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3 Main Reasons Behind The Californian Wildfires

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Several large fires—the LNU Lightning Complex Fire, CZU Lightning Complex Fire, and the Hennessey Fire, have set major residential and recreational areas of Northern California ablaze, and they do not seem to peter out anytime soon. These massive fires are orchestrated by an amalgamation of factors like climate change, difficult wind conditions, and years of fire suppression. Over the years, these wildfires have become more severe, they last longer, and burned more hectares of land than at any other time in history.

Fires ignite for any number of reasons. While some fires do occur naturally—like those sparked by this week's lightning storm—most are inadvertently set by humans. Let’s take a quick look at the reasons why Wildfires start in the US.

1. Climate Change: While climate change doesn’t necessarily trigger wildfires, it does, however, significantly contribute to their extent. In recent times, global warming has led to less snowpack in the Sierras, less runoff in the spring, and less moisture for vegetation. This means that there is a lack of natural moisture to control fires, hence these rage with the intensity that we see today.

2. Strong gales: Incredibly high winds are largely the reason why California’s fires swell to such massive sizes. Gusts pick up embers and carry them along in the forest, they set ablaze new locations and restrict control of air support.

3. Irregular Wildfire management: Adept wildfire management has contributed to the buildup of fuel and detrimental vegetation in forest areas. Although some Californian forests are well-adapted to fire, the human-induced changes have disturbed their ecosystems and hence fires are occurring quite frequently.