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Experts blame humans starting blazes for ‘major shift’ in cause of US wildfires: Fires started by people rather than lightning or natural causes are becoming the ‘new norm’

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Daily Mail
January 23, 2020

The number of human-caused wildfires has increased in recent decades – sparking a shift in what is ‘normal’ for the devastating blazes, research has found.

The new study of wildfires in America between 1984 and 2016 has found that the leading cause is ‘shifting away from lightning and towards human activity’.

In the past, the strongest fires were caused by natural ignition types, like lightning strikes or El Niño winds, which also tended to be seasonal and easier to predict.

Human-caused, or anthropogenic, fires can be caused intentionally, by arson, or accidentally, for example by dropped cigarettes, fireworks or other negligence.

The team, led by the CU Boulder Earth Lab, say human-caused fires tend to be less hot and cover less territory.

But they say the shift will make fires more frequent and harder to predict, by decoupling them from weather patterns and regular seasons, something the researchers say has become ‘the new normal.’

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This article was posted: Thursday, January 23, 2020 at 5:26 am





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