More monster fires likely

Climate change may increase intensity, likelihood of wildfires in West

There is evidence to suggest wildfires in the West are becoming more ferocious and commonplace, experts say.

While scientists have emphasized that no individual fire can be linked to climate change, there are indications that fires are bigger, more unpredictable and more intense, according to The Associated Press. Federal records indicate that, compared to the average 40 years ago, more recent wildfires are burning through twice as much acreage per year.

The fire outside the Arizona mountain town of Yarnell that recently killed 19 members of a firefighting team is an example of the type of intense blaze that has become increasingly common, said University of Arizona fire-history expert Don Falk.

“Twenty years ago, I would have said this was a highly unusual, fast-moving, dangerous fire,” he said. “Now, unfortunately, it’s not unusual at all.”