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In 2017: more than 6000 square kilometers burned. In 2018: more than 6700 square kilometers burned. A year after the fires that occurred in particular in the city of Paradise (86 dead), California fights again against fires. But why is this region so exposed?
With vast pine forests to the north and brush stretches to the south, California is covered with fire-friendly vegetation. During the summer, hot weather desiccates plants that become perfect fuels for several months. Houses built near wooded areas, more and more numerous, reinforce the risk of fire starts of human origin.
The strong winds
California is swept by hot, powerful winds. Among them, the “Diablo wind” also called the “winds of the devil”. These are winds that come from offshore and spread in the northern mountains. They can exceed 100 km / h and are particularly common in the fall.
“Unfortunately, the best scientific studies tell us that drought, heat, aridity, all these things will intensify”, said Jerry Brown, the former governor of California. During the last century, the temperature has risen 1.7 ° C in southern California. At least 5 of the 10 largest fires in California's history have occurred since 2010. By 2100, if greenhouse gas emissions continue at this rate, the frequency of the most destructive fires could increase by 50%.