News: California wildfires

In the past decade frequent wildfires have damaged lives and wildlife in various countries. In part wildfires are natural, however with the increasing temperatures we are experiencing around the world demonstrate that the intensity of these wildfires are a result of climate change. Last year the wildfires in Australia are a clear example with approximately 5.9 million hectares of land being burned, an area almost three times the size of Wales (White & Gilbert, 2020). Currently, we are experiencing a similar catastrophe on the West coast of the United States.

The wildfires in California have spread all along the West coast across Oregon and Washington. Many people have died as a result, as well as many acres of wildlife being scorched and habitats lost. Tens of thousands of people are being evacuated from their homes and as the fires continue to spread, people are announcing that this is a climate emergency.


The West coast of the United States is currently dealing with around one-hundred wildfires. Specifically, California is currently experiencing some of the largest wildfires to date whilst simultaneously experiencing its worst drought. The signs which show that this is a result of climate change are clearly visible. As California experiences its worst droughts and hottest temperatures, neighbouring states such as Colorado are experiencing snowy weather and strong winds. One consequence of extreme climate change is unpredictable weather patterns, therefore the situation in the United States demonstrates this clearly. Additionally, strong winds exacerbate the wildfire situation, increasing the probability that it will continue to spread.


However obvious the science may seem, continued denial that climate change is ruining lives and the environment still exists. For example, when President Trump was interviewed about these catastrophic wildfires all along the West Coast, he stated that science didn’t have the answers and that it will get cooler soon. This demonstrates an obvious lack of understanding from the president as decades of scientific research show a clear causation between the increasing temperatures around the world and the frequent wildfires as a result (Young et al. 2018).

Young et al. 2018

Sources:

https://disasterphilanthropy.org/disaster/2019-australian-wildfires/
⦁ White, J. Gilbert, D. (2020) Accessed online: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/02/australian-bushfires-numbers-highlight-sheer-scale-unfolding/
https://heavy.com/news/2020/08/california-fire-map-near-me-august-18-evacuations/
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-54130785?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/cjyq4rd3x3zt/california-wildfires&link_location=live-reporting-story
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-54097598?intlink_from_url=&link_location=live-reporting-story
https://www.newsweek.com/trump-dismisses-climate-change-wildfires-blaze-along-west-coast-1531828
⦁ Young, M. Gillett, N. Zwiers, F. Cannon, A. Anslow, F. (2018) ‘Attribution of the Influence of Human-Induced Climate Change on an Extreme Fire Season’. Earth’s Future, 7, pp. 2-10.

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