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Climate Change and US Forest Fires

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Alycia Taft-Howard

on 30 March 2017

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Transcript of Climate Change and US Forest Fires

Over the last 30 years, climate change has doubled the area affected by forest fires in the Western United States

Average temperatures in the forested parts of the U.S. have gone up about 2.5 degrees F since the 1970's. The resulting gradual effect is apparent in the rise of more fires.

Further warming will likely increase over the next few decades

Some other contributions to forest fires are
Storm systems that steer away from the Pacific Ocean
Firefighting (provides buildup of dry fuel for fires to burn later)
Climate Change and US Forest Fires
How Do Forest Fires Start?
Plants, trees, soil and vegetation lose their moisture by increases in temperature which dry out the land. The dryer the land, the more likely the chance of a fire to start.
Occasionally, forest fires are caused by lightning strikes. When it strikes, it can cause a spark. If this spark hits the right object, such as a tree, a fire can start.
The only exception to this is man made fires, which are caused either accidentally or purposefully by humans. Man made causes include arson, campfires, discarding lit cigarettes, not burning debris properly, playing with matches or fireworks.

Summary of Findings
What is climate change?
Climate change is the change in weather patterns, lasting for an increasingly long amount of time, across a particular climate or even the globe.
Known effects of Climate Change :
Sea levels rising
High tide
Loss of sea ice
Loss of polar bear habitat
Longer/Hotter heat waves
Milder winters
Risk of animal extinction
Loss of habitat and food source
Droughts and flooding
higher rate of evaporation, more serious storms
Works Cited
Why should we care?
eS. How is a wildfire started? How is a wildfire started? [accessed 2017 Mar 28]. http://eschooltoday.com/natural-disasters/wildfires/what-can-start-a-wildfire.html

eS.WWF-UK. 2016 Oct 2 [accessed 2017 Mar 28]. https://www.wwf.org.uk/updates/effects-climate-change

Understanding Fire Effects on the Environment. Pacific Northwest Research Station. [accessed 2017 Mar 29]. https://www.fs.fed.us/pnw/research/fire/fire-effects.shtml
Increase in forest fires also contributes to adding more greenhouse gases to the environment, furthering the extent of climate change.

Loss of topsoil can impact moisture retention and nutrient levels of the soil.

Smoke causes health issues that kills nearly 340,000 people per year

US government spent over $2 billion on firefighting last year
by. Catherine Bondy, Molly Harty, and Alycia Howard
In the end, the effects of climate change are present in various parts of society. We can't reverse the effects, but we can still work hard to do our best and make sure we slow the process down.
Full transcript