Wildfires Have Burned More Than 2.6 Million Acres So Far This Year

Off to a roaring start

Climate Change and Wildfire

Climate Change and Wildfire

A infographic explaining the relationship of climate change and wildfire.Missoula Fire Sciences Laboratory

The Department of the Interior says wildfires are getting worse, and the 2016 wildfire season is off to a roaring start:

Already, more than 29,000 wildfires have burned over 2.6 million acres in 2016, increasing concerns that we could see yet another busy, dangerous and costly fire season. Last year was the most severe on record, with more than 10 million acres burned. That’s more than twice the size of the state of Massachusetts. It was also the costliest at $2.1 billion.

- Department of Interior

The DOI's post explains in blunt detail how rising temperatures and changes in weather patterns associated with global warming have made it both more likely that fires will start, and more difficult to put them out.

As warming continues, mountaintop snow is melting sooner in the west, leading to warmer and drier conditions during the seasons most affected by wildfires.

Smokey Bear might need to change his slogan... although "It's getting harder to prevent forest fires" isn't exactly optimistic.