What is the connection between wildfires and climate change?

The NASA article The Climate Connections of a Record Fire Year in the U.S. West by Alan Buis (2/22/2021) provides a wildfire and climate summary. A few quotes:

Another factor driving changes in U.S. Western wildfires is a greater availability of fuel. Drier air stresses vegetation, making forests more susceptible to severe wildfires, while droughts are creating more dead fuel.

“Climate affects how long, how hot and how dry fire seasons are,” she said. “As climate warms, we’re seeing a long-term drying and warming of both air and vegetation.”

Yet another factor driving changes in Western U.S. wildfires is a greater number of ignition sources, both natural and human-caused.

There are other graphs in the article and a link to the paper that produced the graph copied here.

About Thomas J. Pfaff

Thomas J. Pfaff is a Professor of Mathematics at Ithaca College. He created this website because he believes that sustainability, ranging from climate change to social justice, should be included in all courses whenever possible.

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