The California fires are a climate-driven catastrophe

“Based on the U.S. National Climatic Data Center, average temperatures in California have been steadily increasing since the early 1900s. As drought conditions become more frequent and vegetation more dry, the risk of major wildfires will only grow.

According to a 2006 study of wildfires in the western U.S., recent decades have seen a four-fold increase in major wildfires, compared to the period from 1970 to 1986. The area burned by such fires has increased a staggering six-fold.

Amidst the roaring Thomas Fire in Ventura County this month, California Governor Jerry Brown called this the “new normal,” echoing the words of climate scientists around the world. That is, increased temperatures, droughts, and wildfires are not separate from the issue of climate change, and will likely continue as we move forward.

According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, five of the state’s twenty most destructive wildfires occurred within just the last three months of 2017 — the most destructive being the TUBBS Fire in Sonoma County that occurred earlier this fall. And it’s not just California.”

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