Climate change in the Western U.S. means more intense and frequent wildfires churning out waves of smoke that scientists say will sweep across the continent to affect tens of millions of people and cause a spike in premature deaths.
That emerging reality is prompting people in cities and rural areas alike to gird themselves for another summer of sooty skies along the West Coast and in the Rocky Mountains — the regions widely expected to suffer most from blazes tied to the dryer, warmer conditions
“There’s so little we can do. We have air purifiers and masks — otherwise, we’re just like ‘Please don’t burn,'” said Sarah Rochelle Montoya of San Francisco, who fled her home with her husband and children last fall to escape thick smoke enveloping the city from a disastrous fire roughly 150 miles (241 kilometers) away.
Cause of wildfire in California
Global warming is the main cause of wildfire in California. The most common direct human causes of wildfire ignition include arson, discarded cigarettes, power-lines arcs (as detected by arc mapping), and sparks from equipment. Ignition of wildland fires via contact with hot rifle-bullet fragments is also possible under the right conditions.