Researchers believe that the recent wildfires in California could be indicative of the arrival of a planetary fire age as climate change is just part of the problem.
Although climate change is clearly one of the reasons for the recent wildfires, scientist believe there are other circumstances contributing to the burning landscapes in both hemispheres.
Researcher believe that without climate change, a serious fire problem would still exist. However, there is no single factors driving wildfires. Invasive grasses, logging and insects are just a few of the causes for the fires.
According to a study by Stephen Pyne from Arizona State University, climate change acts as a performance enhancer for wildfires and obviously it claims more attention due to its reach extending beyond flames.
Another cause of these wildfires is the prolific bark beetle, which has killed millions of acres of trees in western North America. The death of these trees allows for acres of fire fuel. The Pinus contorta, or lodgepole pine, is chemically altered after mountain pine beetles attack. The tree dries out rapidly, creating the perfect environment for a fire.
The pyric transition in the US sparked a wave of ‘monster fires’ that were larger and more lethal than those in recent decades. Land clearing and logging slash fed serial conflagration, which rose in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the warning decades of the Little Ice Age.
Pyne argued in an article that was publish in The Conversation: “Add up all the effects, direct and indirect – the areas burning, the areas needing to be burned, the off-site impacts with damaged watersheds and airsheds, the unraveling of biotas, the pervasive power of climate change, rising sea levels, a mass extinction, the disruption of human life and habitats – and you have a pyrogeography that looks eerily like an ice age for fire. You have a Pyrocene. The contours of such an epoch are already becoming visible through the smoke.”