Monday, July 10, 2006

Climate change fueling wildfires

Average fire season has grown more than 2 months longer; fires are more frequent
Los Angeles Times

In a devastating symptom of global warming, the changing weather of the West has stoked a rise in large wildfires over the past 34 years as spring comes earlier, mountain snows melt sooner and forests dry to tinder in a fever of rising temperatures, scientists reported Thursday.

More than land use changes or forest management practices, the researchers concluded, the changing climate was the most important factor driving a four-fold increase in the average number of large wildfires in the Western United States since 1970.

All told, the average fire season has grown more than two months longer, while fires have become more frequent, burn longer and harder to extinguish. They destroy 6.5 times more land than in the 1970s, the researchers found.
Living with Arctic climate change
People in the Arctic are living at the front line of climate change. Our reporter Doreen Walton spent two months living and hunting with an Inupiat family in Barrow, Alaska, to see how the changes affect their daily lives. Here's her three-part diary.

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