Another Massive Fire in Area: Are the Climate Roosters Finally Coming Home to Roost?

Photo Credit: CNN

For our Scottsdale readers, especially our North Scottsdale and Carefree readers, you are likely aware of the Boulder View fire: at the time of writing, it has affected over 3,700 acres and is now almost entirely contained; homes were evacuated and warnings were issued. Our thoughts are with the families who were affected and sincerely hope that property damage was minimal.

It’s hard not to see this as yet another in what seems to have become an increasing trend of wildfires in this area, following only a month after the Wildcat Fire. A look back at the state’s recent wildfire history shows a disturbing number in the state in the last year. 

“Global warming” was the catchphrase for a while and anecdotally, the Valley does seem to have warmed up over the last couple decades, although much of that could likely be attributed to increased urbanization, i.e. the heat island effect. “Climate change” is the preferred nomenclature now, as the impacts of our changing world aren’t purely relegated to warmer temperatures, but instead more extreme weather patterns. More frequent and intense wildfires as a result of dryer conditions are often included in those effects and a sign that we must act now to reverse the impacts to a segment of the population..

Are we going to attribute these fires to global climate change? Please hold off on the angry comments for now, as we are not. We can acknowledge climate change and not attribute everything bad that happens in our local climate to that. That is a fallacy due to recency bias at best, purposeful misdirection at worst. There will never be a time where we can attribute a local weather event to a global concern. Could that be the case? Sure, but reality tends to be much more nuanced.

Instead of attempting to make a political point in either direction however, it’s best to acknowledge the possibility and adjust accordingly. One way is to listen to the advice of the businesses most impacted by wildfires: insurance companies. For instance, insurance giant Chubb is happy to offer you a number of ways that you can make your home more resistant to wildfires, which you can find here. Sage advice, as you know they have a vested interest in your home not burning down nearly as much as you do.

Also, especially for those on the outskirts of the city and with a bit more land, is the animals they have on that land. It’s easier for an individual or family to evacuate in the face of danger, much more difficult for a ranch with horses or livestock. This current fire should serve as a good reminder to have an exit plan in place, to keep it updated, to consider a dry run on occasion, and to take it seriously. The stakes are significant and shouldn’t be minimized.

Scottsdale is in a unique situation; it has walked the fine balance between urbanization and protection of its open spaces extremely well. But that also means that the issues inherent in nature will often creep up and impact people. Instead of trying to point fingers, those who are on the front lines should instead be highly prepared for the possibility that hopefully will never come to fruition, but very well might.