The proof of climate change: forest fires in California
Burning waste and fuel contributes to a phenomenon known as global warming, the gradual rise of temperatures around the Earth. Although the effects can be felt anywhere on the globe, it is especially present in California in the form of forest fires.
Global warming results in especially hot and dry weather in California, perfect for starting forest fires. Although forest fires can have beneficial effects, such as clearing out invasive species and fertilizing the soil, they can also be extremely deadly by causing habitat destruction and even human casualties.
In many instances, forest fires occur naturally and are a significant factor in upkeeping the overall health of the ecosystem. Forest ecosystems are home to many diverse species of plants and animals. Without periodic forest fires, many of them would die out. The fires help clear out invasive species that are not as heat tolerant as the indigenous plants. Forest fires also prevent overpopulation of wildlife. Additionally, they burn away weak vegetation and debris on the ground, which benefits the larger trees by decreasing competition for nutrients.
However, forest fires have seriously dangerous effects, such as habitat destruction. If a fire gets too out of hand, it can burn away vegetation uncontrollably. This severely impacts certain wildlife in the forest, such as birds and squirrels, who no longer have a place to live. This also causes ripples throughout the food web if one of the species begins to die out. Extreme wildfires can also have drastic effects on humans. Wildfire smoke can cause chronic lung problems and heart failure.
California is currently experiencing a more severe drought compared to the previous years, which greatly affects the severity of wildfires. The lack of rain combined with drier weather can lead to increased lightning strikes in an area, which is how wildfires spark. These conditions also keep wildfires burning longer and make them near impossible to put out. The fire feeds on the dry soil and dead trees that suffered from the heating conditions, which causes it to grow larger and inevitably destroy the forest.
Wildfires can significantly hurt the ecosystem when they are out of control, destroying huge portions of the forest. So far in 2021, wildfires have burned more than 3000 square miles of land in California. Without the trees that give them their home, forest critters would not be able to survive, which would cause animal populations to decrease. In addition to providing shelter for many organisms, trees provide humans with oxygen. It is important that we work hard to preserve them.
Unusual forest fire activity is a huge threat to both wildlife and humans. This is a problem that is caused by humans, which makes it our job to fix it. We can reduce the harmful effects of global warming by lowering our carbon footprint. Using less electricity and fossil fuels are great ways to do so. The significance of preserving our environment will be present across many generations, which is why it is important to start today.