Recently, high temperatures in California have sparked numerous wild fires throughout the state. Experts attribute these raging blazes to the dry conditions, heat waves, and human behavior. Despite all these allegations, Leah Stokes, a professor and researcher on climate from the University of California, Santa Barbara, believes otherwise. She stated that the real reason these fires have taken place is because climate change is happening right now in the state of California.
As the climate keeps changing, our planet is getting warmer, and as a result there are some changes that we are currently experiencing. The fire season in California has been expanding as the planet’s temperature keeps rising. This season in California is now two and a half months longer than in previous years. The heat waves keep skyrocketing with unprecedented numbers that has reached triple digits. The effect of climate change can be seen playing a part in these devastating fires. Research performed by scientists states that the world has a 500 percent increase in risk for wildfires than we ever did before. One of the reasons for this includes the hot and dry weather. Drought is caused mainly by climate change and it causes vegetation to die and dry up. Consequently, it creates dry bushes that can very easily spark up and under this dry and hot condition can produce a massive inferno in a short time, which is the situation currently happening with multiple California fires.
Wildfires are common in the western region of the United States and has always been a part of life there. However, with rapid changes in the climate getting drier and hotter, wildfires are increasing in size and speed. Scientists believe that California is entering a period of mega-fires. These types of fires are categorized by wildfires that burn areas larger than 40,500 hectares or 100,000 acres of land. The fires are burning at a scale that is beyond what they have experienced before. Dr. Stokes also believes that the reason for these large wildfires is because we are not taking the climate crisis seriously and fossil fuel emission around the world plays a major part in it. Fossil fuels are burned for electricity, transportation, and heat, creating carbon dioxide. As a result, greenhouse gases get released into the atmosphere. The vast increase in emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases have contributed to the temperature of our planet rising. California has become ground zero due to record hot and dry conditions across the state and high seasonal winds causing destruction throughout. Human lives have been lost, and many people have been forced to evacuate their homes, leaving them homeless. The fires also cause significant monetary losses. Current damages are close to $20 billion this year alone, as reported by Jill Cowam in a September article for the New York Times.
Preserving a livable planet should be a part of everyone’s goals. Today, there are many fires still burning, not only in California but in other states as well. We need to act in order to stop the deterioration of our planet. Stricter measures should be implemented to try to control the production of greenhouse gases that are causing so much damage to our planet. I think that if government agencies regulate the use of fossil fuels and increase the use of clean energy, that could make a difference. If we all take part and work together we might be able to achieve systemic changes to build a cleaner and healthier world for future generations to enjoy.