Climate Change

“California has a really flammable ecosystem,” University of Colorado fire scientist Jennifer Balch told the Associated Press. “People are living in flammable places, providing ignition, starting the wildfires against a backdrop of a warming climate that is making wildfires worse.”

Area burned by wildfire in California increased more than fivefold since 1972, from a five-year average of 236 square miles a year, to 1,394 square miles a year — according to a 2019 study by Columbia University fire scientist A. Park Williams, Balch and others.

About 97% of the fires in coastal California are started by people, either on purpose or accidentally, a study by Balch found.


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