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Fire Ecology

How are wildfires connected to climate change? Why have wildfires gotten worse?

Forest on fire with smoke
Photo by Felton Davis

Students will be able to make an argument based on evidence that the increased intensity and destruction of wildfires is increasing as a result of climate change.

In what is now called California, we are familiar with fire. Fire is a natural part of the climate here. We experience mild wet winters and hot dry summers in California and this has been the climate in this area for thousands of years.

The first people of this area use fire to steward the land. They understand the benefits of fire and use it to maintain the health of the ecosystem and manage resources. You can learn more about the relationship between native tribes and fire from Ron W. Goode, Tribal Chairman of the North Fork Mono Tribe in PBS’s Cultural Burning episode of Tending the Wild.

One of the results of a changing climate is a longer fire season and more extreme wildfires. Wildfires also cause more damage to homes and businesses as we expand our communities deeper into the wilderness.

Our newest OLO lesson on Wildfires and Climate Change will help you, and your family, understand how global warming has led to longer, hotter wildfires in California.

In order to address these challenges Save The Bay advocates for high quality public transit with nearby affordable housing, bicycle infrastructure, and tidal marsh restoration – all of which will decrease carbon dioxide emissions and remove carbon from the atmosphere.