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Wildfire and Water: Exploring Climate Change in the American West - Part IV

In part three of the “wildfire and water” series, Jessa and Emma talk to ISU Geosciences graduate student Sarah Newcomb about the “water” aspect of Idaho’s environment, and how climate change is affecting our state’s water cycle.

Water cycles are an unseen but crucial part of Idaho’s ecological system. Continuing the conversation with Dr. Hicke, Sarah Newcomb helps us understand why water and fire are intricately connected, and how those geological and ecological mechanisms that connect them are now being disrupted with climate change. Through this new series, Jessa and Emma would like to inform their listeners about wildfire and water trends in Idaho, and also look into how scientists in and around Idaho are responding to climate change.

Sarah’s graduate profile explains her academic interests: I'm interested in how climate change is impacting water resources across the Western United States. Specifically, my research aims to characterize how nonperennial headwater streams respond to drought and the role of plant water use, groundwater age, and precipitation phase in either exacerbating or buffering this response.

For comments, topic suggestions, or more information, please reach out to Jessa at and Emma at

Jessa is in her final year of her undergraduate career, pursuing three majors: English with Creative Writing, History, and Global Studies with an emphasis in French Language and Literature. She is a published author through ISU's Black Rock & Sage literary magazine and hopes to join the Sustainability Club at ISU. Her sustainability journey began with her year abroad when she interned for Letters to the Earth, an organization dedicated to environmental sustainability. She hopes to work for Amnesty International until she can write books in the mountains full time.