Higher global temperatures also mean more drought and wildfires. This year has been particularly devastating for wildfires in California.
One of the worst was the Carr fire near Redding in northern California. John Vaillant and photographer Tim Hussin travelled to the area in the aftermath of the 81,000-hectare fire to meet residents there, many of whose lives have been destroyed by the blaze. The Carr fire was particularly dangerous because a combination of toxic elements – high heat, plenty of fuel and high winds – turned a wildfire into what scientists refer to as a “fire whirl”. It might make sense to think of it as a tornado made of fire.