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Wildfires and Climate Change



Wildfire events have been naturally occurring on Earth for thousands of years. Over the past 20 years, their occurrence has increased significantly due to drought and higher temperatures caused by climate change. In the United States, dry domains accommodate wildfires much more frequently than any other part of the country. In the year 2020 the United States had the most land loss out of any other country due to wildfires, over 4 million acres.


The increased presence of wildfires leads to further evidence of a climate crisis. As climate change evolves continuously through the years, we can expect shorter winters, a later first frost, warmer and earlier springs, and longer, dryer summers. Dry climates heighten the risk of wildfires dramatically. More than half of the land in the United States consists of forests and grasslands, which are highly susceptible to forest fires during periods of dry weather accompanied by dry soil and no moisture.


With the increased risks of wildfires due to climate change, dry domains make human caused wildfires to be much more likely. 80% of wildfires are caused by human activity. There are many ways humans can cause wildfires such as by throwing a lit cigarette out the window, not completely extinguishing campfires, purposefully committing arson, electrical power damages, and burning debris. Human caused wildfires are preventable with correct direction, caution, and sensitivity. When it comes to natural caused wildfires, the most common event is lightning. Naturally caused wildfires can also be ignited by volcanic eruptions and coal seam fires, these events are both rare.


Education towards counteracting wildfires is increasing in communities where drought and high temperatures are consistent. As our world progresses towards hotter and drier conditions, awareness needs to be spread and developed to help protect our forests and wildlife.



Citations

1) Don't put fires out. prevent them. Cool Earth.

https://www.coolearth.org/news...

2) Embers under the earth: The surprising world of coal seam fires: Fires: Global forest watch blog. Global Forest Watch Content.

https://www.globalforestwatch..

3) Global wildfires by the numbers. Climate Reality Project. https://www.climaterealityproj...

4) Here's how climate change affects wildfires. Environmental Defense Fund. (n.d.).

https://www.edf.org/climate/he...

5) Season creep. Climate Signals. (n.d.). https://www.climatesignals.org...

6) U.S. Department of the Interior. (n.d.). Wildfire causes and evaluations (U.S. National Park Service). National Parks Service. https://www.nps.gov/articles/w...

7) Will global warming produce more frequent and more intense wildfires? U.S. Geological Survey. (n.d.).

https://www.usgs.gov/faqs/will...




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