The Carr Fire continues to burn across Northern California on Monday. The fire has killed at least six people and destroyed more than 700 homes thus far, burning across over 150 square miles. California’s recurring drought conditions have led students and professors alike to speculate that climate change may be a factor in the recent increase in wildfire frequency.
NYU Washington Square News: Wayne Chen think the “wildfire in California demonstrates our vulnerability.”
• Wildfires show “just how unprepared we are against mass destructions like these, all while the Environmental Protection Agency is withdrawing its financial support.”
• Additionally, “with a recent spike in winds and a rise in average temperature, this could very well evolve into a regular pattern.”
• “Alex Hall, a climate researcher at UCLA, said that drier winds, resulting from global warming, is to blame. The wildfire adds to a long list of natural disasters whose cause is attributed to climate change, including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which together devastated Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.”
UC Berkeley Daily Californian: Jessie Qian publicizes research finding that “human activity and climate change both play important roles in causing wildfires in California.”
• The new UC Berkeley study “concluded that in many areas of California, human activity accounts for about half of the total wildfire count.”
• “The study also found that failure to include human activity in future fire estimates could significantly overstate the correlation between wildfires and climatic change.”
• “The study also found that California and the U.S. Forest Service reported spending more than $5 billion on wildfire suppression in the state between 1999 and 2011.”
The Bottom Line:
Wildfires are becoming a significantly more common occurrence across the American West. These natural disasters cause significant destruction of both life and property, and they appear to be yet another negative consequence of anthropogenic climate change.