids using bubble wrap to simulate the sound of fireworks.

Fireworks are not only a safety hazard for sparking wildfires that are also damaging to people in several other ways; they emit greenhouse gasses and have a major effect on air quality.

What you need to know, currently.

Scientists are working on developing plants that can better withstand heat waves, according to a new study in Nature. Even brief heat waves can have long standing effects on plant immunity, inhibiting their ability to produce salicylic acid—which prevents bacteria from spreading when they’re attacked by pathogens.

Scientists were able to manipulate the CBP60g, which acts as a master switch for plants, to allow them to keep their immunity levels up even as temperatures rose.
“We were able to make the whole plant immune system more robust at warm temperatures,” author Sheng-Yang He told SciTechDaily. “If this is true for crop plants as well, that’s a really big deal because then we have a very powerful weapon.”