Monday, April 17, 2017

Scientists: Get Used to Wildfires in a Warming World



Bobby Magill
April 17, 2017

Communities across the Western U.S. and Canada may have to adapt to living with the ever-increasing threat of catastrophic wildfires as global warming heats up and dries out forests across the West, according to a University of Colorado study published Monday.

Residents living in neighborhoods adjacent to forests — known as “wildland-urban interface” zones — will have to accept that many wildfires may have to be allowed to burn and that building new homes in fire-prone forests should be discouraged, the study says.

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climate change is making wildfire seasons longer and more intense. The trend bends toward bigger, more destructive and drought-driven blazes in the West. On average, wildfires burn six times the acreage they did 45 years ago, Climate Central research shows.

Since the 1970s, the frequency of wildfire has increased 1,000 percent in the Pacific Northwest, 889 percent in the Northern Rockies, 462 percent in the Southwest and 256 percent in California’s Sierra Nevada as the mountain snowpack melts earlier and the fire season lengthens, according to Schoennagel’s team’s research.

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