Experts see climate change fingerprint in worsening heat waves and fires

By Diana Leonard
The Washington Post
May 18, 2023
Category: Carbon, Climate & Bioenergy
Region: Canada, United States

An all-too-familiar scene is playing out in western Canada, this week: forests in flames amid extreme heat while hazardous smoke engulfs cities downwind of the fires. Similar scenes have unfolded in Australia, California, the Pacific Northwest, Europe and China. As both heat waves and wildfires worsen, recent research is tying these extremes ever more strongly to climate change. …“This is a concerning situation given there is so much fire on the landscape already,” said Michael Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia.  …As heat-driven fires continue to become real-world disasters, there is more evidence pointing to the fuel behind them. A study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters… found that nearly 40% of the total forest area burned in the western US and Canada between 1986 and 2021 can be attributed to emissions from fossil fuel producers and cement manufacturers. 

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