Environmental Research Letters
Control fire -- NWT, Canada. (USDA Forest Service photo.)
As summer weather becomes increasingly drier and warmer, the risks of forest fires increase and their manageability decreases. A new study has modelled the key forest fire factors in boreal forests within the framework of changing climate models, and the results aren't hopeful: future forest fires will likely rage stronger and be much more difficult to contain than ever before. Researchers looked at three main predicting factors in forest fires: forest fuel types (in other words, what burns up in a forest fire: species of trees in the forests, type of forest and shrub cover, presence of lichens, wood chips or mosses on the ground surface); weather scenarios for the next 80 years; and fire behaviour (how the fire will spread, how fast it will travel, how intense it is, etc.) Their findings showed that the proportion of days in fire seasons with the potential for unmanageable fire will increase across the Canada's forest, more than doubling in some regions in northern and eastern boreal forest.