U.S. West Should Expect Bigger Wildfires More Often

U.S. West Should Expect Bigger Wildfires More Often

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A warming trend has contributed to a sharp rise in the number and size of wildfires on forest lands in the U.S. West, where big burns are likely to become the norm, according to a report released by a climate research group. The average annual number of fires that cover more than 1,000 acres has nearly quadrupled in Arizona and Idaho and doubled in California, Colorado and six other Western states since 1970, the study by Climate Central showed.

Richard Wiles, director of research for Climate Central – a nonprofit scientific research organization that reports on climate change – said the data showed massive wildfires greater than 100,000 acres do not appear in records before the late 1980s. “It may be a relatively new phenomenon for national forests,” he said.

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