climate in crisis

Climate in Crisis: Wildfire Season May Set New Record

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

In the past what’s considered "the wildfire season" ran from June through November. But as our climate gets warmer and the west gets drier, wildfire season can be year-round.

To date we’ve already had over 5,600 fires scorching 480,000 acres across California. In the west, a million and a half acres have burned to date, even before we hit the peak of heat and dry brush.

Unfortunately, it’s expected to be another historic season that could be even worse than 2020. One of the top fire weather researchers, Neil Lereau, says climate change affects wildfire behavior.

Lereau, a physics professor at University of Nevada, Reno, says, "As it gets warmer and drives more moisture out of the out of the soil in and out of it out of the vegetation. The atmosphere gets thirstier basically for moisture. And so it’s not just the heat but the demand for water in the atmosphere has added that we see impacting that the fuels and the way forests are going to come back. And then ultimately also that the fire behavior they we’re experiencing."

Watch Kari Hall's full interview about our wildfire season with Neil Lereau above.

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