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Indybay Feature
Mon Sep 14 2020 (Updated 09/22/20)
"These Are Climate Fires"
Climate Change Takes Center Stage as the West Coast Burns and Burns
In Northern California, more than 10,000 lightning strikes triggered hundreds of fires in August. Tens of thousands have been forced to evacuate. Smoke from the fires pushed air quality throughout the state to dangerously unhealthy levels. While fire is normal in California, the sort of out-of-control wildfires that spread rapidly and burn ferociously every few weeks are neither natural nor inevitable.

Wetter weather earlier in the year results in greater brush growth which then dries out when hotter-than-usual weather later in the year turns it into fuel. Climate scientists predicted that “a much greater number of extremely wet and extremely dry weather seasons” will “have a major effect on the lives of Californians.”

President Trump has said little about the wildfires raging in California, Oregon and Washington for weeks, other than to suggest poor forest management was primarily to blame. “These are climate fires,” says Timothy Ingalsbee, an Oregon-based wildland fire ecologist and former wildland firefighter who now directs Firefighters United for Safety, Ethics, and Ecology. “Though some scientists hesitate to attribute a single event to climate change, these are exactly the conditions predicted by climatologists.”

photo Karuk Tribe Declares State of Emergency due to Deadly Slater Fire | photo “These Are Climate Fires”: Oregon Firefighter Ecologist Says Devastating Blazes Are a Wake-Up Call | The True Facts About the Oregon Fires, With a Video Proving It | photo California: The Center of the White-West is Burning | Fighting Fire With Fire: What Tribal People Know About Forest Ecosystems | photo Arrest at Extinction Rebellion Protest

See Also: The Day the Sky Turned Orange

Related Feature: Clean Air and Fire Safety Concerns at Mendocino Wood Pellet Plant | Fires & Blackouts: Californians Call for Public Takeover of PG&E (2019) | Fire Season of 2018 Brings Historic Devastation | PG&E's Role in Deadly Wildfires Questioned (2017)
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