We Need to be Careful on Wildfire & Climate Ties
Tuesday, October 10, 2017
We need to be careful about citing every intense wildfire as tied to climate change. California has a natural fire ecology, frequently severe fires, high fire risk, heavy fuel loading, and complex wildland urban interface. Plus, it's fire season in southern California, and a known period of high winds around the state.
Heavy rains last winter also likely facilitated the growth of more grass and other light to medium fuel available to spread fire... especially in high winds.
Active fire suppression since 1910 has increased fuel loading and decreased forest health. Other forest health and hydrology issues also contribute to fire risk. Extended drought led to large areas of bug-killed timber in many areas, which would not have suddenly healed as the drought has mitigated.
The influence of climate on these particular fires would be difficult to ascertain. No one wins against high winds on a day with high fire danger and many ignitions in a land with a well known fire regime - including a highly flammable landscape. Fire science is fire science.
And science matters. Let's talk about it.
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This post was originally published on the Counterfear Facebook page on 10/10/2017. Posted here 10/13/2017.
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