Biodiversity

Why are wildfires getting worse? These scientists explain

Given the immense diversity of Western forests, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Image: REUTERS/Umit Bektas

Susan J. Prichard

Research Scientist of Forest Ecology, University of Washington

Keala Hagmann

Affiliate Assistant Professor, University of Washington

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Fewer fires, but more acres burnt
Ironically, a chronic lack of fire in Western landscapes also contributes to increased fire severity and vulnerability to wildfires. Image: National Interagency Fire Center

Photos of Bethel Ridge, a moist mixed conifer forest in eastern Washington, show the difference in patchiness in 1936 compared with 2012.
Photos of Bethel Ridge, a moist mixed conifer forest in eastern Washington, show the difference in patchiness in 1936 compared with 2012. Image: National Archives (1936); John Marshall Photography (2012)

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Related topics:

BiodiversityClimate ChangeUnited States

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