The map shows where California wildfires have become most explosive

Climate change has made California’s wildfires more explosive, increasing the number of days with extreme growth by 25%, according to a study by scientists at San Jose State University, UC Berkeley and other California research institutions.

While previous studies have looked at how climate change affects wildfire activity over entire years, the new work provides insight into the daily behavior of fires.

The researchers used machine learning methods to analyze wildfires in California from 2003 to 2020 and identified details about the terrain, weather and fuel types associated with fire growth over 10,000 acres in a single day.

To explain how climate warming affects the extreme growth of fires, the researchers ran machine learning models using temperatures representative of the pre-industrial era — before human activity had significant impacts on global climate — while keeping other weather variables the same.

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