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As reported previously on IHRR’s blog (see Recent devastating forest fires in US) wildfires have been a severe environmental hazard for the western US. According to the National Interagency Fire Center 8,828,875 acres have been burnt this year (896,664 if you include current active fires), with around 10 percent of burnt acreage in California. The numbers continue to go up.
The increase in size and frequency of wildfires in the US has been attributed to the effects of climate change which has decreased winter snow cover leading to an early spring and making heat waves more intense. The Bagley fire pictured below near Big Bend, California burned a total of 46,011 acres. It was one of a number of large fires that occurred in the western US.
Some spectacular fires broke out across different parts of the US recently especially in Wyoming, Utah and Colorado. The Fontenelle blaze was so bad in Wyoming that firefighters were brought in from Alaska to help put out the hungry flames that have burned 150 square miles of the landscape. The cause of the Fontenelle fire is not known according to the Incident Information website and it isn’t expected to be contained until 22 July, although a report today says that the fire is 75 percent contained. Read more
Great seminar given by Dr Bruce D. Malamud from King’s College London on wildfires in the US and what they mean for how we study risk, including some insights for government policy.