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.
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.”
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