Human-caused climate change boosts wildfires in Western U.S.

Human-caused climate change boosts wildfires in Western U.S.

It is proven fact that wildfires in the western half of the U.S. have been erupting more frequently, charring larger swathes of land for the last 30 years. Now, a new study into the issue has suggested that human-caused climate change is to be blamed for the issue.

The new study, titled the "Impact of anthropogenic climate change on wildfire across western U.S. forests," revealed that wildfires increased nine-folds in terms of annual area burned between 1984 and 2015.

Wildfires depend on a number of factors to get started, including how many dry trees are available to burn. The research found that human-caused climate change left more trees dry, proving more fuel for forest fires.

The report states, "Over the period between 1984 and 2015, we've seen a significant trend - a nine-fold increase in annual area burned. We estimate that human-caused climate change contributed to an additional 4.2 million hectares (10.3 million acres) of forest fire area during 1984-2015, nearly doubling the forest fire area expected in its absence."

Humans contribute to climate change by burning fossil fuels, such as coal and petroleum products. Burning of these fuels causes greenhouse gas emissions, which trap heat in the atmosphere.

The shocking findings of study were published in the most recent issue of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).


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