Commenting on the recent wildfires in Colorado tied to climate change, Tom Kenworthy looks ominously toward the summer:
The past decade has seen a sharp increase in the number of acres burned by wildfires. In 2012, 2007 and 2008 more than 9 million acres were burned, and the half dozen worst fire years since 1960 have taken place since 2000. A recent Department of Agriculture report predicts that the acreage burned by wildfires will double by 2050 to about 20 million acres annually.
The report’s findings are in line with previous studies on climate change’s relation to fire risk: a 2012 study found that wildfire burn season is two and a half months longer than it was 40 years ago, and that for every one degree Celsius temperature increase the earth experiences, the area burned in the western U.S. could quadruple.
(Photo: The Montana sun through forest fire smoke by Flickr user Julia Manzerova)