Climate-change-related declines in western spring snowpack, and increased evaporation from higher … Accuracy and availability may vary. Thank you so much for taking the time today. Climate change will continue to drive temperature rise and more unpredictable rainfall in many parts of the world, meaning that the number of days with “fire weather” – conditions in which fires are likely to burn – is expected to increase in coming decades, says Kirchmeier-Young: Human-induced climate change promotes the conditions on which wildfires depend, increasing their likelihood -- according to a review of research on global climate change and wildfire … In turn, wildfires are aggravating climate change by killing trees that could absorb carbon in the atmosphere. Wildfire has far-reaching impacts that can ripple through communities, regions, watersheds, and ecosystems. I got caught in the middle of the Bear Fire. I walked out of my house today at 3:15 in the morning, and the first thing that hit my face was ash. As he notes, “climate change is occurring and playing a role in warmer temperatures and heatwaves”. Download (pdf, 1 MB), Across the United States, the risk of drought is expected to grow due to reduced precipitation and higher temperatures caused by climate change. In 2019, wildfires caused an estimated $4.5 billion in damages in California and Alaska. And immediately, my throat and nose could smell the woodsmoke. HALL: You know, when I had talked to him, it seemed like we were all on the same page that everything was going to be OK. And then it wasn't. Wildfires have burned in six states on the west coast. But let's start with the southwest and west drying out. “It’s well established that climate change has impacted aridity and dryness of fuels and decreased soil moisture. And fire officials say things are moving so fast that they don't have a good estimate. People are living under orange skies amid ashes. New research documents how a warming climate contributes to patterns in wildfire severity and frequency and how the fires contribute to climate change. And the fires are still growing. Climate change is exacerbating the severity of the wildfires on the West Coast, but prior and current forest management decisions, and politics, also play a huge role. The evacuation zone has steadily moved towards the southern edge of Portland. There are 3,000 firefighters working across the state. Between Wednesday and Thursday, it came about 10 miles closer. More than 25 million acres of California wildlands are classified nder very high or extreme fire threat.Approximately25 percent of the state’s We're also driving the destruction that we're now seeing because we've moved into areas that historically have burned. MILLER: Well, there's - God, there's so many reasons why. In other words, though climate change does not cause the heat waves or fires, it sets the stage so that when conditions are ripe, like the summer and fall of … Not only is the average wildfire season three and a half months longer than it was a few decades back, but the number of annual large fires in the West has tripled — burning twice as many acres. And then beyond that, you kind of just accept it for what it is. MARTIN: Now let's go to Oregon, where the wildfires have now forced about 500,000 people from their homes. So when wind starts picking up the desiccated plants, the fuel is burning, and then it's moving quickly. The Essentials. Wildfire activity in the United States is changing dangerously, particularly in the west, as conditions become hotter and drier due to climate change. More than 3 million acres have burned in California this year. The wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of homes and blanketed entire cities with smoke are unprecedented, but climate scientists warn that these events could grow far … The year 2018 was California's worst wildfire season on record, on the heels of a devasting 2017 fire season. She and her husband had to evacuate their home in nearby Molalla. MILLER: Yeah. Alex spoke with the owner, Ty Gillett. But it's still important to include them in the calculations for reaching the greenhouse gas reduction targets in the Paris climate agreement. I mean, did policymakers, did, you know, local leaders - did they see this coming this year? They have no idea where the fire is exactly. I am so, so sorry to hear about your business. The 2018 wildfire season went on to also break records as the deadliest and most destructive season on record in California. That's the thing I dread the most - is not knowing. The science of how climate change impacts fires in the West TY GILLETT: We're trying to save the store and get prepared for when the fire gets here. Climate change contributes to more and bigger wildfires in a variety of ways. ARMANDO MENDOZA: I got caught in a fire. The state’sfire seasonis now almost year round. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Char Miller, Director of Environmental Analysis at Pomona College about the the fires and climate change. So what is driving all these explosive wildfires, and how much does climate change factor into it? Severe heat and drought fuel wildfires, conditions scientists have linked to climate change. But as a result, then, I mean, have people been able to predict this? NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. Things are moving so fast that they did n't pack anything, not in the calculations for reaching greenhouse! 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