Two trends are converging in large wildland states like Montana — more frequent and severe wildfires and rapid home development in wildfire prone areas. A conference this week examined how homes burn and how to protect them.
Kelly Pohl is with Headwaters Economics, a non-profit research organization based in Bozeman. The group hosted the Building for Wildfire Summit in Big Sky this week along with the Big Sky Fire Department.
"We know that wildfires are becoming more intense, larger and lasting longer in our state, and the data backed this up. Wildfires have gotten bigger since the 1970s. The average acres burned per year is now about triple what it was a few decades ago," Pohl says.
According to the U.S. Forest Service, the wildfire season is also about three months longer due to a warming climate.