UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain quoted widely on California’s record-setting wildfires

August 31, 2020

Daniel Swain (climate scientist with UCLA Institute of the Environment and Sustainability) was quoted in a number of news outlets to provide context about California’s record-setting wildfires in August 2020.

Photo Source: Unsplash

Since August 15, 650 active wildfires have burned through 1.25 million acres across the state. Extreme heat, rare storms and dry conditions brought by climate change have fueled the fires and complicated efforts to control them.

“I’m running out of superlatives,” Swain told the New York Times on August 25, 2020. “I actually don’t know of any vegetation type that is not on fire in California.”

Over 7,000 fires have burned 1.4 million acres across California this year; in comparison, by mid-August in 2019, 4,292 fires burned 56,000 acres across the state. Swain said he expected 2020 to have the greatest number of acres burned under California’s modern fire suppression regulations.

Additionally, Swain contributed to a recent Vox article that explores how California’s increasingly volatile climate has contributed to the increase in frequency and intensity of wildfires.

“It’s not just how hot are the heat waves; it’s how hot is it the rest of the time,” Swain said. “What really matters is the sustained warming and drying over seasons and years.”

Read more in The New York Times and Vox.

Additional coverage:

Climate crisis intensified the West Coast fire season, officials say-and scientists say it could get worse. CNN. September 14, 2020.

Climate scientist says California wildfires are “shocking” but “not scientifically surprising”. CNN. September 9, 2020.

California wildfires: Smoke turns skies orange. BBC News. September 10, 2020.

A Climate Reckoning in Fire-Stricken California. New York Times. September 10, 2020

Thousands evacuated as ‘once in a generation’ fires burn through Oregon. The Washington Post. September 9, 2020.

A sizzling summer: Hottest August on record in California. Los Angeles Times. September 10, 2020.

3 dead as wildfire explodes in Northern California. AP News. September 9, 2020.

6 of 20 largest California wildfires were in 2020. Axios. September 11, 2020.

Even Climate Scientists Are Freaked Out By This Year’s Wildfires. Buzzfeed News. September 10, 2020.

The fires raging out West are unprecedented. They’re also a mere preview of what climate change has in store. CNN. September 11, 2020.

‘Smoke Cyclone’ Seen in Satellite Images Above California Wildfires. Our Community Now. September 11, 2020.

A Siege of 80 large, uncontained wildfires sweeps the hot, dry West. Inside Climate News. September 9, 2020.

The Climate Crisis is Happening Right Now. Just Look at California’s Weekend. Propublica. September 9, 2020.

California Fires: Want to Control Blazes? Start More, Experts Say. The New York Times. August 26, 2020.

Scope of California’s Wildfires is Staggering. The New York Times. August 24, 2020. 

Lightning sparks new wildfires across California. AP News. August 16, 2020.

Climate chaos: Extreme heat, wildfires and record-setting storms suggest a frightening future is already here. CBS News. August 24, 2020. 

Destructive Bay Area fires fueled by rare mix of intense dry lightning and extreme heat. The Los Angeles Times. August 19, 2020.

How Climate Change is Contributing to California’s Bad Fire Seasons. KQED. August 26, 2020. 

Hurricanes, Wildfires, Climate Change and the Republican “Platform” and Convention. Legal Planet. August 26, 2020.

California Wildfires Destroy Condor Sanctuary, at Least 4 Birds Still Missing. EcoWatch. August 26, 2020. 

California’s Climate Tinderbox: A Scientist Explains the Fire Crisis. Bloomberg. August 25, 2020. 

California fires are supercharged by this prominent factor. Mashable. August 25, 2020. 

The Link Between Climate Change and Wildfires. KQED. August 25, 2020.

Worried about Bay Area smoke? Here’s how to look up the air quality in your microclimate. San Francisco Chronicle. August 25, 2020. 

Fast-moving California Wildfires Boosted by Climate Change. E&E News. August 24, 2020. 

‘The Bay Area dodged a bullet’: Monday lightning storms are mild as wildfires keep burning. San Francisco Chronicle. August 24, 2020.

Wildfires are an annual California nightmare now. Will they only get worse?. San Francisco Chronicle. August 23, 2020.

California’s devastating summer blazes are a bad omen for fall wildfire season. The Mercury News. August 21, 2020.

California and Colorado Fires May Be Part of a Climate-Driven Transformation of Wildfires Around the Globe. Inside Climate News. August 21, 2020.

More evacuations as massive fires rapidly expand in California. Bangkok Post. August 21, 2020.

California wildfires: thousands evacuate as ‘siege’ of flames overwhelms state. The Guardian. August 20, 2020.

Unhealthy air in parts of Bay Area as wildfire smoke chokes region. San Francisco Chronicle. August 20, 2020. 

Yes, climate change is almost certainly fueling California’s massive fires. MIT Technology Review. August 20, 2020. 

California wildfires: Little relief on horizon as fire siege pummels the Golden State. Ventura County Star. August 20, 2020.