Hotter and drier weather and earlier snow melt mean that wildfires in the West start earlier in the spring, last later into the fall, and burn more acreage.And the Arizona Republic reported on July 26:
The cost of fighting wildfires has nearly quadrupled since three decades ago, and to feed the mounting expenses, the U.S. Forest Service has been forced to tap into funds that would help mitigate future fire damage.You can see the video below the fold.
A new study by the Union of Concerned Scientists found that federal fire-management efforts are disproportionately skewed in favor of fire suppression, costing more than $1 billion every year since 2000.
The study, "Playing with Fire," posits that climate change is "producing hotter, drier conditions in the American West, which contribute to more large wildfires and longer wildfire seasons.
The report from the UCS can be found here, and the introductory page includes this:
The risk to people and their homes is rising as a result, a growing danger made worse by the increasing number of homes and businesses being built in and near wildfire-prone areas. Past fire suppression and forest management practices have also led to a build-up of flammable fuel wood, which increases wildfire risks.The White House video is here:
Costs are soaring in response. The expense of fighting wildfires and protecting life and property from harm is nearly four times greater than it was 30 years ago and has exceeded $1 billion every year since 2000 (in 2012 dollars).
Other costs, including the impact on public health, property, ecosystems, and livelihoods, are significant, often far exceeding firefighting costs.