The future of fires and climate change in California

More than 100 firefighters battle the intensely hot weather to extinguish the fire in the Sepulveda Basin in California, United States on September 7, 2020. Photo credit: Brandon Taylor/Latin America News Agency

President Trump is in Northern California today to meet with Governor Newsom about the wildfires. More than 3 million acres have burned in California so far this year, and more than 1 million acres have burned in Oregon.

Air quality in Los Angeles is at unhealthy levels not seen since the 1990s. And the Bobcat Fire has led to evacuation orders in parts of Arcadia and Sierra Madre.

Why has this fire season been so extreme this early, and what might the next few months look like?

“The kind of impacts we’ve seen here in 2020 are exactly a taste of what we should expect to worsen in the coming decade or two for sure,” says Kim Cobb, professor of earth and atmospheric sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology.