Thousands Temporarily Evacuated in California Wildfire

Thousands Temporarily Evacuated in California Wildfire
Above: The Windy Fire blazes through the Long Meadow Grove of giant sequoia trees near The Trail of 100 Giants overnight in Sequoia National Forest on September 21, 2021 near California Hot Springs, California. Image copyright: David McNew/Stringer/Getty Images News via Getty Images

The Facts

  • A wildfire initially broke out in the hills near the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Saturday — scorching thousands of acres, approximately 60 miles (97 km) east of San Francisco. Authorities ordered thousands of residents to temporarily evacuate — orders which have since been lifted.

  • According to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the research center, which is a strategic nuclear weapons development center, was never in direct danger from the fire.

The Spin

Narrative A

It's still early in the fire season, but California has already seen over 1.2K wildfires. Forecasts indicate that La Nina and climate change will intensify the warmer weather. A rainy winter, paradoxically, promotes vegetation growth, and when plants dry up, they become fuel, complicating the already dangerous wildfire season.

Narrative B

The frequency and severity of California wildfires have increased each year in the 21st century. But research indicates that people cause the majority of wildfires, with only 10 -15% occurring naturally. The causes range from smoking to igniting power lines. In fact, human-caused fires are more devastating than those caused by weather — a vital context that's often overlooked.

Metaculus Prediction

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