Climate Change = Threat Multiplier

Again, there seems to be a misunderstanding...or plain misinformation perpetuated by certain voices in the media...about the causative agent behind the current wildfires as it relates to climate change.

No, climate change doesn't literally start a fire. But climate change is a threat multiplier. It can make an area more likely to be hotter and drier more years than previously, drying out vegetation, making fire events more likely, and those events bigger than previous years/decades. A lightning strike, arson, or a gender-reveal party mishap starts the fire...but climate change sets the stage. Yes, land/forest management practices can also set the stage for bigger fires, like local heating of cities is also attributable to increasing urbanization and a warming heat island. But the rise in temperatures is a global phenomenon occurring and having a part in the equation, regardless of local changes to the landscape. It's not just one thing or another, as all anthropogenic changes add up. Climate change is just, by far, the biggest. 

---Meteorologist Nick Humphrey

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