USFS Gila National Forest/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Climate change has doubled forest fires in western United States

A dramatic increase in forest fire damage in the western United States is linked to climate change, new research suggests. In the past 3 decades, acreage burned by forest fires has doubled, according to the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Simultaneously, temperatures rose more rapidly in the region than other places around the world because of global warming. Drier conditions combined with dead trees and plants left behind from prior burns fueled even more massive forest fires, Time reports. Or as one researcher told Time: “No matter how hard we try, the fires are going to keep getting bigger, and the reason is really clear. We should be getting ready for bigger fire years than those familiar to previous generations.”