Climate change increases the probability of wildfires for a number of reasons: warming temperature, altered precipitation level, and earlier Springs resulting in drier soil. These hot, dry conditions increase the likelihood that wildfires will be more intense and will burn longer, making them harder to put out.
Wildfires are highly detrimental to the environment and people’s health and livelihoods, destroying forests, agriculture, and communities. In 2018, more than 50,000 wildfires, across the US, burned more than 8 million acres. Led by California, 68 million tons of carbon dioxide were released in 2018 — the same amount as produced in a year to provide electricity to the state. Soil erosion, loss of biodiversity, and boosted health risks pose additional long-lasting consequences. The insurance industry in California is expecting payouts to exceed $11.8 billion for 2018, and in 2019, an estimated 350,000 will lose fire insurance.
Wildfires are extremely difficult to contain and this footage from the front lines shows why. Climate change is fueling fires not only nationwide, but also on a global scale, such as the case of unprecedented wildfires in the Arctic.