Learning to live with Western wildfires

By P. Higuera, A. Larson and E. Covelli Metcalf
The Bozeman Daily Chronicle
October 28, 2017
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

The 2017 fire season in the Western U.S. has been one of the most extensive and expensive on record, with over 8.8 million acres burned and a price tag exceeding $2 billion in federal firefighting costs alone. …It is natural to ask why there was such extensive burning this summer. The answer is clear: drought. After a fire season like 2017 it’s tempting to search for an accountable party on which to place blame. Recent claims that large and severe fires have been caused by litigious environmental groups and declining harvest rates on public lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service are not consistent with the current scientific understanding of wildfires. The widespread burning during the summer of 2017 was primarily due to the intense drought in the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest.

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