Camp Fire was a “climate disaster” Tiny temperatures changes mask dramatic changes underway that call for action

photo by Leslie Layton
Chico State Professor Mark Stemen

by Leslie Layton

2.3 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s how much – or how little, depending on your viewpoint – that the daily average temperature increased in recent years in the Paradise area.

That little temperature increase is what it took to create the environment for a deadly fire that would stun Butte County with its heat and swiftness, demolish almost 18,800 structures, kill 88 people and change the lives of almost every area resident.

Sure, there were other factors that contributed to the devastating character of what is now considered California’s deadliest fire. There was, for example, an increase in the number of sweltering days in recent years, reflecting our longer summers and shorter winters. Warmer nights, too, helped parch vegetation, making the Camp Fire unusually hot and explosive. read more