Is Climate Change Responsible For The Fires?

The oceans, skies, and animals have been first-hand feeling the effects of climate change, and the forests are now at the forefront of it.

Take the wildfires in Maui, for example. While they haven’t figured out the cause yet, one of the main theories is that climate change has something to do with it. In an interview with The Guardian, fire scientist Clay Trauernicht said that because climate change can cause extreme heat, it could have led to invasive grass spreading in Maui.

“These grasslands accumulate fuels very rapidly,” said Trauernicht. “In hotter conditions and drier conditions, with variable rainfall, it’s only going to exacerbate the problem.”

The grass could have caught fire, spread to the forests, and then the people. Some news outlets have shown a video of a strike of lightning on dry ground that could possibly have been the cause of the disaster.

Remember the Canadian wildfires? The ones that got so bad we felt it even here, in Chicago? They’re still going on. In fact, officials say that unprecedented drought and weirdly dry weather conditions are probably what caused the fires to get so bad.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau even said that climate change was the reason why there’s been so many forest fires, though Canadian Forest Service research scientist Ellen Whitman said it’s hard to know whether climate change played a role based on a single fire season.

In non-coastal regions, warmer atmospheres can pull the moisture from the soil, increasing the risk of fires.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has also been making connections to climate change and forest fires. A study done by them found that between 1984 and 2015, large fires have doubled in number across the United States. Climate change is causing things to be way drier, so it catches fire more easily.

All over the world the forests are feeling the effects of climate change. Maui is possibly the latest in a long line of wildfire disasters, and if we don’t do something soon, it won’t be the last.


By Inti Navia, Freshman, Columbia College Chicago

All Platforms: @intinavia


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Written by Inti Navia

I love nerding out over Star Wars, Gravity Falls, and Lord of the Rings. I'm an introvert with a never ending appreciation for all things Sci-Fi and fantasy media.

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