On top of impromptu earthquakes, California residents have another regular problem to watch out for. A 12-member research team from the University of Oregon, who've been studying the etymology and trends on the west coast, believe that there will be even more firestorms in the future. If it seems like there's been an influx in recent years, you're right. Droughts, build-ups of combustible fuel, and temperature all have contributed to the increase of fires in the sunny state. Looking at the history of the American West, the team believes that exploration and settlers over the last two centuries subdued the fires innate to the area but they're now coming back strong.
What's even more interesting is how policy-makers plan to deal with this; since there's always been debate between eradicating the fires or letting the disturbing force that keeps ecosystems healthy continue. In the past, the U.S. Forest Service has rapidly responded to suppressing the fires for the safety of residents, but in recent years forest managers have given more consideration to the nature of the fires. "Policymakers and others need to re-evaluate how we think of the past century to allow us to adjust and prepare for the future," said co-author Patrick J. Bartlein. "Recent catastrophic wildfires in the West are indicators of a fire deficit between actual levels of burning and that which we should expect given current and coming climate conditions. Policies of fire suppression that do not account for this unusual environmental situation are unsustainable."
How can California deal with this inevitable problem? Should residents have a say in the decision to suppress fires versus letting them happen for the benefit of the land?