×

UPSC Courses

DNA banner

DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 24 August, 2020

  • 7 Min Read

California Wildfires

California Wildfires

California (USA) is facing sprawling wildfires destroying more than 400,000 acres of forests in Northern and Central California.

Reasons for California’s Wildfires:

  • Climate: California, like much of the West, gets most of its moisture in the fall and winter. Its vegetation then stays dry throughout the summer because of a lack of rainfall and warmer temperatures, which ultimately serves as ignition for fires.
  • However with global warming, the temperature has increased by 1-2 degree Celsius, leading to an upsurge in cases of wildfires.
  • Human intervention: The spark for many fires arise due to human-made causes such as fallen power lines, accidents etc.
  • Due to urbanization, human habitation is increasingly moving areas near forests, known as the urban - wildland interface, that are inclined to burn.
  • Suppressing Fires: Owing to suppression of natural fires artificially for a long time, which would consume the dry inflammable materials in the forest, a lot of dry material has accumulated causing even more fires.
  • The United States Forest Service is now trying to rectify the previous practice through the use of prescribed or “controlled” or cool burning.
  • Cool Burning: Cool burning is done in a controlled manner by artificially creating small, localized fires to limit the amount of vegetation available in any given area. It means that any fires will not have any build-up of “vegetative fuel” to use to become a large, uncontrollable fire.
  • Santa Ana Winds: Santa Ana winds dry out vegetation and also move embers around, spreading fires.

  • The spark for many of these fires comes from around 11,000 lightning strikes California has been hit by.

Impact:

  • Economic loss from destruction of life and property.
  • Air pollution by small particulate matter and also acids, organic chemicals, and metals along with dust and allergens.
  • Land degradation as high temperatures consume all nutrients and vegetation from a land, leaving it barren and infertile.
  • Loss of biodiversity.

California has two distinct fire seasons:

  • First or western fire season: From June through September
  • Due to warmer and drier weather.
  • Fires are more inland and in higher-elevation forests.
  • Second Fire Season: From October through April
  • Due to Santa Ana Winds.
  • Burn closer to urban areas.
  • Three times faster than first season fires
  • Responsible for 80% of the economic losses over two decades

Santa Ana Winds

  • The winds' name derives its name from the Santa Ana canyon in Orange County, California.
  • Santa Anas are dry, warm (often hot) winds that blow westward through Southern California toward the coast.
  • They're usually seasonal, and typically occur between October and March and peak in December.
  • They originate when high pressure systems form over the high-elevation deserts of the Great Basin between the Sierra Nevadas and the Rocky Mountains.
  • As they flow downwards and cross desserts, they become very dry, warm, and gain speed. The lack of humidity in Santa Ana winds dries out vegetation, making it better fuel for a fire.
  • The wind also fan the flames and helps spread them.

Way Forward

  • Some immediate solutions to wildfires include not planting easily flammable tree species such as eucalyptus and pine in forest fire regions, not allowing human development near forest zones, and promoting policies that conserve water like waste-water recycling, desert landscaping, and low-water consumption appliances.
  • However in long -term working on controlling greenhouse gas emission and thus, climate change is crucial to controlling such incidents which have affected the whole world and not just California.
  • Recent Australian Bushfires, and Forest Fires in Uttarakhand are some other examples.

Source: IE

Source: IE


Rajasthan First State to Implement Biofuel Policy

  Rajasthan First State to Implement Biofuel Policy: (GS-II(Policies) & GS-III(Environment)) Theme: Biofuel Policy Rajasthan has become the first State in the country to implement the national policy on biofuels unveiled by the Centre in May 2018.   The desert State will lay emphasis on increasing production of oils

SEHAT Scheme for Teleconsultation

Services e-Health Assistance and Teleconsultation (SeHAT) is the tri-services teleconsultation service of the Ministry of Defense designed for all entitled personnel and their families. As part of the Government’s commitment to Digital India and e-Governance, Minister of Defense launched SeHAT on 27 May 2021. It has been a great exam

PM Poshan Scheme to replace Mid Day Meal Scheme

PM Poshan (Erstwhile Mid Day Meal) Scheme Cabinet has approved the Prime Minister POSHAN scheme or PM-POSHAN for providing one hot cooked meal in Government and Government-aided schools. The scheme will replace the existing national programme for mid-day meal in schools or Mid-day Meal Scheme (launched in 1995). It has been launched for a

National Initiative for Design Innovation (NIDI)

National Initiative for Design Innovation (NIDI) Government launched the scheme of “National Initiative for Design Innovation (NIDI)” in March, 2014. Scheme envisaged establishment of 20 Design Innovation Centres (DIC), One Open Design School (ODS) and One National Design Innovation Network (NDIN) across the country for promoti

Saffron cultivation in India

Saffron is a plant whose dried stigmas (thread-like parts of the flower) are used to make saffron spice. Saffron cultivation is believed to have been introduced in Kashmir by Central Asian immigrants around the 1st Century BCE. Pampore region, in India, commonly known as Saffron bowl of Kashmir, is the main contributor to saffron p

Students Achievement

Search By Date

Newsletter Subscription
SMS Alerts