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The History And Science Behind California’s Unprecedented Wildfire Season




The sun sets amid smoke from wildfires on September 13, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
The sun sets amid smoke from wildfires on September 13, 2020 in Los Angeles, California.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

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It’s been an unusually bad fire season in California. According to the state's  Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, more acreage has burned this year than any other year in the last three decades. 

Some have lay blame at the feet of climate change, but the reality is far more complex and has to do with: lightning strikes, drought, fire suppression, communities built in forests, architecture, economic incentives and, yes, climate change. 

We do a primer on the complicated history behind California’s unprecedented wildfire season. 

Plus, we’ll also check in on SoCal’s air quality. When might the smoky cover dissipate?

Guests:

Philip Fine, deputy executive officer for planning and rules with South Coast Air Quality Management District (South Coast AQMD)

Greg Giusti, forests and wildland ecology adviser emeritus with the University of California’s Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources