California's Deadliest Fire: The New Abnormal These latest wildfires are already the deadliest yet and they continue to burn. These emergency events have been called "the new normal," but California Governor Jerry Brown isn't having that. He says it's "the new abnormal."

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California's Deadliest Fire: The New Abnormal

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California's Deadliest Fire: The New Abnormal

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California's Deadliest Fire: The New Abnormal

California's Deadliest Fire: The New Abnormal

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/667406498/667540357" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

PARADISE, CA - NOVEMBER 08: A home burns as the Camp Fire moves through the area on November 8, 2018 in Paradise, California. Fueled by high winds and low humidity, the rapidly spreading Camp Fire has ripped through the town of Paradise and has quickly charred 18,000 acres and has destroyed dozens of homes in a matter of hours. The fire is currently at zero containment. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images hide caption

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Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

PARADISE, CA - NOVEMBER 08: A home burns as the Camp Fire moves through the area on November 8, 2018 in Paradise, California. Fueled by high winds and low humidity, the rapidly spreading Camp Fire has ripped through the town of Paradise and has quickly charred 18,000 acres and has destroyed dozens of homes in a matter of hours. The fire is currently at zero containment.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

California is on fire again.

These latest wildfires are already the deadliest yet and they continue to burn. These emergency events have been called "the new normal," but California Governor Jerry Brown isn't having that. He says it's "the new abnormal."

To be clear, humans are part of this. The effects of climate change make conditions for wildfires worse. As the Union of Concerned Scientists says:

US wildfire seasons—especially those in years with higher wildfire potential—are projected to lengthen, with the Southwest's season of fire potential lengthening from seven months to all year long. Additionally, the likelihood that individual wildfires become severe is expected to increase.

Researchers project that moist, forested areas are the most likely to face greater threats from wildfires as conditions in those areas become drier and hotter.

Surprisingly, some dry grasslands may be less at risk of catching fire because the intense aridity is likely to prevent these grasses from growing at all, leaving these areas so barren that they are likely to lack the fodder for wildfires to start and spread.

If wildfires are a more frequently occurring fact of life, what should change to minimize the loss of lives and damage?