How We Are All to Blame for the Yosemite Fire

A journalistic collaboration on climate change.
Aug. 30 2013 12:29 PM

We Are All Making Forest Fires Worse

How climate change is fueling disasters like Yosemite.

A firefighter uses a hose to douse the flames of the Rim Fire on August 24, 2013 near Groveland, California.
A firefighter douses the flames of the Rim Fire on Aug. 24, 2013, near Groveland, Calif. The Rim Fire continues to burn out of control outside of Yosemite National Park, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

The fire tearing through Yosemite has stoked national anxiety this week, and for good reason: Human activities help create the conditions that lead to forest fires. The video above shows how higher temperatures, prolonged drought, and fire-suppression policy dovetail to fuel brutal fires we can’t control.

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James West is a producer for the Climate Desk.