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Observations

Observations

Opinion, arguments & analyses from the editors of Scientific American

Wildfires, Already out of Control, Could Increase Sixfold

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Wildfires are rampant this year. They broke out earlier than ever in California. In June, nineteen firefighters lost their lives in a hellish Arizona blaze. Last year, New Mexico had the largest wildfire in state history, and Colorado had its second largest wildfire ever.

Is any of this a surprise? Unfortunately, no. As Scientific American showed in 2011, if average temperatures rise even slightly, more and larger fires are likely across the U.S. West. The data we mapped out is below. For a higher resolution graphic, and the text that accompanied it, see the original page.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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