Thursday, August 01, 2013

Extreme Wildfires in Western U.S. Likely Fueled by Climate Change

Not surprising, but it is helpful to be reminded that we all need to put some effort into not being wasteful. Eg., turning off your computer at the end of the day takes negligible effort, and is something you can do to help.

Aug. 1, 2013 — Climate change is likely fueling the larger and more destructive wildfires that are scorching vast areas of the American West, according to new research led by Michigan State University scientists.

These erratic fires are harder to contain and often result in catastrophic damage and loss of property and life. Although not analyzed in the study, the recent Arizona wildfire that began with a lightning strike and killed 19 firefighters appeared to be such an unpredictable, fast-spreading blaze, according to a state report.

The MSU-led study, which appears in the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology, predicts the trend will continue in the western United States.

"Our findings suggest that future lower atmospheric conditions may favor larger and more extreme wildfires, posing an additional challenge to fire and forest management," said Lifeng Luo, MSU assistant professor of geography and lead author on the study.


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