Friday January 17, 2020
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Wildfire in California Causes Severe Distress To Citizens

Serious fires in California are increasingly frequent and violent

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Climate change, california, economic
Climate Change Fuels California Fires. Flickr

Some 30,000 people were evacuated after a wildfire broke out in California and engulfed houses and public buildings such as churches and schools in the town of Paradise.

The blaze named “Camp Fire” has burnt more than 8,000 hectares in less than 24 hours since it began on Thursday morning and continues to grow because of the dryness of the terrain and strong winds in the area, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Calfire).

No casualties have been reported yet but there are several people missing while some people have suffered serious burns, reports Efe news.

California
The Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. VOA

Evacuation orders were given on Thursday in the small towns of Pulga, Magalia and Concow in Butte County, as well as in the town of Paradise, with a population of about 26,000, and in the rural areas of Butte Creek Canyon and Butte Valley.

In the early hours of Friday, local authorities issued evacuation orders for parts of Chico, which has a population of 90,000, as flames were moving towards the city.

The area is about 140 km from state capital Sacramento and about 280 km from the San Francisco Bay area, where the smoke from the fire is visible.

California
A firefighter sprays the smoldering remains of a vehicle on Interstate 5 as the Delta Fire burns in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, VOA

The fire spread rapidly through very dry terrain, helped by strong winds of up to 80 km per hour.

Acting Governor of California, Gavin Newsom, requested the federal government for a presidential emergency declaration for physical and financial resources for the affected area.

Also Read: In 30 Years Cities Will Face Dramatic Rise In Heat And Flood: Researchers

Serious fires in California are increasingly frequent and violent, as evidenced by the fact that four of the five most destructive fires in the state’s history have occurred in the past six years, according to official records dating back to 1932.

In September, firefighters finally contained the Mendocino Complex fire, active since July and considered the largest in California’s history. (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s How Climate Change is Linked To Risk of Wildfires

At the global scale, burned area has decreased in recent decades, largely due to clearing of savannahs for agriculture and increased fire suppression

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Wildfires
Wildfires can't be prevented, and the risks are increasing because of climate change. This makes it urgent to consider ways of reducing the risks to people. Pixabay

Human-induced climate change has already increased the risk of wildfires globally, researchers say, adding that these wildfires will become more common in future.

In light of the Australian fires, researchers from the University of East Anglia, Met Office Hadley Centre, University of Exeter and Imperial College London have conducted a Rapid Response Review of 57 peer-reviewed papers published since the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report in 2013.

All the studies show links between climate change and increased frequency or severity of fire weather – periods with a high fire risk due to a combination of high temperatures, low humidity, low rainfall and often high winds – though some note anomalies in a few regions.

“Wildfires can’t be prevented, and the risks are increasing because of climate change. This makes it urgent to consider ways of reducing the risks to people,” said study researcher Iain Colin Prentice from Imperial College London.

Rising global temperatures, more frequent heatwaves and associated droughts in some regions increase the likelihood of wildfires by stimulating hot and dry conditions, promoting fire weather, which can be used as an overall measure of the impact of climate change on the risk of fires occurring.

Observational data, published on ScienceBrief, shows that fire weather seasons have lengthened across approximately 25 per cent of the Earth’s vegetated surface, resulting in about a 20 per cent an increase in global mean length of the fire weather season.

“Overall, the 57 papers reviewed clearly show human-induced warming has already led to a global increase in the frequency and severity of fire weather, increasing the risks of wildfire,” said study lead author Matthew Jones from the University of East Anglia.

“This has been seen in many regions, including the western US and Canada, southern Europe, Scandinavia and Amazonia. Human-induced warming is also increasing fire risks in other regions, including Siberia and Australia,” Jones added.

Wildfire, Forest, Fire, Blaze, Smoke, Trees, Heat
Human-induced climate change has already increased the risk of wildfires globally, researchers say, adding that these wildfires will become more common in future. Pixabay

“However, there is also evidence that humans have significant potential to control how this fire risk translates into fire activity, in particular through land management decisions and ignition sources,” Jones said.

At the global scale, burned area has decreased in recent decades, largely due to clearing of savannahs for agriculture and increased fire suppression. In contrast, burned area has increased in closed-canopy forests, likely in response to the dual pressures of climate change and forest degradation.

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“Fire weather does occur naturally but is becoming more severe and widespread due to climate change. Limiting global warming to well below 2 degree celsius would help avoid further increases in the risk of extreme fire weather,” said study researcher Richard Betts. (IANS)