Wildfires are becoming increasingly common in regions previously not at-risk for flames, suggests an analysis of 20 years’ worth of data by The Guardian. Climate change, which is drying out forests and wetlands to the point of kindling, and the development of grasslands for agricultural or urban use, are responsible for the changed pattern of wildfires, experts say.
“Since the early 2000s, we are seeing a decline in grassland fires, which dominate the global numbers. At the same time, there is an increase in some high-fuel systems such as the western U.S. that several studies have connected to climate change,” Niels Andela, an expert in remote sensing for environmental research and lecturer at Cardiff University, told The Guardian. “This trend is not yet visible everywhere, but it is likely to become more apparent in other parts of the world.”