SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – Fall colors are already dotting our mountains and it’s not even Labor Day. We wanted to know why autumn, at least its colors, appear to be early this year.
Driving up Millcreek Canyon it looks as though fall is here. Red, orange and even yellow leaves already paint the mountain side.
"We live up in the mountain and we're noticing it looks beautiful, but we know that something's up with the change of color,” said Millcreek resident Julie Tregeagle.
While it's beautiful, the change is coming about a month early.
Sherry Moffat said, "Everyone has been saying oh the colors are change and I said ‘yes, that's not a good thing.’"
We went to the Department of Natural Resources to find out what's going on along the Wasatch front.
Director Dick Buehler said, "Typically the turning of the leaves is based on the length of day."
We have plenty of sunshine, but that's only half the equation. The photosynthesis requires two elements: sunlight and water.
"We've got plenty of sunlight; the component we don't have a lot of is the water,” explained Buehler. “So because of the lack of water the trees have decided that it's time to go into dormancy."
Buehler says it really stresses the trees out to try to find water when there's no water available so they just stop growing. They start to drop their leaves and get ready for winter and this has resident wondering what's going to happen to fall.
Tregeagle said, "Last year it was beautiful. We had tons of rain and it came at the appropriate time when the temps and dropped. This is earlier and definitely not seasonal so it's definitely not real seasonal so we knew something is strange."
Now there is some good news. The DNR said with the leaves turning earlier it means there will be less fuel for the wildfires and for hunters, it means they’ll be able to spot their prey easier.