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This Year's Wildfires Are Bad. Climate Change Will Make Future Ones Worse


This Year's Wildfires Are Bad. Climate Change Will Make Future Ones Worse

Anthony LeRoy Westerling

Once again, it is fire season in the western United States.

This month, the extreme fire that seems to test the bounds of our recent, place-based memory of how fires behave is the Sand Fire burning north of Los Angeles.


The problem is the heat and aridity due to drought conditions. People forget that old growth forests were never cleared of brush over centuries. There aren't many old growth forest patches left but they are also subject to these fires. The problem is systemic change. Someone reset the temperature/aridity button too high for the forest already there. Combine that with too many people and you have problems. The old saw about suppressing fires too much applies to some areas but this dryness and heat makes for flash fire conditions where freaking sparks can set off a conflagration.

It is not that what you said is wrong because for some areas it isn't but that situation does not apply over the whole western US. What happens is that any fire burns too hot and it consumes even the fire resistant older trees. The land and the timber are too dry overall. Too hot is just that in terms of moisture levels. It is too hot and the land is then too dry and ends up being too fire prone.

The solution is dealing with global warming. Even the Amazon is beginning to dry out because it is too hot which causes too much moisture to remain in the atmosphere instead of falling as rain.

Too hot equals too dry at ground level.


Wow did I say all that and in such broad terms too? Here I was reffering specifically to the idea that we have caused these fires because of understory build up which we then do not let burn. My comment was that while that is true in some areas, old growth was never cleared of brush but now even these relatively pristine woodlands are burning because overall the climate is too hot and dry. I was just pointing out that it isn't only because of the brush.

I don't know what that sentence means. Sorry.

My false solution? Do you mean fixing the climate? I know we have reached many tipping points and after all these months i know that you know I feel that way so I don't get the gamesmanship here.

Release control? What does that even mean? Also stop putting words in my mouth and then start arguing as if I said them.

Why do you equate flue gas with open air forestry management? By the way the Forest Service has in many areas suspended what you call pre-burn because of the extreme hazard of so hot and dry conditions.

Adaptation? Why don't you ever explain yourself and what you mean? Adaptation in stride with mitigation etc... no one knows what you mean by these terms. Thermostat Ecosphere?

Um? Whatever man.