Wildfire and Climate Change in California

Although my situated research project focuses on wildfire in Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge, wildfire is by no means limited to that area. Fires are a global occurrence that are dealt with in different ways by various stakeholders. Out of all the places I’m familiar with, nowhere seems to be more affected by wildfire than California. Hundreds, if not thousands of residents lost their homes to wildfire in the 2017 alone. Also, forest management and land ownership in California is scattered, if not more scattered than in Oregon, adding an interesting element to the process of wildfire prevention.

The particular research paper I found regarding wildfires in California is actually about how Climate Change could impact fire risk in California. Although this aspect of wildfire is different than the what we are investigating in the situated research project, it is still relevant to the overall topic. The research paper I read is entitled: Climate Change and Wildfire in California written by A.L. Westerling and B.P. Bryant. In this paper, they used methods of comparing different climate models like the GFDL and PCM global climate models with A1 and B1 emission scenarios. Under these scenarios, fire risk was statistically modeled as functions of climate, hydrology, and topography. According to their results, fire risk will increase, especially for communities near forests or shrub lands in the western part of the state.

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