Udayavni Special

Why is California prone to wildfires?

Team Udayavani, Aug 22, 2020, 2:35 PM IST

Around 400,000 acres have been burned in Northern and Central California due to sudden surge of wildfires burning through California

More than 48,000 people, including the campus of the University of California, Santa Cruz have been evacuated.

In 2018, a study published in the journal Environmental Letters suggested there are two separate fire seasons in Southern California. One, from June to September, is driven by warm, dry winds, sparking inland fires.

The other fire season lasts from October through April and is driven by the famed Santa Ana winds, which blow west from the Great Basin and Mojave desert, sweeping over the Transverse Mountain Range and down into the valley

Fires ignite for a number of reasons. But in California the climate is dry. Most of its moisture in the fall and winter. But it spends much of the summer slowly drying out because of a lack of rainfall and warmer temperatures.

Also, Indian Express report claims that each fall, strong gusts known as the Santa Ana winds bring dry air from the Great Basin area of the West into Southern California. Santa Ana winds not only dry out vegetation, they also move embers around, spreading fires.

While some fires do occur naturally like those sparked by this week’s lightning storm most are inadvertently set by humans

However, Experts claim the fires in California are mostly triggered by humans. Most of the deadly fires have been started by downed power lines.


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