study forecasts a severe climate future for california

Daniel Swain in KTLA: fire season starts much drier in U.S. West than record-shattering 2020

As bad as last year’s record-shattering fire season was, the western U.S. starts this year’s in even worse shape.

The soil in the West is record dry for this time of year. In much of the region, plants that fuel fires are also the driest scientists have seen. The vegetation is primed to ignite, especially in the Southwest where dead juniper trees are full of flammable needles.

“So is soil moisture very low? Is vegetation extremely dry? Absolutely, yes. Unequivocally, yes. Pretty much everywhere in California and the Southwest,” UCLA climatologist Daniel Swain said. “So that box is checked big time in a way that is going to massively increase the potential background flammability … given a spark, given extreme weather conditions.”