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Articles and Investigations – ProPublica: New Maps Show How Climate Change is Making California’s “Fire Weather” Worse


As California continues battling its worst wildfire season on record, new research shows that fall fire weather days — days with high temperatures, low humidity and high wind speeds — will double in parts of the state by the end of the century and will increase 40% by 2065. On these days all it takes is a spark from a downed power line, or a hammer hitting a metal stake. A small fire can grow into an inferno at startling speed.

The biggest increases in the number of these fall fire weather days will come along the coast and in the Sierra Nevada. That means more fires in places like Yosemite National Park, which had to close last month due to smoke, and in the Los Angeles-Orange County megalopolis. By 2050, if emissions continue unabated, L.A. could see up to 12 days of severe fire weather each fall, and Yosemite as many as 14.

California’s fire season typically runs from July to December, but September through November are especially deadly — and this September was the hottest and the most fiery on record. The Creek Fire, Bobcat Fire, El Dorado Fire, Glass Fire, Slater/Devil Fire, Zogg Fire … the burning never stopped, the smoke never cleared. They won’t for some time.

See how the number of fire weather days may increase in California.

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Articles and Investigations – ProPublica