UPDATE – If you watched the evening news anytime during the past two weeks, you saw images of forest fires roaring through suburban neighborhoods in California. Does global warming have anything to do with this? UPDATE: Thanks to lower winds and the tireless efforts of firefighters, the California fires are finally winding down. Can a wildfire ever put ITSELF out? In theory it could, but it’s unlikely.

LiveScience.com reports that fires give off heat and hot air rises. When it hits the cooler air above it, the water in the air condenses into cumulus clouds. These COULD turn into thunderstorms, releasing enough water to put out the fire that created them.

In another LiveScience.com article, Andrea Thompson quotes Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as saying, “One reason why we have the fires in California is global warming.” While climate change increases extremes in all types of weather events, it doesn’t necessarily cause fires. But as Thompson quotes weather researcher Guy Brasseur as saying, “I think the only thing we can say is that it is likely that the probability of fire initiation [a fire starting] will be higher during [hot] and dry periods of time?if [the ground gets] drier, the likelihood for fires will be higher?When you have a hot summer and a dry summer, boom, you have a lot of fires.” Scientists know that global warming leads to more storms and that lightning from these storms could definitely trigger fires. Also, California is a heavily populated state and “the more people you have, the more fires you might also have by people.”

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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