Photo taken at: California
California has experienced its worst wildfires to date this summer. The Mendocino Complex Fire is the largest wildfire ever recorded in the state, scorching more than 300,000 acres. Daniel Bernant from @calfire said, “It’s become the new norm, to have these type of fires burning at this intensity, this severity, and earlier in the year. And it really is a result of our changing climate here in California.” Rising temperatures make land more prone to catching on fire. That’s because all plants have stomata—little pores that open up to allow plants to exchange carbon dioxide for oxygen—so they can engage in photosynthesis. Incidentally, water also evaporates out of the stomata. The hotter the ambient temperature, the more quickly plants lose their water and dry up. As global temperatures increase, plants are becoming drier and creating the perfect fuel for wildfires. Then there’s the feedback loop. When trees burn, all of the carbon they had sequestered is released into the atmosphere, heightening the greenhouse effect. This contributes to global warming, which further dries out the land, making it more susceptible to another wildfire. Comment if you think it’s time to take action and break this cycle.