California is no stranger to forest fires, every year thousands of acres are scorched by fires fueled by dry brush and dead trees. Fire is a natural force of nature and in California it is something that is prepared for very carefully. But now there is a new element to contend with, climate change.
It seems that there is almost nothing that isn’t effected in some way by climate change. Now according to a new study, California fires may also be impacted to the changes in climate. According to the study, climate change stands to make California wildfires more frequent and more destructive.
Published recently in the journal environmental research letters, the study found that destructive fires in California have increased in both number and severity over the last decades, a change the authors pin at least in part on the planet’s warming climate.
The study also identifies not one, but two distinct fire seasons for California. First there is the well-known Santa Ana season which is known for the high winds that blow hot and dry air all through the southern part of the state. The Santa Ana have fed some of the worst fires in recent California history. There is also the summer season in which dry, sun-warmed vegetation falls prey to wildfire. Each season has its characteristic fire patterns… and climate change seems to be making each season worse.
The study was conducted by scientists from the University of California at Irvine, UC Davis, and UCLA, as well as the U.S. Forest Service and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. During the study period, it was noted that fires increased in frequency and severity suggesting that climate change, a generally warming, drying climate in California, might be creating conditions more conducive to fires.
Thanks to the studies, more planning and preparation will be done in order to be ready for the increased risk property as well as natural resources.