Predicting wildfire

Yellowstone at risk?

A new study that predicts how wildfires will affect the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem through 2099 says that climate change could cause a sharp increase in blazes and profoundly alter the ecosystem, according to a UC Merced press release.

The study, conducted by UC Merced professor Anthony Westerling and other researchers, predicts that increased temperatures due to global warming will likely cause an increase in the number of wildfires, resulting in decreased forest density and an increase in forests’ inability to regenerate over time, which will negatively affect wildlife, hydrology, carbon storage and overall aesthetics of the area.

In other Yellowstone news, nearly 900 workers are still trying to remove the estimated 1,200 barrels of oil that dumped from a burst ExxonMobil pipeline into the Yellowstone River on July 1. An agricultural committee has been formed to examine the impact the spill could have on farm- and ranch-lands, livestock and crops. Crews have yet to determine when the cleanup will be complete.