Grassland and shrubland fires burn more land and destroy more homes across the United States than forest fires, a new study found.

By Nadja Popovich
The New York Times
November 9, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States

Forest fires may get more attention, but a new study reveals that grassland fires are more widespread and destructive across the United States. Grass and shrub fires burned more land and destroyed more homes than forest fires. But many residents are not as aware of wildfire risk in grasslands and shrublands. When the Marshall fire swept into the Boulder suburbs in 2021, killing two people and incinerating more than 1,000 homes, many residents were shocked… The community’s risk was high: Many homes were close to wide expanses of tall, dry grass that were primed to burn. Propelled by strong winds, the flames easily jumped from grasses to homes …A new study, in the journal Science, shows how the country’s wildfire problem reaches beyond the West, and beyond forests. …Because grasslands and forests need to burn from time to time to clear out pests and unwanted vegetation, prescribed burns are an important tool for wildfire management. [The New York Times requires a subscription to read the full article]

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