Even the wetter forests of Washington could see more wildfire, study shows

By Isabella Breda
Seattle Times
March 1, 2024
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The forests of the Pacific Northwest, sometimes soaked in feet of rainfall each year, are known for growing some of the largest trees in the world. Together, they store thousands of tons of carbon in their trunks and support hundreds of critters. But even these lush forests can be affected by climate change. If the world continues to emit greenhouse gases at its current pace, the North Cascades, Olympic Mountains, Puget Sound lowlands and Western Oregon Cascades could see at least twice as much fire activity in the 30 years following 2035, according to new research led by Alex Dye, a faculty research associate in the Oregon State University College of Forestry. Fire seasons — the dry and hot months — are expected to get longer, in some places spanning from early spring to late fall. …The new research aims to better describe how climate change is impacting a region where fire was historically infrequent, west of the Cascade crest.

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