Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday said wildfires are made worse by climate change, and research says she's right, according to a report in The Washington Post.
"It's been a tough couple of weeks with hurricanes and earthquakes and now these terrible fires," she said during a speech Monday at the University of California Davis, according to Sacramento's KXTV. "So, in addition to expressing our sympathy, we need to really come together to try to work to prevent and mitigate, and that starts with acknowledging climate change and the role that it plays in exacerbating such events."
Wildfires have devastated Northern California in one of the deadliest outbreaks in history, claiming at least 15 lives and 1,500 homes and commercial buildings, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
A number of factors contributed to the fires, including the dry season and a meteorological phenomenon known as Diablo winds. Additionally, California had its wettest winter on record and saw unusual heat and dryness this summer. The EPA said the wildfire season was "expected to increase in intensity and frequency due to climate change."
Kari Cobb, a spokesperson for the National Interagency Fire Center, pointed to "longer summers, higher temperatures, decreased precipitation, and longer episodes of drought" when asked what role climate change plays in the severity and length of the fire season, adding, "the combination of these changes has increased the availability of dry fuels and the ease at which fire ignites and spreads."
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