Climate Change Lesson Number One from the California Fires

Whether climate change 'caused' the California fires is a red herring, argues disaster resiliency expert Dave Hampton, in this first part in a series on lessons from the California fires about climate change.

Read Time: 1 minute

December 28, 2017, 10:00 AM PST

By wadams92101


akiyoko / Shutterstock

Media reporting on the relationship between the recent devastating wild fires in California and climate change have demonstrated the confusion between attribution and contribution. While disasters like fires can never be directly attributed to climate change, Dave Hampton, a natural disaster resiliency specialist, argues there is little doubt climate change is: 

. . . creating the preconditions for them to occur or to be more intense or prolonged – such as the higher winds and an overall drier season that have driven the Skirball and Thomas fires, threatening nearly 200,000 acres in California . . . [The] point is, rather, not to get too hung up on causation for particular events, but rather to acknowledge the changing climate as a driver and contributor to making natural events events such as wildfires, droughts, and flooding more severe.

Accordingly, planning for the 'wildland-urban interface' will require heightened and more proactive measures than in the past. For more, see source article.

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