Fires have gotten larger, more frequent, and more widespread across the United States since 2000, according to a new CIRES Earth lad-led paper. Projected changes in climate, fuel, and ignitions suggest that those changes are already happening! This means that climate change can ignite more fuel which would make fires even bigger. To evaluate how the size, frequency, and extent of fires have changed in the USA, Iglesias and her colleagues from a research team analyzed data from over 28,000 fires that burned between 2984 and 2018 from monitoring a dataset that combined satellite imagery and the federal fire records.
The team found that there were more fires across all of the USA regions from 2005 to 2018 compared to the previous two decades. In the West and the East, fires being burned doubled, and in the Great Plains which is in the Central USA, the frequency quadrupled. As a result, the land being burned each year increased from 1552 to 5502 square miles!
Fires are killing many people and are burning so much land! Let’s hope that we stop climate change to stop these fires from creating our earth into fiery earth!
Author: Sri Nihal Tammana
PC: William Travis, University of Colorado