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A Drier Future Sets the Stage for More Wildfires

Droughts creates ideal conditions to wildfires. The lack of rain and low humidity dries out trees and plants, providing fuel.  Under those conditions, lightining, electrical failures, human error can make even the planned fires get out of control quickly.  Global climate change is predicted to change precipitation and evaporation patterns  all over the world, leading to wetter climate in some areas and drier in others. Areas that face severe droughts will also be at risk for more and larger fires. Ben Cook of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York tested soil moisture data samples and  drought severity indices from 17 different future climate models, and they all predicted that if greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase at their present rate, the risk of a megadrought in the American Southwest could hit 80 percent by the end of the century.  In addition, droughts will probably be even more severe than those seen in the past.  Wildfires can also affect future winter snowpacks (the snow that accumulates over an entire winter, rather than a single snowfall). Studies shows that soot and debris from fire makes snow darker and less reflective for up to 15 years after a fire. Darker snow means more absorvation of sunlight energy, making it melt earlier. Source: https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2891/a-drier-future-sets-the-stage-for-more-wildfires/