Smithsonian Magazine: “Six Big Ways Climate Change Could Impact the United States by 2100”

RFF Fellow Matthew Wibbenmeyer comments on the threat of climate-driven wildfire.

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Feb. 5, 2024

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Smithsonian Magazine

“Matthew Wibbenmeyer, an economist at Resources for the Future, explains that because of climate change, fuel for fires, such as plant material, becomes drier and stays dry for longer parts of the year. Earlier snowmelt contributes to drying earlier in the year, which can also lengthen the fire season. ‘For wildfires to occur there needs to be fuel, and it needs to be ready to burn,’ says Wibbenmeyer. ‘What we have due in part to forest management in some parts of the Western US is a lot of fuel; and then due to climate, it’s ready to burn. Both of those factors combine to produce the situation we’re in now.’ ...

‘All the climate work that I’ve seen points in the direction of increasing wildfire activity,’ says Wibbenmeyer, ‘at least in the Western US and North America, at least in the foreseeable future.’”

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