1/3/2013 - NASA researchers say to expect more wildfires
With dry conditions expected to become more common throughout the country over the next decade, experts believe that wildfires will occur with greater frequency in the coming years.
At the annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco, scientists from NASA showed how more active dry spells could exacerbate wildfire incidents through the use of satellite data and computer models.
"Climate models project an increase in fire risk across the U.S. by 2050, based on a trend toward drier conditions that favor fire activity and an increase in the frequency of extreme events," said Doug Morton, who hails from NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center located in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Researchers also indicated that greenhouse gas emissions may additionally be responsible for the uptick in wildfire frequency, noting that active years like 2012 could be the new normal in each decade between now and 30 to 50 years down the road.
Already, wildfires appear to be occurring with greater intensity. Data from the Insurance Information Institute shows that last year, eight million acres were scorched all across the U.S., resulting in more than $850 million in property insurance losses.