The study found that in a world of more intense wildfires, the costs to society will increase significantly. If humans are not able to adapt and fight these fires better, our civilization could be at risk for collapse as we know it by 2100.
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (CBSLA) – On Friday, the University of California, Los Angeles issued an alarming report on wildfires in Southern California claiming that the number of flames in the region might more than quadruple in the near future.
WHITTIER, CA – FEBRUARY 10, 2022: The wind-driven Sycamore fire off Banyon Rim Drive in Whittier, California burned two houses and damaged a third on February 10, 2022. (Getty Images/Gina Ferazzi / LOS ANGELES Times)
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The combination of the Santa Ana Winds – high temperatures and high-powered winds – combined with the dry environment slammed Whittier and Laguna Beach on the same day earlier in February, reminding residents of the area’s proclivity for brush fires.
A brush fire that erupted in the slopes behind their community in Whittier destroyed three houses. The flames spread so swiftly that firemen didn’t even have time to alert the homeowners before one of the houses was entirely consumed.
Now, one of the burned-out houses’ next-door neighbors tells CBS reporters that the tragedy has made her more conscious of the safeguards she should take in the event that the next one occurs sooner rather than later.
“It’s absolutely eye-opening….” “Especially in February,” Sandra Rosales, who has just been in the neighborhood for three months, remarked. Although wildfires are now less common in February, according to the research, fire season might arrive much sooner and last much longer in the future.
According to the analysis, the number of high-risk fire days might almost double to 58 days per year by 2100, based on the possibility for average temperatures to rise. This is assuming a 9-degree rise in temperature throughout that time period. Even if they rise by 6 degrees in the same time span, average high-risk fire days would grow by 60%.
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“You get that heated, dry air,” says the narrator. It dries up the fuels, which makes them easier to ignite and burn faster,” said Glen MacDonald, a UCLA Climate Scientist who contributed to the research. “It’s not a good mix.”
Despite the fact that these forecasts are for decades in the future, the current spate of brush fires in the region has many people worried.
“As the temperature rises, the vapor pressure deficit worsens, fuels get dryer, and we have more and more days when all of these factors come together, giving us the potential for a huge fire,” he concluded.
MacDonald presented suggestions for how Southern Californians might begin to reduce the likelihood of future generations having to cope with these severe developments.
He suggested that countries continue to strive to “lower greenhouse gas emissions” on a global scale. “More fire-hardening of our architecture and construction, more defensible space around buildings,” he urged on a more local scale.
Rosales shared this sentiment, particularly when one of the very early flames touched so near his home.
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“It’s something we need to be more careful about if it’s year-round,” she added. “As a community, we’re simply learning a little bit more about it so we can avoid calamities,” says the author.