New research reveals “a major shift in U.S. wildfire norms,” according to experts — a shift that can be blamed on people.
University of Colorado Boulder scientists have found that human-sparked fires have steadily ticked up in recent years, researchers said in a news release on the study. The findings were published Monday in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography.
“The leading cause of wildfire ignitions in the United States is shifting away from lightning and towards human activity,” lead author Megan Cattau, a former CIRES and CU Boulder Earth Lab scientist, said in a statement. “And it’s looking like this is going to be our new normal.” Across the U.S., wildfires are growing larger and striking more frequently as the fire season stretches longer and longer, researchers said.