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The Relation between Climate Change and Wildfires by City Tech Blogger Ronaldo Carhuaricra

According to American Journalist, George Packer “Climate Change joined immigration, job creation, food safety, pilot training, veteran’s day, campaign finance, labor law, mine safety, wildfire management, and scores of executive and judicial appointments on the list of matters that the world’s greatest deliberative body is incapable of addressing”. This means that different factors such as environmental issues and social issues have paired into climate change.  I agree with this quote because of the recent and continuous wildfires that have occurred in different areas worldwide. The reason why I am writing about this is because of the recent wildfire in California, I asked myself, “Why was this wildfire so devastating and what can the US government do in order to prevent this?

Climate change is the dramatic change in global and regional climate patterns and it might be behind the spread of wildfires. Since many of the causes for wildfire are the results of climate change such as the increase in average temperature and earlier snowmelt on different mountains.  Wildfire is defined as the spread of fire in a large combustible area and rural cities are vulnerable to this and their population is affected and potential victims of this.  Wildfire and climate change would become a potential issue in the future if it is not dealt properly now. It has different causes and consequences on people as well as the environment.

Climate change has caused wildfires in several ways. One way is by the increase in temperature. The increase in temperature is due to the greenhouse gas effect, which is defined as the process where the earth’s surface is warmth due to the solar radiation coming from the sun. Some of this radiation is sent back to the space and some of it is absorbed by the land and the ocean causing the earth to heat up. Then some of the heat is trapped in the atmosphere and activities like burning fossil fuels, agriculture, and land clearing are increasing the amount of greenhouse gas released into the atmosphere. This extra heat will cause the temperature to increase and will also melt the snow mountain earlier. In addition, warmer temperatures tend to increase evaporation which makes the atmosphere draw more moisture from soils, and this is leading to drier conditions. These two effects will also increase the likelihood of the duration of the wildfire and will create an even more devastating fire.

Some of the causes for wildfire are the following. One is lightning and there are two types of causes for lightning that leads to wildfire, natural and unnatural. Lightning is a natural cause that leads to wildfire. It has two classifications, cold lightning and hot lighting. The main difference is the intensity and duration, where cold lightning has a high intensity but lasts for a short period of time and hot lighting has a low intensity but lasts longer. Thus, hot lightning tends to cause wildfire. Unnatural causes are human activity such as smoking, land-use, and fire exclusion. In fact, forests are becoming drier and this increases the threat of wildfires. Climate change is also a main factor for wildfire, with the increase of temperature the intensity and consequences for wildfire is more devastating.

The effects of wildfire are costly and devastating but there are different ways to prevent this. Only in the USA, 11 forest fires have occurred since 2000 and have caused at least $1 Billion USD in damages each. Most of it comes from the loss of homes and infrastructure as well as firefighting cost.  It also affects the environment since wildfires burned down several trees and nature on its way.  In fact, wildfires have burned more than 10 million acres across the United States and it has also caused air pollution.  Currently, different cities around California, such as San Francisco and Sacramento, are dealing with the dirtiest air coming from the recent wildfire and this could affect the health of millions of residents in ways of eye and respiratory illness.  Another consequence is the change in the ecosystem and damage to habitats of several animals who reside in the affected areas.  However, there are different ways to make wildfires less devastating such as smart zoning rules.  This could be done by discouraging residential development near forests and increasing the space among structures and nearby threes and brush.  Also, including fire-resistant design feature and materials in the buildings and houses nearby forests.  In addition, it is important to note that dead trees must be removed immediately since these dead trees fuel the wildfire when happening.

Wildfire is caused by several factors and has severe consequences in different ways.  Climate change is increasing its intensity and duration. It is estimated that the average annual increase of 1 degree Celsius or 34 degree Fahrenheit will increase the median burned area per year and much as 600 percent in some types of forests. Above all, wildfires are lasting longer during wildfire seasons and this is due to the rapid boost in temperature, the forest are drier, and snow is melting sooner than ever, and this would cause wildfire to burn more land as temperatures keep rising. It is important to note that climate change should be dealt with today and the choices that different worldwide leaders make today are critical and would determine how much temperature increases.  Nevertheless, wildfires are not unquestionably bad; it is actually natural and beneficial for different parts of the ecosystem. In fact, some wildfires are needed to in order for the ecosystem to stay health. The biggest problem is that as wildfires keep occurring more often and its intensity increases, then they become important contributor of greenhouse gas emission that causes the earth to warm faster.  Thus, it is critical to raise awareness about the different ways to deal with wildfire and climate change in order to fight and decrease the amount of greenhouse gases to prevent increased temperatures.








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