For more than a week, it burns in several forest areas of California. At least 65 people died, more than 600 are still missing. The small town of Paradise, was almost completely destroyed. But why it burns every year in the Hinterland of the big cities on the West coast of the USA? Why is it so difficult to risk adjust? And why firefighters of the year for the year prior to the same problems, to get the forest fires under control? TIME ONLINE answers the most important questions.

All questions Overview: what is the situation? What is California prone to forest fires?
Why were not prepared for the people better? What can be done against such fires? How are the forest fires with climate change? How is the situation?

defend The Californian fire in the first place to fight the two fires. Your own information after you have until Thursday evening (local time), 40 percent of the burning forest area in the North of the delete. With 63 confirmed dead and more than 10,000 destroyed buildings (CalFire, PDF) is the so-called Camp Fire the most destructive fire in the state of California since the beginning of the records – though it is with an affected area of 57,000 hectares, by Far, not the largest (CalFire, PDF).

In the North, around the small town of Paradise, apply currently there are 631 people missing, the authorities of the County of Butte had corrected the number after the evaluation of emergency calls and reported Missing to the top. Some of the names could be twice on the list, and others previously, not at all.

In the South, was fought the great Woolsey-fire to nearly two-thirds. In the affected area, the estate of Malibu, where many celebrities lost their homes. Here are two more people died. The other southern fire, Hill, has been contained, according to the authorities, nearly complete (as of Friday morning, German time) – with more than 1,800 hectares, it is the smallest of the current fires.


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we leave for California What is prone to forest fires?

The climatic conditions in California and encourage the outbreak of Fires in the nature: all The year round it is warm, and the summers are very dry. In addition, California is the most populous U.S. state, and fire is often caused by people. For the Region, typical of warm, dry winds, the Santa Ana winds in the South and the Diablo winds in the North, times once outbreak of fire there, in addition to (Environmental Research Letters: Jin et al., 2015).

Since the eighties, the number of forest fires in the Western United States has risen sharply – and you could increase due to climate change (Science: West-Erling et al., 2006). The increasing number of fires is also, therefore, that closer to forests will be built. This wildland-urban interface (WUI) areas are located in the Transition between untouched nature and human settlements. You are always under the threat of forest fires and the cause of much of the fire fighting costs of the United States (International Journal of Wildland Fire: Mell et al., 2010).

1/16 Destroyed houses in the town of Paradise, in the U.S. state of California © Noah Berger/AP/dpa 2/16 Of the town of Paradise only ruins remain. © Justin Sullivan/ 3/16 rescue workers search for Victims. Many people died in the fire, tens of thousands had to flee before the fires, more than 8,000 houses were burned. © Josh Edelson/AFP/ 4/16 The number of Missing persons has now increased to 631. The confirmed death toll through the so-called Camp Fire to the town of Paradise, rose to 63. © Frederic J. Brown/AFP/ 5/16 Of these houses only the chimneys are left. With more than 6,000 homes destroyed, the disaster ranks as one of the worst Wildfires in California history. © Noah Berger/AP/dpa 6/16 burned beer cans stand in a liquor store in the town of Paradise. US President, Donald Trump wants to travel on Saturday to California to speak with victims of the forest fires. © Josh Edelson/AFP/ 7/16 hundreds of helpers in white protective suits and specially-trained sniffer dogs searching in the rubble next to potential Victims. © Justin Sullivan/ 8/16 forces carry a dead body from a burned house. The 30,000-acre fire North of Sacramento had adopted, especially in the small town of Paradise, catastrophic proportions. Two other major fires are raging in the districts of Ventura and Los Angeles. © Josh Edelson/AFP/ 9/16 Of California’s interim Governor Gavin Newsom called for the fire areas of the state of emergency. Schools were closed, recreational activities and sports canceled events. Thousands of firefighters from several States to fight the flames. © Justin Sullivan/ 10/16 The Santa Monica Mountains are covered in accordance with the Woolsey Fire with black ash. In the case of the fire in the Region of at least two people died. © David McNew/AFP/ 11/16 drought, warmer weather and the expansion of residential areas into forests have resulted in forest fires have a larger destruction and to last longer. In the past year, a five-year drought was in California, but also in 2018 and was very dry. Large parts of the Northern two-thirds of the state were unusually arid, it said in an analysis of the U.S. government. © Josh Edelson/AFP/ 12/16, US President, Donald Trump makes the California authority, which oversees the forests for the fires. The only reason for the fires is the bad Management. On Twitter, he threatened to cut Federal funding if the fires were not cleared soon. © Terray Sylvester/Reuters 13/16 characters of the Bible are standing on a destroyed car in the town of Paradise. © Justin Sullivan/ 14/16 by The Camp Fire destroyed much of the village of Paradise was right in the middle of a wooded area. Experts referred to the approximately 129 million dead trees in California’s forests as a result of extreme drought and bark beetle infestation. © Terray Sylvester/Reuters 15/16 Travis Lee Hogan and his mother Bridget Hogan from Paradise, living in a makeshift shelter. They had to leave, as tens of thousands of other people in their homes. © Terray Sylvester/Reuters 16/16, Two large fires have destroyed in California together nearly 1,000 square kilometers of forest – slightly more than the area of Berlin. The flames in the room Paradise were contained on Thursday, according to the authorities, to 40 percent. The Woolsey fire near Malibu has been reduced to 60 percent. © NASA/Reuters

California forest fires so accustomed to. Every year a large number of Fires. Many cities have therefore concluded preparations for the now almost ruined town of Paradise. In an Interview with American public radio station npr, the mayor Jody Jones said: “We had a very robust evacuation plan that has saved hundreds of lives.” While people with a fixed network connection automatically calls for evacuation, need to register mobile phone owners and owners only. Not many would have done. In addition, the extent of the fire was too much for the city: “Normally, we evacuated two or three areas – not a whole city,” said Jones.

Although there were in the history of California fire, which had spread over a still larger area – at 40,000 acres, the U.S. forestry administration of megafires speaks. Most recently burnt in the summer at the Mendocino Complex Fire nearly 186.000 hectares. In the United States the forest fire affected area has not increased in the last few years, even if there were significantly more fires (see graphic).

But how devastating a fire also depends on how fast it spreads. And this time he went very quickly. In part, the flame per second destroyed more than the area of a football field, reports the CNN.

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What can such fires be made?

US President Donald Trump accused on Twitter recently of the poor forest management by the state of California and repeated the accusation a day later. That is because of the forest fires in August, Trump made the environmental laws of California for the propagation of the fire to blame. The U.S. government wants more trees are cut down to prevent forest fires from spreading. The President of the California professional firefighters, Brian Rice, responded to trump’s allegations that nearly 60 percent of California’s forests, stands under the supervision of the state and a further third of individuals belong to. If, therefore, the forestry administration would be crucial, was, rather, the U.S. Federal government for lack of resources.

in fact, the forest management was for the current fires in WUI areas, but not crucial, said Scott Austin, President of the fire Department of Pasadena in southern California, compared to the channel CNN. Key landscape planning is the development in natural areas around cities. An example of WUIs in the United States the estate of Malibu in southern California, where the forest settlements have emerged, surrounded by easily flammable Bush and forest area. Also in the case of the severe fires in Greece in the last year areas were affected, where wealthy Athenians have their holiday homes typical residential areas close to nature where city dwellers peace and seclusion. The combination of easily flammable houses and dry wood in such zones allows you to fire a light spread. Here, the policy could provide, for example, with requirements for fire-safe homes for recovery. Also, scientists are calling for long-term plans, to forest fires to prevent, for example, through the targeted and controlled Set of fires (Science: North et al., 2015). The felling of trees but it could strengthen on the contrary, forest fires (Science: Donato et al., 2006).

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the forest fires in contexts such As climate change?

Jerry Brown, the democratic Governor of California, called the frequent Occurrence of forest fires, “the new abnormal”, such fire to be part of the future. So he could have the right: Not only in Germany to 2018 was an exceptionally dry year. Although the five-year drought in California since last year, but this year, the South-West of the USA is experiencing are evidence of an unusually prolonged drought, as studies by the US space Agency Nasa. Such extreme weather occur in the context of global warming, more frequent and more pronounced. In very wet winters, biomass regrowth, which is then in dry summers to the fuel can. It was in the case of the forest fires in California last year.

in addition, researchers found researchers a connection between the melting of the polar ice caps, and the California climate (Nature Communications: Cvijanovic et al., 2017). How the Santa Ana winds, climate change, is still being investigated, initial studies suggest that the winds could in the future have more frequent forest fires (Geophysical Research Letters: Guzman-Morales et al., 2016; Climatic Change: Hughes et al., 2011). Climate change does not lead to Fire directly – but it promotes their formation.

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