Wildfire


2015 Wildfire Season in Oregon: Dangerously High Risks Underscore Need for Action on Climate Change

, lead economist and climate policy manager

Like much of the Pacific Northwest, Oregon is facing the risk of a bad wildfire season this summer. With 86 percent of the state in drought and 34 percent experiencing extreme or exceptional drought conditions, Governor Kate Brown has declared a drought emergency for 15 counties. The state’s May water supply outlook predicts that, with sixty percent of the monitoring sites setting records for the lowest peak snowpack levels in 30 years, it is likely that there will be water shortages this summer. Capping carbon emissions, as proposed in HB 3470, is an important contribution Oregon can make toward limiting future climate risks, including from drought and wildfires. Read more >

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Confronting the Climate Impacts to Rocky Mountain Forests: From the Statistical to the Visceral

, , senior climate scientist

I was in Colorado a short time ago to release “Rocky Mountain Forests at Risk,” our latest report on the regional impacts of climate change. The report focuses on how climate change has amplified the effects of tree-killing insects, wildfires, and stress from heat and drought — what we called a “triple assault” — on forests. But my work on the report didn’t prepare me for the scene that confronted me on the ground.  Read more >

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Climate Change is Putting Iconic Historic Sites and National Parks at Growing Risk

, , deputy director, Climate & Energy Program

Heading into the Memorial Day weekend, like most people in America, my thoughts usually begin to turn to summer vacation. But this year it’s different. I’m pre-occupied with the alarming threat climate change impacts — especially wildfires and coastal flooding — poses to some of our most important and iconic historic sites and national parks. Read more >

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Are the California Wildfires a Sign of Climate Change?

, , former scientist and Kendall Science Fellow

The exceptional heat in Southern California and the dangerous wildfires occurring since May 13 may be a sign of climate change given their severity and timing. As of Friday, May 16, over 10,000 acres have burned throughout Southern California and several locations have surpassed previous temperature records. Read more >

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Early Wildfire Season in New Mexico Starts as U.S. Considers New Funding Sources to Fight Extreme Wildfires

, , senior climate scientist

I experienced very dry conditions in the mountains of northern New Mexico a few weeks back. I spoke with someone who travels to Taos nearly every winter and this was the least snow he could remember. The fire risk sign said “low” in the surrounding forests, but if more snow did not come soon I suspected those signs would start nudging to the yellow and red colors that warn of fire risk. Unfortunately, fires have already erupted in New Mexico this February. Some officials say that if 2014 continues to be the sixth year in a row with drier-than-average conditions on New Mexico’s Rio Grande, this would be the longest dry stretch since before the Rio Grande river gauges existed. Read more >

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