Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
If you make a contribution of $150 or more, you will become an official “Friend of the Planet” and receive a Friend of the Planet T-shirt or water bottle. You can also submit opinion essays to us for our consideration for posting on our new “Bright Ideas” op-ed page.
Red Cross wildfire emergency shelter in Northridge, CA, October 2019. Image: Dean Musgrove/LADaily News/SCNG
According to a new analysis by Stanford University, climate change has doubled the number of extreme-risk days for California wildfires. As Scientific American explained that researchers found that temperatures rose about 1.8° F statewide while precipitation dropped 30% since 1980. That doubled the number of autumn days—when fire risk is highest—with extreme conditions for the ignition of wildfires.
The Study: The analysis revealed that the Golden State’s climate has shifted considerably in recent decades.
The five warmest years on record occurred from 2014 to 2018.
Over the past century, temperatures have risen year-round “with the most pronounced warming in the late summer and early autumn.”
And there’s evidence of how climate change is compounding wildfire risk. Scientific American explained that in November 2018, the Camp Fire—the deadliest on record—rampaged through Paradise, a small community in the northern Sierra Nevada foothills. The fire burned in a region that historically would have seen 5 to 10 inches of rain by that time of year–instead, vegetation was tinder.
Not Prepared for Fires: The LA Times reported that although top emergency officials say they are hopeful that the spread of COVID-19 will taper off by the time serious fire weather arrives in the fall, the outbreak has already forced departments to:
put large training exercises on hold,
cancel controlled burns
and delay inspections of fire-prone properties in Los Angeles.
Around the country, as CNBC wrote, Firefighters are ill or under quarantine. Others worry they’ll contract the virus in crowded base camps during wildfire outbreaks. And fewer personnel will be available for emergency calls since the public health crisis has delayed new hiring and training.
Then there’s the question of how to evacuate people when they are under shelter in place orders, emergency shelters during an outbreak of a highly transmissible disease could present more danger than the fires themselves.
Why This Matters: We can’t predict when emergencies will occur, all we can do is be prepared. If the coronavirus has shown us anything it’s that we’re shockingly unprepared to react to emergency situations and many costly missteps could have been prevented had a protocol been in place. That’s why it’s so important for FEMA to issue guidance for how COVID-19 may affect emergency responses and what we can do to be ready–something Senator Kamala Harris has been asking for weeks.
by Julia Fine, ODP Contributing Writer Climate change is transforming the taste of Burgundy wine grapes, National Geographic reported. According to a study published last year out of Climate of the Past, which examined almost 700 years of wine records from Beaune, France, from 1354 until 1987, grapes were “on average picked from 28 September […]
As Axios reported yesterday based on insight received from the Biden campaign: foreign policy will look drastically different if Joe Biden defeats President Trump in November— starting with a Day One announcement that the U.S. is re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement and new global coordination of the coronavirus response. Why This Matters: Even though most […]
A new study shows that climate change in the 150 years since the industrial revolution has canceled out the prior 6500 years of cooling. The study, conducted by researchers at Northern Arizona University’s School of Earth and Sustainability (SES), examined a new compilation of paleoclimate data along with new statistical analyses and found that millennial-scale […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.