Opinion, arguments & analyses from the editors of Scientific American

Wildfires, Already out of Control, Could Increase Sixfold


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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