Climate change has been a key factor in increasing the risk and extent of wildfires in the Western United States.
Wildfire risk depends on several factors, including temperature, soil moisture, and the presence of trees, shrubs, and other potential fuel. According to the National Fire Information Center, fires are raging in 13 western states, and the factors driving them are numerous and varied.
Patrick Gonzalez, a forest ecologist at the University of California, Berkeley, told The New York Times that it is human-caused climate change, which is the major factor driving these fires. Some of the fires around coastal California were sparked by highly unusual lightning storms that followed a searing heatwave and severe drought that contributed to the death over the past decade of about 163m trees in California. The state has experienced devastating autumn wildfires in recent years. An article published in IOP Science states that autumn wildfires have coincided with extreme fire weather conditions during periods of strong offshore winds coincident with unusually dry vegetation enabled by anomalously warm conditions and late-onset autumn precipitation.
As per a report by the Center for Climate and Energy, climate change causes forest fuels (the organic matter that burns and spreads wildfire) to be drier and has doubled the number of large fires between 1984 and 2015 in the western United States. This climate change creates warmer, drier conditions that increase drought and longer fire season, increasing wildfire risk, according to the Center for Climate and Energy.
The recent El Dorado Fire, burning near Oak Glen in San Bernardino County, was caused by a firework set off at a gender-reveal party that flared 7,000 acres (2,800 hectares) of forestland. As the pyrotechnic device ignited, the dry wild grasses that had grown as tall as four feet in the meadow at El Dorado Ranch Park caught fire, about 80 miles east of Los Angeles, reported the Washington Post. These genders reveal parties are celebrated for announcing whether expecting parents will have a girl or a boy. The California Fire and Forest department has warned that strict actions will be taken against those responsible for starting the fire, the report said.
Therefore, several factors like climate change, human activities, temperature have directly or indirectly contributed to wildfires in California and other states in the U.S.