Was Trump Right About Cali Wildfires?

Scientists weigh in
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2018 3:35 PM CST
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President Donald Trump tours Paradise, Calif., with Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom, California Gov. Jerry Brown, Paradise Mayor Jody Jones and FEMA Administrator Brock Long, right, during a visit to a neighborhood impacted by the wildfires, Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018, in Paradise, Calif.   (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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(Newser) – With President Trump blaming forest management for California wildfires, many wonder about the role of climate change—and scientists say it is a factor, National Geographic reports. While wildfires are normal in California, the state's fires have generally gotten larger since 2000 as hotter and drier years go on record. That means warmed air is drawing water from soils and plants, making shrubs, trees, and grasslands more likely to burn. The summer dry season is also getting longer, letting plants get drier. "We've been lengthening fire season by shortening the precipitation season, and we're warming throughout," says UCLA climate scientist Daniel Swain. "That's essentially what’s enabled these recent fires to be so destructive, at times of the year when you wouldn't really expect them." For more, including Fox News' take:

  • Wet and dry: Climate change also brings high variations of rain and snowfall, making some years wet and others dry, per VOA News. That means more fire-starting growth some years, and drier growth other years—perfect for a wildfire.

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