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Breakdown: Why wildfire season is getting longer

Published: Aug. 18, 2021 at 10:28 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) -Wildfires especially in California have been worsening with each passing year since the 21st century. Wildfires are thought to be on the rise because of climate change and due to human-caused ignitions according to some scientist.

Research has shown that in the 2000s compared to a time period from the 1920s up to 1999 revealed that the yearly fire season has gotten longer. The height of fire season has also shifted from August to July.

These longer seasons are due to higher annual yearly average temperaures and fires ignited by human causes, like power line disruptions, construction, campfires, cigarettes being thrown out and fireworks. According to research each year since the year 2000 has been record-breaking for wildfire damage.

Research also found that over the past 20 years, there has been a major increase in wildfires that cause catastrophic damage, some scorching more than 10,000 acres. Researchers also report that there has been a rapid increase in the frequency of small, human-caused blazes.

Several of the major fires out west have occured from lightning. However, most of the increase in fires have been because more people move into previously unpopulated areas. These areas may be dry already and may cause fires to spread easily.

Extended periods of hot dry weather, which dry out forests and grasslands and people moving into to remote areas, seems to be the main recipe for the spike in fires according to scientist.

Over 80 percent of wildfires in the US are caused by people. Things like warmer temperatures and drier conditions help fires to spread and make them harder to put out.

Land use and forest management also affect wildfire risk. Scientist perdict that changes in climate will worsen and more and more areas may be affected by wildfires in the United States in the future.

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