Climate change has notable impacts on the fire season in California, contributing to conditions that increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of wildfires. Historically, these events typically happened in the fall when Santa Ana winds fueled dangerous and disastrous wildfires.
However, with an increase in climate change, rising temperatures are creating drier conditions, drying vegetation and extending the wildfire season beyond historic norms. A combination of prolonged drought followed by heavy rainy seasons that produce lots of vegetation creates a dangerous mix for wildfire events across the state.
In recent years, California has experienced some of the largest, deadliest, and most destructive wildfires in the state’s history. Wildfires contribute to landslides, debris flows, dangerous air pollution, and degradation of water quality in our rivers, streams and reservoirs.
Researchers are working on developing tools and systems to predict and handle natural disasters before they happen. Scripps Institution of Oceanography geophysicist Dr. Neal Driscoll describes how ALERTCalifornia is working to use camera systems, artificial intelligence, and a variety of sophisticated remote sensing techniques to prepare, respond, and recover from the ravages of wildfire on the environment.