Posted on November 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
A major spruce beetle outbreak has been spreading across forests of southwest Colorado, but that hasn’t been a big factor in recent wildfires in the region, according to CU-Boulder research.
Climate, topography likely more significant, researchers say
Colorado researchers have added another chapter to the long-running debate over beetle-kill and wildfires, finding that spruce beetle infestations haven’t increased the severity of wildfires in southwestern Colorado.
Spruce bark beetles have affected roughly half a million acres of Engelmann spruce and subalpine fir forests across the state in recent years, with infestations documented across an additional 87,000 acres in 2014. Continue reading
Filed under: forest fires, Forest health, forests | Tagged: Colorado, Environment, Forest health, spruce beetles, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 13, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Focusing on local threats, not climate change, may be the best way to spur wildfire mitigation actions
Colorado residents believe that climate change affects the risk of wildfires, but those beliefs don’t necessarily affect their actions when it comes to wildfire mitigation. Photo via U.S. Forest Service.
Wildfires are getting bigger in Colorado.
Whether or not people are convinced that human activities are changing the climate doesn’t play a big role in their decisions about trying to reduce wildfire risks around their property, Colorado-based researchers wrote in a new paper that focused on the Colorado Front Range.
The researchers tried to take a close look at social factors that might motivate people to try and lessen wildfire threats. They found that a “belief” in human-caused climate change is not as significant as previously thought. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, global warming, wildfires | Tagged: climate change, Colorado, global warming, Wildfires | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 9, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
More wildfires ahead as world warms up. Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service.
Study ties ancient wildfire surge in the Rockies to warmer climate phase
Offering yet more evidence that the West’s recent spate of megafires is linked with a warming climate, University of Wyoming researchers showed that a warm spell about 1,000 years ago also spurred more blazes. The study suggests that large fires will continue to increase as a result of a warming climate.
“What our research shows is that even modest regional warming trends, like we are currently experiencing, can cause exceptionally large areas in the Rockies to be burned by wildfires,” says John Calder, a Ph.D. candidate in UW’s Program in Ecology and the Department of Geology and Geophysics. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming, wildfires | Tagged: climate change, global warming, Rocky Mountains, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 15, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Budget ‘borrowing’ reaches $700 million as political gridlock prevents meaningful budget reform
A wildfire in Yellowstone National Park. Photo via National Park Service.
With wildfires still raging across the West, the U.S. Forest Service has already used up its firefighting budget for the year. This week, the agency notified Congress that another $250 million will be needed to cover the spiraling costs.
Subsequently, top cabinet officials sent a formal letter asking Congress to change the way the nation pays for firefighting so that the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management can invest in forest and rangeland restoration, and make lands less vulnerable to catastrophic wildfire.
Filed under: Environment, forest fires, forests | Tagged: Congress, firefighting, forest fires, Forest Service, wildfire budget, Wildfires | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 12, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Budgets aren’t keeping up with wildfire risks
Red zone development boom eats up firefighting budgets.
Sprawling exurban development across the U.S. has put more homes than ever at risk of catastrophic wildfires, according to a new U.S. Forest Service report that maps recent expansion of the so-called wildland-urban interface.
The incredible spurt in home building in that fire-prone zone has direct implications for the cost of wildfire fighting. Increasing densities of people and infrastructure in the WUI makes wildfire management more complex and requires more firefighting assets to ensure an appropriate, safe and effective response, Forest Service officials said as they released new report. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, climate change, Environment, global warming, US Forest Service, wildfires | Tagged: firefighting budget, Forest Service, Wildfires, wildland-urban interface | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 2, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
The 2013 Big Meadows fire in Rocky Mountain National Park scorched more than 600 acres. Photo courtesy RMNP.
Drying grasses and shrubs up fire danger in parts of Colorado
FRISCO — Summer may be winding down, but the wildfire season is not over yet. In the past ten days, fire managers and park rangers at Rocky Mountain National Park have responded to four illegal, escaped campfires.
All four were quickly extinguished, each burning less than 0.25 acres, but park managers say they all had the potential to spread quickly and threaten lives and property. Continue reading
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, forest fires, Snow and weather, wildfires | Tagged: Colorado, fire danger, public lands, Rocky Mountain National Park, Wildfires | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 1, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Space-based data to help reveal ecosystem changes
Satellites have long been tracking sea ice loss in the Canadian Arctic, and new climate models suggest that glaciers in the region are also declining rapidly. Visit this NASA Earth Observatory page for more information.
FRISCO — With more and more studies showing big climate-change impacts to Arctic and subarctic ecosystems, NASA is launching a research project to try and understand the bigger picture.
Some recent studies have shown how boreal forests are shifting quickly as temperatures in the high latitudes soar faster than than the rest of the planet. Biologists are trying to project how global warming will affect wildlife in the region, while another study projects that the “green-up” of the Arctic will amplify global warming.
NASA’s 10-year Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment (ABoVE) will bring together on-the-ground research in Alaska and northwestern Canada with data collected by NASA airborne instruments, satellites and other agency programs, including SMAP, OCO-2, and upcoming ICESat-2 and NISAR missions. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, global warming | Tagged: Arctic, boreal forests, global warming, permafrost, Wildfires | Leave a comment »