Reforming the Wildfire Budget Is Critical for Our Public Lands

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With just two weeks to go until Memorial Day, wildfire season is already in full swing. This year, California already has seen more than 1,100 fires—double the average of the previous five years—and experts are forecasting above-normal wildfire potential across much of the West this summer.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program recently released the National Climate Assessment, a survey of the best available science about the effects of climate change in the United States. It predicts that over the next 50 years, the area burned by wildfires will double in the southern Rockies and increase by as much as 74 percent in California as wildfire seasons become longer and more damaging. In the West, climate change is resulting in drier and hotter weather, more intense and frequent droughts, and low snowpack that, taken together, are increasing the risks of wildfire.

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