More than a half-million Americans had close encounters with catastrophic wildfires between 2000 and 2019 — partly because they lived in high-risk wildfire areas, but also because
published in the journal Nature Sustainability, reflect what experts from Boise State University call “cumulative primary human exposure” to wildfire. It is a sobering indicator of how wildfires are shifting closer to populated areas, a condition that will worsen as the
“This is wildfire getting out of hand,” said Mojtaba Sadegh, an assistant professor of civil engineering at Boise State and senior author of the study published this month. “
ived in Western states, notably California, the researchers found. But more than 106,000, or 18 percent, of those facing catastrophic risk were in states from the Great Plains to Florida.
e common in forests from Maine to Minnesota as conditions grow warmer and drier, experts say. Northern Minnesota’s Superior National Forest, for example, has seen an marked uptick in wildfires, including a 93,000-acre fire in 2011 in the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness.
Sadegh said the findings have immediate implications for local, state and federal agencies responsible for maintaining firefighting infrastructure and human resources, as well as managing wildfire evacuations. Insurers, too, are becoming more aware of wildfire risk, particularly in places such
This is something we need to live with; this is not going to go away, especially in the next couple of decades,” he said. “We have to think about how we become more resilient to this.”
Glasp is a social web highlighter that people can highlight and organize quotes and thoughts from the web, and access other like-minded people’s learning.