Baraboo Climate Change Panel “Comes Out of COVID Hibernation” | Regional news
Wildfires are raging in the West, burning over a million and a half acres and counting. 20,000 firefighters and emergency teams are fighting the fires. The fire season normally follows the heat of summer, but now extends most of the year. The fires started months earlier, changing what we thought we knew. We start about 90% of all forest fires, either accidentally, such as when a power line falls and ignites a tree, or through negligence, when someone throws a cigarette butt or leaves a campfire on. . And some do it on purpose: arson. Lightning and, believe it or not, lava are responsible for the rest. Fires need fuel. They burn extremely dry trees, leaves and soil debris. This is exactly what you find in a forest during a severe and extreme drought, like the one that hits most of the western United States. Climate change is making the situation worse. Temperatures are above normal, and not just for a day, but for weeks and weeks. High pressure ridges remain there, trapping hot air. Heat waves dry everything out, evaporating moisture from the soil and plant life. Then comes a spark and the start of what scientists call a feedback loop. READ MORE: Fire survivors call for improvements to emergency warning systems Here’s the part Smokey leaves out: the fire sending hot air, pollutants and water vapor into the atmosphere, forming pyrocumulus storm clouds … but they don’t have much rain. They have lightning, which ignites new fires when they hit the ground, creating more thunderstorms, creating more lightning, creating more fires. It turns and it turns. Government agencies use forest management to moderate fires. They thin out or remove trees, creating breaks in the canopy, reducing the spread of major fires and protecting the forest. Or even carefully light fires to clear out dead debris on the ground. There are 741 million acres of forest in the United States and it is impossible for people to manage every acre. But Mother Nature has been doing this since the formation of the first forest, using forest fires. The difference is that today’s fires are caused by climate change: higher temperatures, extreme drought, and humans in more ways than one.