It seems as though man made climate change has doubled the amount of land burned in U.S. forest fires within the past 30 years. According to the National Interagency Fire Center the amount of acres burned has risen from 2.9 million in 1985, to 10.1 million in 2015.
A study published in the the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that a significant amount of this change has been directly influenced by the climate change that has taken place. There are of course also natural climate changes and other factors like how we use the land at hand, but the study suggests that manmade climate change is having the biggest impact.
Author of the study and Columbia University researcher Park Williams explained why it’s something to be aware of.
“No matter how hard we try, the fires are going to keep getting bigger, and the reason is really clear. We should be getting ready for bigger fire years than those familiar to previous generations.”
Global warming leads to more fires simply because the warmer weather creates more dryness, creating both fuel and ideal environments for fire to thrive. Since 1970 the temperatures in the U.S have risen an average of 2.5 degrees F which is higher than on the rest of the planet.