Photo via Daiko
Researchers have a dire forecast for the next six months in the western US: it'll be exceptionally hot, very dry, and 3.66 million acres will be scorched by fires. Apologies for the End of Days-y language, but the truth is that the researchers who compile the national drought and fire forecast are concerned that the rest of the year will see hotter, drier weather, and a higher concentration of fires in the West than usual. From Greenwire:
Higher-than-normal fire levels are expected in most of Texas, the Southwest, California and the Pacific Northwest this year compared to a base period of 1971 to 2000, they said, with huge fires projected for much of Northern California and the Sierra Nevada range.Note that while 3.66 million seems like a scary number of acres to be set ablaze, it's actually pretty close to the national average--the scary thing is that that the researchers have noted an "unusual" concentration of fires in western states. California--which can't seem to catch a break from getting hit by blazes--Oregon, and Washington are believed to suffer the worst. And then there are the droughts:
By far the worst drought conditions, referred to as "extremely dry," are found in California, western Oregon and Washington, pockets of North Carolina and northern Wisconsin.The researchers believe the aberrant weather could be due to the beginnings of El Nino, which causes shifts in climate that lead to increased frequency of lightening--which means more fires. The relationship between drier, more fire-prone weather conditions and climate change isn't detailed in the report.