Reason for Increase in Fires is Troublesome, Indeed

Originally appeared in the Fort Collins Coloradoan on July 13, 2013 

Kevin Duggan suggests that we “don’t panic” about another fire season (“ Best advice for another fire season: Don’t panic ,” June 14). Yet we have much to be anxious about. The scientific community is warning us that the unprecedented number of wildfires is the result of global warming. 

According to the National Wildlife Federation, global warming contributes to wildfires in four ways: longer fire seasons, drier conditions, more fuel for forest fires, and increased frequency of lightning: https://www.nwf.org/~/media/PDFs/Global-Warming/NWF_WildFiresFinal.ashx

Additionally, Todd Stanford of the Union of Concerned Scientists states that the greatest increase in fires occurs in the mid-elevation Northern Rockies forests, which are having higher spring and summer temperatures and earlier snowmelt, two conditions directly linked to global warming. Finally, according to a federal report released in 2012 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, wildfires in the U.S. will be at least twice as destructive by 2050, burning around 20 million acres nationwide each year (see www.usda.gov/oce/climate_change/effects_2012/FS_Climate1114 opt.pdf). We have every reason to panic as our state again burns, the result of the destruction of our climate. 

Even if the fires don’t affect Fort Collins as directly as they did last year, we are all part of the global community. We must all act now to reduce global warming. For more information about how to get involved locally, contact the Fort Collins Sustainability Group, an affiliate of the Fort Collins Community Action Network, at (970) 419-8944 or [email protected]

Brian Anderson, Fort Collins 

Author: Rick Casey

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