Why fires are climbing higher than ever before due to increased western aridity

Factsheet/brief icon

View brief.

Climate-driven changes in global temperatures and aridity are directly correlated with the decreasing interval between high-elevation fires. Fire activity is increasingly disproportionate at higher elevations than that of lower elevation forests in the Western United States. Studies documented an upslope advance of high-elevation fires of roughly 7.6 m (25 ft) per year. An additional 81,500 km2 (31,500 miles2) of the western United States forested regions were exposed to fires due to increased aridity between 1984 and 2017.

Stay Connected