Climate change’s impact on California’s increased wildfire risk is ‘quite hard to ignore’: Expert

29 September 2021

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USA – If it seems like wildfires across the state are only growing bigger and more devastating in recent years, statistics provided by Cal Fire appear to confirm it.

More than 5.5 million acres have burned on state and federal lands in California since the start of 2020. That’s more than the previous six years combined.

While the reasons for this are complicated-including population growth and forest management-scientists say climate change is certainly playing a big role.

“The trend is a real trend,” said Michael Goss, a postdoctoral scholar in earth systems at Stanford University.

“We can say pretty confidently that climate changes is impacting these variables,” Goss continued.

In a recent study, Goss and other researchers measured what is known as the fire weather index in fall seasons since the late 1970s, and said the index has jumped by about 20% over the past 40 years. The fire weather index is an indicator that takes into account factors like temperature and precipitation.

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