Why the West is Burning
Climate change and the legacy of fire suppression will continue to make the wildfire season longer, costlier, and more destructive.
- Fire is essential to maintaining ecosystem health in many Western forests, woodlands, and grasslands, but decades of fire suppression have caused an unnatural build-up of fuels in some areas.
- Fire activity varies year to year, largely due to the weather, but blazes are generally getting bigger, burning longer, doing more damage, and costing more to suppress.
- An increasing number of acres are being treated with mechanical thinning and prescribed burns, but the backlog is tremendous and there is some disagreement about where to focus the work.
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