Monday, July 2, 2012

Fires From The UP To The West: More Information

The Upper-Midwest had not been immune to US forest fires in what has been an early outbreak in 2012, as the Capital Times reported on May 31:

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources personnel and equipment have been dispatched to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to help fight a large forest fire in Luce County.

The Duck Lake fire has consumed more than 21,000 acres and has been about 57 percent contained, according to news accounts from Michigan.

The fire runs from Lake Superior to the south for about 11 miles, to about 14 miles north of Newberry, with 40 miles of fireline.

Michigan DNR officials said 132 structures in the fire zone have been destroyed, including 46 homes or cabins. No injuries have been reported.

Here's a bigger picture, according to The Washington Post:

Colorado and U.S. Forest Service firefighters are battling the state’s most destructive wildfires ever. Lightning and suspected arson ignited them four weeks ago, but scientists and federal officials say the table was set by a culprit that will probably contribute to bigger and more frequent wildfires for years to come: climate change...

“We’ve had record fires in 10 states in the last decade, most of them in the West,” said USDA Undersecretary Harris Sherman, who oversees the U.S. Forest Service.
Over the past 10 years, the wildfire season that normally runs from June to September expanded to include May and October. Once, it was rare to see 5 million cumulative acres burn in a year, but some recent seasons have recorded twice that.

“The climate is changing, and these fires are a very strong indicator of that,” Sherman said.
A study published in Ecosphere, a peer-reviewed journal of the Ecological Society of America, projected that most of North America and much of Europe will witness a jump in the frequency of wildfires by the end of the century, mostly because of increasing temperatures.

“In the long run, we found what most fear: increasing fire activity across large parts of the planet,” said Max A. Moritz, a lead author of the study and fire specialist at the University of California Cooperative Extension.

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