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Wildfires In The U.S. Are Getting Bigger

FiveThirtyeight: “A California wildfire that started on Friday doubled in size over the weekend, killing a firefighter and threatening Yosemite National Park. And it’s not the only blaze burning. It’s looking like 2018 could be another big year for wildfires in the United States: 3,362,431 acres have already burned to date in 2018 — an area a little smaller than the state of Connecticut. That’s 4 percent more than the 10-year average for this time of year, despite the fact that the actual number of fires is about 6.7 percent less than the 10-year average…Weather cycles and climate changes both play a big role in shaping wildfires, said Carrie Bilbao, a public affairs specialist for the National Interagency Fire Center, the federal agency that coordinates predictive services and wildfire response throughout the United States. For instance, she said, 2017 had a late, wet spring followed by a dry, hot summer. The result was an abundance of vegetation growth that then dried out and turned to kindling. And while weather patterns like that bounce around from year to year, climate changes are also probably affecting long-term trends — with hotter weather, longer growing seasons and even stronger winds that help feed the flames…”

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