Western parts of the United States are in the grip of wildfires. There are nearly 80 of them, and these have devastated more than one million acres of land, destroyed homes and displaced people and wildlife. Trees have burnt, and the green cover, essential to maintain the ecological balance, has disappeared. Rebuilding the cover would be a long, drawn-out process. Moreover, the fires have led to blockage of roads and reduced travel options.

Daily Mail UK says most Continental United States would have to endure a massive “heat dome.” It would mean temperatures hotter than normal.

At some places, it could go beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed a state of emergency for four northern counties of California. He made no bones about the fact that wildfires were endangering the safety of persons and property. His proclamation would pave the road for more state support.

There could be many causes for wildfires

Wildfires could be from natural causes or manmade. Lightning was the reason for the July 4 fire in Alpine County. It destroyed at least ten buildings. Another fire is the Bootleg Fire in Oregon. It is still not contained and poses a threat to thousands of homes. There are about 80 major active wildfires in 13 Western states this week. The cumulative loss of acreage exceeds 1.3 million.

In the opinion of experts, these are symptomatic of Climate change. Daily Mail UK adds that the authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders in Butte County, California, because of the Dixie Fire. It could turn into the largest wildfire in the state this year. Forecasters caution that some dry thunderstorms produce little rain, but the lightning could spark new blazes.

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Heatwaves continue to scorch the West Coast, and there is no letup in wildfires.

It is becoming harder to fight wildfires

Daily Mail UK mentions climate change in the context of wildfires. It seems a combination of extremely dry conditions and recent heatwaves linked to climate change have made it difficult to fight wildfires.

The West has become much warmer and drier in the past three decades. The trend, unless checked, could worsen the situation. As a result, there could arise possibilities of an increase in the frequency of wildfires. Forest Service investigators concluded that a lightning strike from a storm led to the Bootleg fire in Oregon. Initially treated as a small fire and extinguished on June 30, it smoldered unnoticed and was reported as a major fire on July 6. There are no reports of fatalities or serious injuries, but it left behind a trail of destruction that included homes, outbuildings, and other structures.

Climate change is a key factor in wildfires

According to C2ES, the risk of wildfires stems from several factors.

Examples are temperature, soil moisture, and the presence of trees, shrubs, and other potential fuels. These have some links to climate variability and climate change and enhance organic matter drying in forests. When these burn, they spread the wildfires. In short, climate change is a key factor that increases the risk and extent of wildfires in the Western United States. It seems the number of large wildfires in the region has doubled between 1984 and 2015. That is a matter of concern. The loss from wildfires adds up to a huge sum and includes homes and infrastructure apart from firefighting costs.