Climate change is increasing the size, frequency, and intensity of wildfires as well as the length of the fire season. All fire needs to burn is an ignition source and plenty of fuel. While climate change might not ignite the fire, it is giving fires the chance to turn into catastrophic blazes by creating warmer temperatures, increasing the amount of fuel (dried vegetation) available, and reducing water availability through earlier snowmelt and higher evaporation. Climate scientists have already identified the telltale fingerprint of climate change on wildfire activity in the past decade.
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An outburst of wildfires that broke out over the past week amid triple-digital temperatures across the West has forced thousands of evacuations and choked the air with smoke as strong winds complicated firefighting efforts.
Across the Western United States, wildfires are growing larger and more severe as global warming intensifies. At the same time, new data shows, more Americans than ever are moving to parts of the country more likely to burn, raising the odds of catastrophe.
A wind-whipped fire that erupted near a defunct lumber mill in Northern California on Friday and became a fast-moving inferno has destroyed at least 50 structures, including homes, and prompted the evacuation of thousands of people in rural Siskiyou County, fire authorities said on Saturday.
On July 29, 2021, Li Boyd woke up to the smell of smoke. It was her birthday — she was turning 38 — and she had rented a boat to take her parents and aunts out on the lake near her home in central Minnesota, about 90 minutes north of the Twin Cities. But that morning, when she looked outside her window and found a thick, yellow-gray haze, she figured it was best to avoid going outside. Her older family members all had respiratory issues, and as the day went on and the smoke grew thicker, she worried about how it would affect them. They celebrated in her house, sealing the windows as tightly as they could.
In just one weekend, the McKinney Fire, fueled by strong winds and high temperatures, burned more than 55,000 acres in Northern California, becoming the state’s largest wildfire so far this year. The blaze is only the beginning of the West’s fire season, which traditionally peaks between mid-July and October.
It is a sad truth that many parts of the world – including various parts of the United States – are now facing an increased risk of wildfires.
Wildfires are getting larger, more frequent and more severe in many areas. Although efforts are underway to create fire-adapted communities, it’s important to realize that we cannot simply design our way out of wildfire – some communities will need to begin planning a retreat.
The first that Michael Gilbert, a 67-year-old rock climber and bellman, heard of the fire in Yosemite National Park was from a mother and daughter who drove up breathless on Friday.
Fire activity is expected to increase in several US states over the coming months, according to a newly released outlook from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC), with parts of the Pacific north-west, northern California, Texas, Hawaii and Alaska forecast to be among those hardest hit by fire conditions in the months ahead.