Matt Richtel and Fernanda Santosapril. 2016. Wildfires, Once Confined to a Season, Burn Earlier and Longer. New York Times.

Type
Literature
Publication
Matt Richtel and Fernanda Santosapril. 2016. Wildfires, Once Confined to a Season, Burn Earlier and Longer. New York Times.
Year Published
2016
Description

"In some areas, 'we now have year-round fire seasons, and you can say it couldn't get worse than that'", said Matt Jolly, a research ecologist for the US Forest Service. However, they expect that it probably will get worse. This New York times Science section article highlights how fires were once confined to a single season but have become a continuous threat in some parts of the US and globally. Fires have occurred in the winter and in the fall in the western US, and in Australia have burned for almost 12 months. Already this year, the first Alaska wildfire broke out in late February, and a second fire occurred there just eight days later. On the border of Arizona and California, a wildfire was so intense that flames jumped the Colorado River. The key driver behind these trends is climate change. Declining snowpack leads to less soil moisture, and warmer temperatures result in increased evapotranspiration, which turns vegetation into kindling. Fire suppression has made things even worse. According to Ray Rasker, the executive director of Headwater Economics, a consulting organization on fire prevention, "It adds up to more people dying, more houses burning, and agencies devoting more than half of their fire budget to defending homes."

Geography