Climate Change and Wildfires: What’s the Connection? Print E-mail
What is the connection between climate change and wildfires

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Featured by EPA, a member of the U.S. Global Change Research Program

The rise of wildfire activity in the U.S. is an important scientific and environmental issue - one that that is being amplified by the effects of climate change.

In a study funded by EPA, scientists are modeling projections of wildfire activity fifty years from now. The study takes into account the possible effects of global warming - changing vegetation and less precipitation - in areas already prone to wildfire activity, to determine how future fires may affect air quality.

Using past data, the team built models that link wildfire activity to meteorological conditions. The scientists estimate that by the year 2050, wildfire activity is expected to double in the Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Rocky Mountains Forest, and the Eastern Rockies/Great Plains regions.

According to the study, the combination of a longer fire season and an increase in the acreage burned could have impacts far beyond the immediate fire zone, negatively affecting visibility in national parks and wilderness areas and worsening the air quality.

To view the Environmental Protection Agency blog post on this report, please click here.

To download a PDF of the report, please click here.