Thursday, June 22, 2006
More portents of global warming
Is Global Warming Fueling Western Wildfires?
Bill Blakemore, ABC
This year, wildfires have already burned more than 3 million acres — more than three times the average at this time of year.
Many scientists say that these fires fit exactly into the pattern predicted for global warming and that it's likely to get, on average, even drier and hotter.
Over the last month, ABC News has traveled through the San Bernardino Mountains, Western Sierras, and Rockies to find out what scientists and firefighters make of the new flames they must now face.
The size and ferocity of these wildfires plaguing the West right now — many growing in size every hour — astonishes even experienced fire chiefs like Mat Fratus of the San Bernardino City Fire Department.
"I had talked to people who had been in the fire service their entire career, and not only this fire, but fires in preceding years, because of the drought, because of the fuel conditions, they produced fire behavior, flame links, intensities that we had never really experienced before," Fratus said.
...Today's wildfires are part of a worsening pattern most everywhere.
Since 1970, the number of major wildfires has soared not only in North America but around the world.
(21 June 2006)