Climate change pushes West into a fire-prone future
A paper that examined climate change's likely effects on global fire patterns predicts the West will see more wildfire, said an article by Bettina Boxall in the Los Angeles Times.
The lead author of the paper, published Tuesday in the journal Ecosphere, was Max Moritz, UC Cooperative Extension specialist in the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management at UC Berkeley. Moritz, a wildfire expert, and his colleagues concluded that by the end of the century, much of the world will experience more wildfire than it does now.
Rising temperatures lengthen the fire season and dry out vegetation, making it more flammable. More rain could increase plant growth, producing more fuel to burn. In other areas, climate change may reduce fire. More rain in the tropics could decrease fire; less rain in other areas may reduce fuel levels and stunt plant growth, cutting the fire potential.
“Fire is not going anywhere,” Moritz said. The study results, he said, emphasize the need “to rethink how we live with fire and take it more seriously.”
Climate change likely means more fire for the West.