For almost a week smoke clouds moving over California. Just like last year. Only this time, it is even worse. By the forest fires in the North and South of the U.S. state died up to now, at least 44 people, hundreds of thousands had to leave their homes. The small town of Paradise, was almost completely destroyed. But why it burns every year in the Hinterland of the big cities on the West coast of the USA? Why is it so difficult to risk adjust? And why firefighters of the year for the year prior to the same problems, to get the forest fires under control? TIME ONLINE answers the most important questions.

All questions Overview: what is the situation? What is California prone to forest fires?
Why not better? How are the forest fires with climate change? How is the situation?

The fight to defend California’s fire still with all three fires. Your own information after you have until Monday evening local time, just under a third of the burning forest area in the North of the delete. With 42 confirmed dead, and an affected area of nearly 45,000 hectares, it is the most destructive fire in the state of California since the beginning of historical records. The last area were missing in the disaster in the woods to the North, more than 100 people.

In the South, was fought the great Woolsey-fire to about 30 percent. In the affected area, the estate of Malibu, where many celebrities lost their homes. Here are two more people died. The other southern fire, Hill, has been contained, according to the authorities to 80 percent (as of Tuesday morning, German time) – with more than 1,800 hectares, it is the smallest fire that blazes currently in the woods of California. Meteorolog interior, and forecasters expect in the coming days in southern California stronger winds. This could spread the fire, especially there.


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we leave for California What is prone to forest fires?

In California there is the climate the best conditions for the outbreak of Fires in the nature: all The year round it is warm, and the summers are very dry. In addition, California is the most populous U.S. state, and fire is often caused by people. Warm, dry winds, called Santa Ana winds, which blow from Utah and Nevada to California, at times even outbreak of fire in southern California in addition, (Environmental Research Letters: Jin et al., 2015).

Since the eighties, the number of forest fires in the Western United States has risen sharply – and you could increase due to climate change even further (Science: West-Erling et al., 2006). The increase in the number of fires is also therefore that more and closer to forests will be built. This wildland-urban interface (WUI) areas are located in the Transition between untouched nature and human buildings. You are always under the threat of forest fires and the cause of much of the fire-fighting costs in the United States (International Journal of Wildland Fire: Mell et al., 2010).

1/16 fire smoke over Calabasas. The site is located to the North of the seaside resort of Malibu. © Eric Thayer/Reuters 2/16 A firefighter tries in the town of Magalia in Butte-delete County in Northern California a house. © Noah Berger/AP/dpa 3/16 A firefighting plane over Calabasas. The causes of the fire are yet unknown. © Mark J. Terrill/AP/dpa 4/16 clouds of smoke over the Santa Monica pier in Venice Beach © Gene Blevins/Reuters 5/16 entenort The fire close in front of a building in the Celebrity Malibu: Around 75,000 homes due to two fires in the southern California, land of Ventura and Los Angeles circles are already evacuated. © David McNew/ 6/16 On the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu © Eric Thayer/Reuters 7/16 For Malibu (photo) was an evacuation arrangement. A total of around 250,000 people leave because of the fires in California, their houses and apartments. © Eric Thayer/Reuters 8/16 A homeowner in Malibu tried to delete by hand the Brand. © Gene Blevins/Reuters, 9/16 fire in West Hills, in the County of Los Angeles, only 30 minutes by car from the centre of the Metropolis © Kevork Djansezian/ 10/16 A fire-extinguishing helicopter over Malibu © Eric Thayer/Reuters 11/16 In Paradise, in Northern California, (photo), walked around 6,700 buildings in flames, including a hospital, a gas station and several Restaurants. © Noah Berger/AP/dpa 12/16 A Patient of the evacuees Feather River hospital in Paradise, in a makeshift shelter © Justin Sullivan/ 13/16 the remains of The black bear Diner in Paradise. At least nine people came because of the fires in the village were killed. © Josh Edelson/AFP/ 14/16 A mother with her son in front of the Remains of their house in Paradise © John Locher/AP/dpa 15/16, The city of Paradise may be destroyed forever. © Noah Berger/AP/dpa 16/16 A burning car in Paradise © Stephen Lam/Reuters

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Why is not better?

US President Donald Trump accused on Twitter recently of the poor forest management by the state of California and repeated the accusation a day later. That is because of the forest fires in August, Trump made the environmental laws of California for the propagation of the fire to blame. The U.S. government wants more trees are cut down to prevent forest fires from spreading. The President of the California professional firefighters, Brian Rice, responded to trump’s allegations that nearly 60 percent of California’s forests, stands under the supervision of the state and a further third of individuals belong to. If, therefore, the forestry administration would be crucial, was, rather, the U.S. Federal government for lack of resources.

in fact, the forest management was for the current fires in WUI areas, but not crucial, said Scott Austin, President of the fire Department of Pasadena in southern California, compared to the channel CNN. Key landscape planning is the development in natural areas around cities. An example of WUIs in the United States the estate of Malibu in southern California, where the forest settlements have emerged, surrounded by easily flammable Bush and forest area. Also in the case of the severe fires in Greece in the last year areas were affected, where wealthy Athenians have their holiday homes typical residential areas close to nature where city dwellers peace and seclusion. The combination of easily flammable houses and dry wood in such zones allows you to fire a light spread. Here, the policy could provide, for example, with requirements for fire-safe homes for recovery. Also, scientists are calling for long-term plans, to forest fires to prevent, for example, through the targeted and controlled Set of fires (Science: North et al., 2015). The felling of trees but it could strengthen on the contrary, forest fires (Science: Donato et al., 2006).

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the forest fires in contexts such As climate change?

Jerry Brown, the democratic Governor of California, called the frequent Occurrence of forest fires, “the new abnormal”, such fire to be part of the future. So he could have the right: Not only in Germany to 2018 was an exceptionally dry year. Although the five-year drought in California since last year, but this year, the South-West of the USA is experiencing are evidence of an unusually prolonged drought, as studies by the US space Agency Nasa. Such extreme weather occur in the context of global warming, more frequent and more pronounced. In very wet winters, biomass regrowth, which is then in dry summers to the fuel can. It was in the case of the forest fires in California last year.

in addition, researchers found researchers a connection between the melting of the polar ice caps, and the California climate (Nature Communications: Cvijanovic et al., 2017). How the Santa Ana winds, climate change, is still being investigated, initial studies suggest that the winds could in the future have more frequent forest fires (Geophysical Research Letters: Guzman-Morales et al., 2016; Climatic Change: Hughes et al., 2011). Climate change does not lead to Fire directly – but it promotes their formation.

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