Why Is Everything In California Burning?

3 min read

Wildfires in California have become a thing in 2017 and the last month of the year also started with alarming news of another breakout of a fire in California. Southern California has been engulfed in flames for a long time in this year and has caused quite a devastation to both the community and the natural cover. The fires are being fueled by a dangerous combination of heat, overgrown foliage, suburban sprawl and winds so terrible that early California settlers originally named them after the devil himself — Satana, which gave way to the less menacing term, the Santa Anas.

Modern fire suppression efforts have guaranteed that the new construction is occurring in shrubby, forested areas that have not burned in generations. Given that the California chaparral has evolved to tolerate regular fires, that means what is essentially tinder has accumulated for decades. Add to that last winter’s record rains, which nourished an explosion of plant growth. The record temperatures in the summer dried up all the vegetation, essentially making it a collection of tinder waiting to be burnt with just a small igniting spark.

When that spark came to areas across the region, weather conditions couldn’t have been worse: Multiple high-pressure systems have settled across the American West, forcing moisture-bearing Pacific storms to the north and bringing unusually dry weather from Seattle south to San Diego. Those high pressure systems, in turn, create low humidity levels and funnel high winds — some of hurricane velocity — from the inland deserts to the sea. There is no rain in the forecast for the foreseeable future and meteorologists predict the winds will continue into next week. When a fire breaks out in the tinder-dry brush or grasses, high winds can spread embers and burn vegetation with terrifying speed in landscape where humidity has sunk into single digits.

California is at the mercy of the winds with miles of dried up vegetation and looming hot weather.

Source – USA Today

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