By Kenneth Young |Staff Writer|
From San Bernardino to Sydney, wildfires are common in dry climates, but is climate change a contributing factor?
There have been a number of bushfire incidents within San Bernardino County, including the Old Fire which occurred 10 years ago in the San Bernardino Mountains.
Australia also experiences this problem as well, and in an article posted by ausopinion.com, staff writer Ed Butler makes the claim that climate change can be seen as a contributing factor.
“Rising temperatures means more days of extreme bushfire weather,” Butler wrote. “More bushfire weather means more bushfires.”
These claims were made amidst Australia’s hottest October in history, where bushfires swept through Sydney’s western suburbs.
Despite the evidence used to support his claims, not everyone accepts the link between climate change and the increase of bushfires.
One of the biggest climate change skeptics is the recently elected leader of Australia.
According to the Huffington Post, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott denied the link between climate change and bushfires, stating that it is “complete hogwash.”
In regards to the recent fires in Sydney, Abbott attributed them to the dry climate experienced through Australia’s summer season.
“These fires are not a function of climate change they’re just a function of life in Australia,” Abbott said.
Wildfires are caused by hot, dry conditions, which according to Butler are conditions that are heightened due to climate change.
“Bushfires have always happened in Australia,” Butler stated. “Climate change is making them worse.”
Whether you believe in climate change being a contributor or not, the question is: What can be done to prevent them?
By stating that wildfires are simply a part of life in Australia, I believe that Abbott is conceding that there are no measures that can be taken in order to stop them, that they are simply inevitable.
Furthermore, Australia isn’t alone in having conditions which brushfires can escalate.
Recently, San Bernardino County has had its own problems.
California Republican Assemblyman and hopeful governor Tim Donnelly has previously echoed similar sentiments to Abbott.
According to SFGate, Donnelly dismissed California’s climate change law as “a job killer.”
“I believe there is a tiny, tiny minority of environmental extremists who have taken control of California and they’re pushing what is a religion on me, and on every business owner in this state, and you know what, I thought we had a separation of church and state,” he said in council meeting recorded on YouTube.
However, climate change may be making more of an impact than people give it credit for.
According to ABC7, almost 400 firefighters tried to contain the fire, which burned 200 acres on Sept. 24.
On Oct. 27, the San Bernardino Sun newspaper reported that a man from Redlands, who was missing for five days, was found in Coldwater Canyon.
It was reported that he created a fire in order to stay warm; but it soon escalated and burned an area of 20 by 30 feet. This proves that fires can easily get out of hand.
These incidents, both in Australia and America, all happened within a period of two months.
While this could be written off as a seasonal problem, it is important to note that Australia and America have opposite seasons.
I believe climate change needs to be further examined by political leaders so that wildfires can be further prevented in the future, despite their personal beliefs.