Fact 1: in the latter half of the 20th century, the Forest Service’s fire suppression policy led to dangerous levels of unburned woody fuel, while also reducing the number of fires.
Fact 2: The combination of dense stands and warming temperatures is spurring massive pine beetle attacks that kill or weaken trees, making millions of acres ripe for burning.
Fact 3: Research shows that fire activity is more related to temperature—especially early warming in the spring—than to previous fire suppression history or age of timber stands.
Fact 4: in the western u.S., warmer summers since the mid-1980’s are linked to a 78-day increase in the length of the fire season and a four-fold increase in major wildfires compared with the period between 1970 and 1986.
Fact 5: Drier summers mean that large wildfires and smoky skies will increasingly be a part of the Montana landscape.
Latest News: Forests and Climate Change
Jan. 26, 2009: "West's Forests Dying Faster, Study Finds" : Trees in old-growth forests across the West are dying at a small, but increasing rate that scientists conclude is probably caused by longer and hotter summers from a dying climate. ... the death rate is doubling every 17 to 29 years, hitting levels of 0.5 percent to 1.7 percent a year, and was seen in trees of all ages, species, and locations, according to a study published in the Friday edition of the journal Science ... read more