Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post points out that not everything can be blamed on global warming, that lousy farming practices, overpopulation and bad policies contribute. Morever, "Weather alarmism" gives ammunition to global-warming deniers. He notes:
"Last week, we saw reports of more wildfires in California. Sure as night follows day, people will lay some of the blame on climate change. But there's also the minor matter of people building homes in wildfire-susceptible forests, overgrown with vegetation due to decades of fire suppression. That's like pitching a tent on the railroad tracks.
The message that needs to be communicated to these people is: "Your problem is not global warming. Your problem is that you're nuts." ::Washington Post
Joe Romm at Climate Progress suggests that climate change does increase the fires, writing last year:
Global warming makes wildfires more likely and more destructive — as many scientific studies have concluded. Why? Global warming leads to more intense droughts, hotter weather, earlier snowmelt (hence less humid late summers and early autumns), and more tree infestations (like the pine beetle). ::Climate Progress
While I have read a lot more Romm than Achenbach and have come to respect his opinion, there is no question that people have been building where they shouldn't, and that there are many factors that combine to create the disasters that seem to have become so common. As Andrew Leonard said last year about the subject in Jeremy's post: "Nuance is a bitch."
More on Wildfires and Global Warming :
Global Warming or Not: The Debate Over California's Wildfires ...
What Turns Fires into Disasters? Politics and Planning
A Picture is Worth... Northern California's Wildfires
California Homes Dusted With Corrosive Ash and Heavy Metals From ...