Hotter, dryer summers have led to increased megafires and Paul Hessburg, a research landscape ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service, said he fears our wildfire seasons will get much worse.
A megafire is a fire that grows larger than 100,000 acres, and Washington and the western United States in general have seen a lot of them. The 2014 and 2015 fire seasons both set records, Hessburg said, speaking Tuesday at an “Era of Megafires” event hosted by the Spokane Regional Health District in Spokane Community College Lair Auditorium.
“Some areas lost upwards of 3,000 structures in one fire,” he said. “These effects won’t just continue, they’ll continue to worsen.”
Decades of effective fire suppression have led to forests densely packed with trees with the ground littered with dead trees and other fuels.