California wildfires 'a warning for other regions'

PARIS • The governor of California Jerry Brown said wildfires ravaging his state should serve as a warning for other parts of the world threatened by climate change.

"The important fact is that these fires are going to become a frequent occurrence, that's what the science is telling us," he said on the sidelines of the One Planet Summit, held in Paris two years to the day after 195 nations signed the agreement to rein in global warming.

"The winds are slowing down... The fires are going to burn another week or two but they're far more under control than they were a few days ago," he added.

Mr Brown has become a leading climate campaigner in the United States and is seeking to rally other states, city authorities and companies to compensate for the inaction of the federal government under President Donald Trump.

"This is going to affect France, it's going to affect northern Africa, it's going to affect the south-west of the US, China," he said of the fires. "It's a real indicator of bad things to come and hopefully will serve to wake up people who right now are too complacent."

Fuelled by high winds, wildfires in southern California have charred more than 100,000ha of land in the past week, forcing the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of people and leaving one person dead.

This has been California's deadliest year for wildfires.

According to experts, global warming increases the risk of out-of-control blazes by drying out vegetation, making it more inflammable and easily set alight by lightning, spontaneous combustion or fires lit by humans.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 14, 2017, with the headline 'California wildfires 'a warning for other regions''. Print Edition | Subscribe