When I read Judy Fahys' excellent "Climate change 'playing a role' in wildfires" (Tribune, July 1), I thought to myself, "and, conversely, wildfires are playing a role in climate change."
Burning landscapes, especially forests, release the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, while healthy forests absorb CO2. This amplifies the warming effect of burning fossil fuels.
There are other processes that will intensify the Earth's human-caused warming, including: increased absorption of the sun's heat by ground once covered by ice; release of methane from the melting permafrost; and release of carbon dioxide from the warming oceans.
The potential for amplification is arguably the most frightening aspect of global warming.
Amplification has the ability to make the Earth's climate spin out of the balance that humans enjoyed while our civilization was developing.
These fires should be a reminder to all of us to do our part to reduce greenhouse emissions and, more important, to elect visionary politicians who will craft bold legislative solutions commensurate with the gravity of the climate change problem.