California Wildfires: A burning question

California Wildfires: A burning question
Picture: AP

Wildfires are hardly news in California. They break out each year but their scale and ferocity is increasing dramatically.

Last year, 56 people died in the Camp fire in Butte county but despite that toll, evacuation fatigue means that more and more people ignore warnings and place themselves at risk.

And the risks are considerable.

That fire, the deadliest in the state’s history, forced 52,000 Californians to abandon their homes, 8,650 of which were razed.

Scientists identified climate change as a contributory factor to the scale of the disaster, though faulty power lines were the source.

Longer, drier summers, reduced winter rainfall and stronger winds all exacerbated a tinderbox environment.

Whether the fires gripping southern California in recent days reaches that scale is an open question, but more than 40,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their Los Angeles homes.

Power supplies have been cut. Many, many homes will be lost. Lives may be lost too.

Yet, despite that example and many more there are those, including US president Donald Trump, who deny climate change. How can this be?

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