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Climate Change and California Wildfires by City Tech Blogger Terence Cox

The state of California is naturally burdened with limited along with hot and dry winds because of these two factors, many of California’s forest turn into wildfires. California’s forests runs dry during the summer since there’s not much rainfall, and when this occurs many plants and vegetation become susceptible to ignition. Without human interference, a forest fire may form from a lightning strike or spontaneous combustion of something that ignites at a low temperature like leaves or sawdust. Even though California has been prone to wildfires, the magnitude of its wildfires has been slowly increasing, and scientists believe that climate change is responsible for it. This year alone there has been more land damaged by wildfires than the previous years; totaling to almost 10.2 million acres of land which includes houses, businesses, and other properties. The last time that this amount of land was consumed was in 2008, but considering that fire controlling techniques have gotten better in the past decade this still should come as a surprise.

The increase in temperature on earth is increased by 3 degrees due to climate change. This causes the drying out of plants and vegetation to happen sooner, extending the time these plants are vulnerable to ignition and making them harder to put out when they ignite. Once a forest ignites it’s almost impossible to stop it from spreading to nearby foliage; firefighters must mow down a few trees in the forest surrounding the fire to form a barrier that separates the fire from other combustible foliage to contain it; this takes away fuel from the fire. Many citizens and firefighters have died from wildfires, and the ones who survived must deal with migration from their homes. The loss of their possessions not to mention with the destruction of the forest, forest animals will also have to migrate to other habitats; disrupting the ecosystems.  These wildfires are expensive to contain; in 2017  the country spent about 2.9 billion just to fight them; money which could have easily been used for other means. Even though climate change isn’t the reason wildfires break out, they are a factor to why they’ve been getting worse over the years. Climate change is a topic that has been hard to place on the table since some strong political figures such as Donald Trump have.



“How Do Firefighters Put out the Wildfires?” WFMZ, WFMZ, 3 Feb. 2017, www.wfmz.com/weather/how-do-firefighters-put-out-the-wildfires_20160526092950977/16504622.

Kasler, Dale. “Worst Wildfire Year since When? More California Acres Have Burned in 2018 than the Past Decade.” Sacbee, The Sacramento Bee, 16 Nov. 2018, 3:29 PM, www.sacbee.com/latest-news/article221788220.html.

Levy, Gabrielle. “Wildfires Are Getting Worse, And More Costly, Every Year.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, 1 Aug. 2018, 5:17 PM, www.usnews.com/news/data-mine/articles/2018-08-01/wildfires-are-getting-worse-and-more-costly-every-year.

Pierre-Louis, Kendra. “Why Does California Have So Many Wildfires?” The New York Times, The New York Times, 10 Nov. 2018, www.nytimes.com/2018/11/09/climate/why-california-fires.html?module=inline.

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