Climate change is fueling wildfires, warns National Climate Assessment

Climate change is why California is burning, and thousands of its citizens displaced, injured, or killed by the wildfires that spread with never-before-seen intensity.

Says who?

The just-released U.S. National Climate Assessment, which Donald Trump's own administration released, but which the president seems to believe is a work of fiction.

The 2018 National Climate Assessment clearly links the rise of catastrophic wildfires with anthropogenic climate change.

Just this month, 85 people died in the Northern California Camp Fire, which is finally 100% contained.

That "firestorm" began on November 8, and raged with unprecedented speed, destroying nearly 14,000 homes and burning nearly 154,000 acres (62,000 hectares).

That's a burn area roughly five times the size of the city of San Francisco.

"There's questions about what's going to come back where that fire burned through," John Abatzoglou, an associate professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Idaho, told the New York Times. "Is it not going to regenerate as a forest? Are we going to see more grassland and shrublands?"

We may be witnessing the permanent deforestation of large swaths of indigenous forest in the Great West.

NYT. Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; data updated through 2017 by A. Park Williams. Link to source.

From an interactive feature by @PopovichN and @KendraWrites at @nytimes:

A warmer world makes for a more combustible country. That's the conclusion in the most comprehensive assessment of the effects of climate change on the United States, released by the Trump administration just weeks after the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history.

The report says the continued release of greenhouse gases from cars, factories and other sources will make fires more frequent, including very large fires that burn more than 12,400 acres. And wildfire risk in the United States won't just be a Western problem.

"One of the big warnings there is about the potential for increased fire in the southeast," said Andrew Light, a contributor to the report and a senior fellow at the World Resources Institute.

Human-caused warming has increased the area burned by wildfire in the Western United States, according to the report, "particularly by drying forests and making them more susceptible to burning."

A recent study cited by the report estimated the total acres burned in western forests under current climate conditions and in a model without human-caused warming. It found that half as much forest area would have burned between 1984 and 2015 in a world not warmed by climate change.

Climate Change Is Fueling Wildfires Nationwide, New Report Warns