California steamin’: how the Golden State is becoming unliveable

World

California steamin’: how the Golden State is becoming unliveable

ANALYSIS | Between Covid and wildfires, locals are caught between leaving or adapting to a new normal

Emma Gatten

With wildfires raging across the state, threatening homes and turning the air a dystopian choking orange, the Californian Dream looks increasingly untenable.

The home of healthy outdoor living and aspirational wellness has had its vulnerabilities exposed by 2020’s wildfires, which have already burned through 2.5 million acres just days into the wildfire season.

The link with climate change is simple, though quantifying it is harder: hotter air means drier vegetation, which acts as a tinderbox. Wildfires are common in California, but as the state warms they are burning further and for longer. Parts of the sunshine state have warmed 2°C over 100 years, compared with the global average of 1°C, and earlier in 2020 Death Valley, California had the highest global temperature on record, reaching 54.4°C...

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