June 16, 2011

Wildfires and Climate Change

As fires like the voracious Wallow Fire spread throughout the Southwest, the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Interior are being pressed to offer solutions.
Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell, one of the witnesses present at the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing yesterday, cited research from within the service to link fires and climate change.

"Throughout the country, we're seeing longer fire seasons, and we're seeing snowpacks that, on average, are disappearing a little earlier every spring," he said, as well as devastating droughts. As a result, fire seasons have lengthened by more than 30 days, on average.

"Our scientists believe this is due to a change in climate," said Tidwell.
Committee Chairman Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-N.M.) tied many of this year's natural disasters to climate change in his opening address, citing the recent "America's Climate Choices" report from the National Academy of Sciences.

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