The Palette

How this year has already seen some of the worst wildfires to date

Kathryn Sandberg, Staff Editor

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Every state has its own unique geographical struggles. California, a dry desert, has annual forest fires. However, this year the state is seeing its worst fires yet. The hotter weather, combined with a drought, has created a deadly year for the California fires. It is predicted that with each passing year, the fires will get larger and larger due to global warming. In fact, of the five largest fires recorded in California history, four have occurred after 2012, and this year the Mendicino Complex Fire has taken first place. So far, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CDF) reported that 1,485,353 acres have been burned as of September tenth. The reported 6,153 fires are projected to cost the state billions, and thirteen people have been reported dead. One of the more destructive fires is the Carr fire, responsible for six of the thirteen deaths. Luckily, the Carr and Mendicino Complex Fires are reaching 100% containment with the Complex Fire being 98% contained.  

The reason for the more intense fires is largely due to climate change. The rising temperatures, combined with the dead foliage from the drought, has caused the perfect conditions for fires. In fact, this July was the hottest recorded. The heat doesn’t cause a fire, but rather, when the California fires inevitably start, they will become more severe. The increasing temperature will also lead to drier climates which will cause more dead plants. The California Public Utilities Commision predicts that “wildfires are expected to burn 77% more area by 2050”. Overall, it looks bleak for the future of California fires, but the effects aren’t irreversible and, if greater efforts are taken, the state can take control of the rampant fires.

 

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How this year has already seen some of the worst wildfires to date