Publication Date June 22, 2016

Drought, climate change increase intensity of California wildfires

United States
Firefighters combat the front lines of the Sherpa Fire to keep it from moving onto Highway 101, along Calle Real Road in Goleta, on June 16, 2016. Photo: Marcus Yam Los Angeles Times/TNS

It’s only June, but temperatures are headed into 90-degree range, and a major fire is already front page news...

Because of the continuing California drought, authorities predicted another dangerous year, and the Sherpa Fire is one of 1,800 wildfires state and forest service firefighters have battled since January.

In a June 1 Letter to the Editor, “SLO County tackles the health effects of climate change,” rising temperatures, frequent wildfires and drought were included by San Luis Obispo County’s health officer, Penny Borenstein in a list of climate change-caused events that impact human health.

She concluded: “Thus, we have a responsibility and an obligation to educate our communities about the health impacts of climate change, to support action that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and … to be resilient.”

The San Luis Obispo City Council took action in March, unanimously passing a resolution urging Congress to levy a revenue-neutral fee on carbon in fossil fuels