A new report by state scientists shows a grim picture of the escalating climate crisis in California.
It shows that the effects of climate change, including wildfires, are increasingly taxing our environment and our health at a faster rate than anticipated.
This has all led to record-high temperatures, unrelenting drought and unprecedented wildfire. The ominous findings are part of a new report from California's Environmental Protection Agency.
“We are seeing hotter temperatures, drier climates and stressed vegetation,” said Carmen Milanes, who led the project. “And because we don't have enough moisture, that is fueling wildfires and that cascades into large wildfires and implications on human health.”
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The report found that during the record-breaking 2020 wildfire season, smoke plumes were present in every county in the state for at least 46 days.
“I know a lot more reports of distress are going on in the Bay Area,” said Margo Sidener, CEO of Breathe California. “Especially for people with asthma. Because of all the heat and fires they are exposed to.”
The report also found occupational heat-related illnesses and reports of valley fever, a fungal infection linked to dry soil conditions, are up.
In the Bay Area, scientists say there is another concern near SFO.
“We have seen an eight-inch increase in sea level over the past century which increases the risk of flooding in low level areas,” said Milanes.
And while the report's findings are troubling, and scientists say some of the changes -- such as melting glaciers -- are irreversible, California continues to work to minimize the impacts including a goal of operating on 90% clean energy by 2035.