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But scientists see the distinct fingerprints of human-caused climate change in the blazes destroying vast swaths of Southern California this week — and they say So Cal residents should prepare for more fire seasons like this one.Several climate-driven trends came together to create prime fire conditions in Southern California this week, climate scientists say.Officials said at least one death in Ventura County has been reported, from an automobile crash that occurred as the victim tried to evacuate.One firefighter was hit by a car while protecting a home. Firefighters are confronted by 50 mph winds that, accompanied with the intensity of the blaze, could make it difficult to contain.
In San Diego County, where wind speeds were measured as high as 88 miles per hour, the Lilac Fire tore through the San Luis Rey Downs training facilities for race horses, killing an estimated 25 horses.
By Friday evening, half a dozen fires had destroyed more than 500 buildings.
Regional air-quality officials issued several smoke advisories, warning people with respiratory illnesses or heart disease — and also pregnant women, children and the elderly — to stay indoors. The Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazansky tweeted photos of the conflagrations from the International Space Station, showing thick clouds of brown-white smoke blanketing Southern California, from the mountains to the ocean.
But while there's no scientific consensus on a link between climate change and the Santa Ana winds, experts say Southern Californians should expect more fire seasons like this one.
A growing body of research shows that fire season has gotten considerably longer across the West in recent decades, and that climate change is largely to blame.
Both of those trends have played a role in the recent fires, climate experts say.