As summer approaches, residents of California are bracing for what could be one of the most disastrous wildfire seasons in recent memory. The onset of these catastrophes is a stark reminder of the challenges Americans face in dealing with climate change and altering our energy consumption habits.
CNN reports that firefighters have been battling a massive blaze near Palmdale, California, that has burned six homes and threatens nearly 1,000 more. The fire covered 32,000 acres as of June 3, and stands at 60 percent containment. It's just the latest in a series of disasters that can be attributed to drought conditions that leave many communities vulnerable to blazes.
Called the "Powerhouse" fire because of its proximity to the Powerhouse Hydroelectric Plant, it follows a similarly massive burning that occurred in Malibu in early May, which burned 28,000 acres.
California Governor Jerry Brown has gone on record as saying climate change makes wildfire season even more costly and dangerous. Lower rainfall levels coupled with faster melting of the snowpack has resulted in a longer dry season, leaving certain areas with vast acres of dry brush that can be ignited by lightning strikes or careless campers who don't properly extinguish campfires.
Advocates for renewable energy often point out the long term consequences of anthropogenic climate change such as rising sea levels and more intense storms during hurricane season, but the effects will be felt by almost everyone in some way. LifeIsGreen.com will continue to provide information on this crisis as more becomes available.