"Global Boiling: In California, It’s ‘Fire Season All Year Round’"
In a weekend interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) talks of the impact of global warming on California’s wildfires. Climate change is lowering snowpack in the Rockies and increasing droughts, heat waves and lightning strikes, stoking more intense fires over a longer season:
Through global warming, we have now fire season all year round. We used to have fire seasons only in the fall, but now the fire seasons start in February already, so this means that we have to really upgrade, have more resources, more fire engines, more manpower and all of this, which does cost extra money.
By May of this year wildfires were raging at levels traditionally seen only in July. After California’s driest spring in 114 years of recordkeeping, 1700 wildfires set a record 840,000 acres ablaze from June to July, costing the state more than $200 million. Fires in the past month, the worst in the Los Angeles area in four decades, have destroyed over 1000 homes. “Through last week, 1.24 million acres burned in California, the most since 1970, when consistent, modern records were first kept.”
Last month, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) called for the Bush administration to end delays in assistance, saying, “As the climate warms and wildland fires become bigger and more intense, a rapid response is critical to prevent the spread of fires.”