New study shows no wildfire increases due to global warming, slight decline in recent decades noted

From SWANSEA UNIVERSITY:  Wildfire — it’s not spreading like wildfire

Global wildfire: Misconceptions about trends and impacts revealed in new research

Prof Stefan Doerr of Swansea University with controlled fire, as part of his research into wildfires CREDIT Dr Cristina Santin, Swansea University

Prof Stefan Doerr of Swansea University with controlled fire, as part of his research into wildfires
CREDIT Dr Cristina Santin, Swansea University

A new analysis of global data related to wildfire, published by the Royal Society, reveals major misconceptions about wildfire and its social and economic impacts.

Prof. Stefan Doerr and Dr Cristina Santin from Swansea University’s College of Science carried out detailed analysis of global and regional data on fire occurrence, severity and its impacts on society.

Their research, published in Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, looked at charcoal records in sediments and isotope-ratio records in ice cores, to build up a picture of wildfire in the past.

In contrast to what is widely portrayed in the literature and media reports, they found that:

  • global area burned has seen an overall slight decline over past decades, despite some notable regional increases. Currently, around 4% of the global land surface is affected by vegetation fires each year.
  • there is increasing evidence that there is less fire in the global landscape today than centuries ago.
  • direct fatalities from fire and economic losses also show no clear trends over the past three decades.

The researchers conclude:

“The data available to date do not support a general increase in area burned or in fire severity for many regions of the world. Indeed there is increasing evidence that there is overall less fire in the landscape today than there has been centuries ago, although the magnitude of this reduction still needs to be examined in more detail.”

Notwithstanding the serious impacts on society that emerge when fires occur close to populated areas, as exemplified so dramatically by the un-seasonally early wildfires in Canada this spring that led to the successful evacuation of an entire town of 80,000 inhabitants, the researchers find that the risk of direct death from fire for the population as a whole is relatively low compared with other natural hazards.

Global deaths 1901-2014

  • wildfire 3,753
  • earthquakes 2.5 million
  • floods 7 million

The researchers, however, also warn about the serious implications of climate change, land use changes and increasing population density in the so called wildland-urban interface. For instance, climate change has already led to a lengthening of the fire season in parts of North America and is likely to increase fire occurrence and severity in many regions of the globe including the UK.

They note:

“The warming climate, which is predicted to result in more severe fire weather in many regions of the globe in this century, will probably contribute further to both perceived and actual risks to lives, health and infrastructure. Therefore the need for human societies to coexist with fire will continue, and may increase in the future.”

Prof. Stefan Doerr of Swansea University, who is also the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Wildland Fire, explained:

“Large scale land use changes are increasingly exposing non-fire adapted landscapes such as tropical peatlands to serious damage by fire”.

Dr Cristina Santin, a biologist at Swansea University, whose research also focuses on the impact of fires on the carbon cycle, added:

“Fire is a fundamental natural ecological agent in many of our ecosystems and only a ‘problem’ where we choose to inhabit these fire-prone regions or when we humans introduce it to non-fire-adapted ecosystems”.

In the synthesis the experts highlight the often fundamental, complex and inevitable role that fire has in both ‘natural’ and ‘man-made’ environments. They argue that the ‘wildfire problem’ is essentially more a social than a natural one and that we need to move towards a more sustainable co-existence with fire. This requires a balanced and informed understanding of the realities of wildfire occurrence and its effects.

###

  • “Global trends in wildfire and its impacts: perceptions versus realities in a changing world”: published by the Royal Society. Abstract.
  • This innovative research paper was produced following a Royal Society discussion meeting, held in September, and was published as part of a volume exploring both the natural and human aspects of fire in the prestigious scientific journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B earlier this week (May 23).
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70 thoughts on “New study shows no wildfire increases due to global warming, slight decline in recent decades noted

  1. …”New study shows no wildfire is increases due to global warming, slight decline in recent decades noted”

    ..Seriously bad grammar !

  2. We are re-thinking a lot about forest fires. Some are even suggesting that it’s time for Smokey the Bear to retire.

      • Smokey Bear (also called Smokey the Bear) is an American advertising mascot created to educate the public about the dangers of forest fires. wiki

        The official name is, and always was, Smokey Bear. However there are many cultural references to Smokey the Bear. The wiki article gives a bunch of examples.

        You can name something anything you like but you have little control over what the public will eventually do with that. example

      • davetherealist -yes.

        Smoky Bear – does not talk. Smoky the Bear talks to children 4-7 yr. The evolution of political fire prevention pertaining to differences within USFS and CalFire. The once great state of California invented the need for urban-residential structure fires at the “interface” (wildland) by allowing construction in high and severe fire zones. “I-Zone” is the moniker. Became a political problem when FEMA via legislation subsidized insurance corporations to cover those high risk owners property post fire.

    • What I want to know is when the common usage, “forest fires,” became “WILDfires.”

      • Blame the media. Pro active fire prevention staff – go with the flow. Borate – fire retardant used 2 years, corrosive, worked good. Stopped using this first generation. There are thousands of persons today that refer to “borate bombers” when no borate has been used for 50 plus years.

  3. “The warming climate, which is predicted to result in more severe fire weather in many regions of the globe in this century, will probably contribute . . ”

    I note – it does not say ‘the warming climate enhanced by an anthropogenic greenhouse gas footprint . . .’

    If they are predicting that future warming is caused by, or increased by, a human footprint then, they should say so.

    • If they are predicting that future warming is caused by, or increased by, a human footprint then, they should say so.

      In general, I disagree. This is a scholarly paper, not a newspaper article. They shouldn’t waste space on background information: the target audience is subject matter experts.

      This paper looked at trends in wildfires. They should comment narrowly on that.

      • Seth, I agree. They didn’t investigate climate, so they cannot know what it contributed in the past and therefore they cannot have any idea as to whether it will contribute anything in future. Worse, they clearly regarded climate in terms of temperature, while precipitation is likely to be a more significant factor.

  4. Wildfire deaths = 3753/114 = 33 per year. 49 people get struck by lightning every year in US alone. Wildfire death is more rare than freak accident. Wildfires would be reduced by introducing logging in forests and agriculture in grasslands. People protect the environment when they profit from it.

    • Wildfires would be reduced by introducing logging in forests and agriculture in grasslands. People protect the environment when they profit from it.

      I think most people would put some value on biodiversity.

      • Wild fires are also fought more vigorously as they approach places where people live so as we build more homes in wilder places and extend the sub-urban environment, wild fires there will be attacked with more effort creating less burn

      • Fire is necessary for many types of plants to germinate their seeds.
        Without fire, those plants will go extinct.
        A fact I have used in the past to drive some “environmentalists” into frothing at the mouth.

      • Seth,

        “I think most people would put some value on biodiversity”

        I think MOST people (that are reasonable) would want to take into account the trade-offs.

        And a FEW people would put the value that they see (as they see it) ahead of all (&everyone) else. Then they would try to enhance that value through regulation and force, at the expense of a minority. They are the zealots.

  5. That is what the research says, not me Blair King environmental scientist, but the specialists in the field. The research says that in Fort McMurray the effects of climate change since 1973 has been a shortening of the average fire season and wetter than average conditions. Once again that is what the science has been saying not me. It is not as if the scientists have been hiding these facts, the NRC put it right out there on their web site. So when I write that climate change did not cause the fire that is what I mean and it is not because I say so but because that is what the science says.

    https://achemistinlangley.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/on-climate-change-forest-fires-and-the-scientific-method/

    • The research says that in Fort McMurray the effects of climate change since 1973 has been a shortening of the average fire season and wetter than average conditions. […] So when I write that climate change did not cause the fire that is what I mean and it is not because I say so but because that is what the science says.

      This is an example of the ecological fallacy.

      Statistics has the power to show the average effect of climate change on fires, but it doesn’t follow that all fires are affected in the same amount or even direction as the average.

      • I do not think that is correct. The post specifies ” in Fort McMurray” so make no attempt to claim anything global, but in this one area, the affect of “climate change” was wetter then average and shorter fire seasons.

        Part of the problem is the alarmists going to a definition for their theory that is completely confusing. Climate change has generic meaning and is not necessarily CAGW, which was a far more accurate description of the theory that human emissions of GHG (CO2 primarily) would result in global mean temperature rise and catastrophic harm. As the C and the GW are mostly MIA the accurate name was changed for purely political reasons.

      • The post specifies ” in Fort McMurray” so make no attempt to claim anything global, but in this one area, the affect of “climate change” was wetter then average and shorter fire seasons.

        You can’t extend that to the effect on a particular fire.

        Increasing the average wetness and the average fire season, doesn’t show what it did to the wetness or heat at the time of a particular fire.

        As the C and the GW are mostly MIA the accurate name was changed for purely political reasons.

        There hasn’t been a change in the scholarly literature. The C was never there, and wouldn’t be, because it has no scientific definition.

        GW is commonly used, as it always has been. In about 22,000 papers so far this year.

  6. The reason for all the difference of opinions is the fact we were literally blind to temperature heating the atmosphere. As an electrical energy professional and Building Engineering Technologist, temperature is a critical component of design but we calculate for it.

    In Canada it is Environment Canada Meteorological Services that provides regional climatic data in Building Code. Buildings have very specific regional temperature extremes seasonally and we design, construct, insulate as well as design energy systems to accommodate those extremes. Then we are referred to the Appendix which warns of solar radiation(EMFs) being more significant than design temperatures. That is because solar interaction with absorbent exterior finishes of buildings can cause buildings to generate heat that can grossly exceed the climatic data in Building Codes. That makes buildings urban heat generators before they are urban heat islands.

    Weather Stations are not reflecting the reality that solar EMFs interacting with absorbent building exteriors are generating atmospheric heat that can be close to boiling temperature. That was verified imaging buildings in 7 provinces and 26 states that it was the rule and not the exception. Once you generate heat with development, it can not be destroyed and is changing hydrological cycles. The world shares one atmosphere and here is accurate infrared imaging showing solar radiation impact right after sunrise. Ideally if buildings are functioning as designed there should be no changes. Here are time-lapsed infrared videos. https://youtu.be/EA3py3us5VM

  7. Well, they did not fins any increase but threw in their lick about forecast increase with climate change. You mean they are admitting that climate has not changed??

  8. Hold the presses! The fires that evacuated Fort McMurray in Alberta and fires in British Columbia early this spring are being used to reinforce the global warming issue in those provinces. BC already has a carbon tax, the Alberta government is shutting down coal to save the world and building bird eaters and the federal government under temper tantrum Trudeau is looking to bring in some kind of carbon tax. Even the insurance companies are chiming in on warming, maybe to raise rates?

    Its funny how the Alberta government is on the CAGW band wagon but had decreased the forest fire fighting budget this year before the fires. That plan went up in smoke!

    Oh there was some mention of the dry spring warmer than usual winter may have been an effect of El Nino but that was only back ground noise.

    • I actually wonder if Notley was HOPING for a huge fire, and shrunk the budget ON PURPOSE to that hope, so that when she rams her crazy carbon tax, no due process legal apparatus on the province, they are all just to beaten to be able to fight it…. It is insane…

  9. Researchers at several universities in Washington State, Oregon, and elsewhere are working on the questions raised by this post. Counting charcoal and pollen in sub-centimeter slices from a 30 meter sediment core is not my idea of fun, but I appreciate the hard work.

    Much forest lands of the Cascade Mountains of Washington are high fuel areas and are also designated as “Wilderness”, thus burnable material continues to accumulate. Hiking trails are cleared of fallen trees with crosscut saws. Green growth is cut back from trails with pruning loppers.
    You can see this fuel load personally by hiking, or bring boots and gloves and Washington Trails Association will train you to be safe, have fun, and do some trail work.

  10. Re: “The warming climate, which is predicted to result in more severe fire weather in many regions of the globe in this century, will probably contribute further to both perceived and actual risks.”
    Even though this isn’t what we actually observe. At least not in the case of “actual risks”.
    However, “perceived risks” are certainly on the rise. Due to alarmism in all its forms.
    People will perceive risks, even where the evidence of their senses shows them that no such risk exists.
    A naive assessment, would lead people to conclude that the temperature, rainfall, sea level and assorted related phenomena are approximately identical to those which they experienced during their childhood.
    But, amazingly, humans can be lead by a self-appointed priest class of faux experts to believe that they must discard their own direct experience and perceive risks which do not in reality exist.
    If experts say that sea level is rising alarmingly at an accelerating rate, then even a person who has lived all their life by a harbour in a location experiencing uplift or negligible sea level rise – will prefer to believe that the expert judgment is correct. Even though their lying eyes tell them otherwise. Even though postcards of their location from late 19th century show an almost identical water level relative to the dock.
    That’s the miracle of climate alarmism, it’s amazing what you can get otherwise reasonable people to perceive.
    “Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
    “I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

  11. On the subject of forests. Has anyone ever done a cost comparison between growing and clear cutting forest and then loading it into a power station furnace.
    Versus, for comparison purposes, Ivanpah Solar Thermal Plant.
    Obviously both methods involve conversion of sunlight into heat and then into electricity.
    I would instinctively assume that the forest solar collector approach is cheaper than the mirror and tower approach.
    Also, forests solve the problem of energy storage and dispatchability (i.e. the energy can be delivered when the sun is not shining).
    Plus, forests are habitats for all sorts of little creatures and bird, whilst Ivanpah is a burn incinerating machine.
    Shouldn’t we be considering clear-cutting forests and burning them intentionally for energy on a regular basis rather then just letting them thicken up and then burn down in situ.
    i.e. let’s burn trees before they burn us.
    Why are we not already adopting that approach?
    Personally, I planted about six trees over the last couple of days, including a small oak for future generations of birds and people to enjoy.
    I also burned a couple of trees to heat my house this last winter.
    See – my heating is solar power.

    • Correction to above. Should read, “whilst Ivanpah is a bird incinerating machine”.

    • See: Drax power station

      When the idea of “co-generation” (logs to wood products + thinning material for electric) was examined in central Washington State (dry side of the Cascades) there were 2 big problems. One, costs of harvest on remote and steep slopes is excessive; and two, regrowth is too slow to sustain a large & efficient power-plant. [sustain — say, over a 50 year design-life of the structures]

      Oak: Lucky you. They won’t grow where I live. South & SW of us there is the Garry Oak Ecosystem.

      • Yeah, I would not expect that harvesting on slopes could be cost effective. I was envisaging the kind of industrial scale heavy machinery approach to tree removal.
        Which is only really suitable for flat(ish) areas.
        In that sense the approach would be just like most modern farming.
        It is odd that we in the U.K. are so keen to buy up forest from the U.S. – but there is little to no interest in planting out low-grade U.K. land with trees.
        I am surrounded by fields that are mostly only used for silage or occasional grazing.
        There’s no money in it.
        The farmers are reliant on E.U. subsidies.
        Forests grow thick and fast here, and tend not to burn down very often, due to the rarity of drought.
        I have a few oaks which produce acorns. (So they are old trees.)
        If I see a sapling appear, then I dig it up and plant it somewhere where nobody will mow it down!!

    • The energy involved in gathering and transporting the combustible forest waste to a refuse burner capable of efficiently generating power far exceeds the useful energy produced. At the current per kw rate in the Pacific NW (> 10cents/kwh) it cannot be cost effective. The energy density is just not high enough.

      • So not cheaper than conventional.
        But – I would still be interested to know how it compares with solar + storage. (thermal and P.V. systems)
        Since – it is effectively solar + storage.

  12. My son who is a seasonal firefighter here in oz was talking to a Canadian and couldn’t believe the different attitudes towards fuel reduction burns ,in Canada it is virtually impossible to satisfy the red tape to do a prescribed burn where as in Oz if the wind is right burn it .

    • Robert, the situation with controlled burns here in Victoria has become farcical over the past couple of decades, with green ideology permeating the local and state government departments responsible for fuel reduction and cool burns.
      Roadside collection of fallen timber is no longer permitted for firewood, which makes every country roadside a wick for uncontrolled spread of bushfires.
      All those furry critters the greenie government wallahs say they are ‘saving’ by letting scrub build up are the first to go up in a fiery inferno when the inevitable fires occur.

  13. “On the subject of forests. Has anyone ever done a cost comparison between growing and clear cutting forest and then loading it into a power station furnace.”

    Yes, I have! Wind and solar suck the money out of things that would produce power, reduce ghg, and be good for the environment.

    The most serious environmental problems in North America is the forest health of the semi-arid forest east of the coastal ranges to the Rockies. At the risk of being simplistic, the problem is manmade. Well meaning efforts to fight fires for the last hundred years allowed fuel to build up.

    Semi-arid evolved with naturally occurring wildfires.

    I first got involved with this issue after giving a presentation at the Washington State Department of Ecology on using power producing engineering technology to solve local environmental problems. My manager and I were approached afterward in the parking lot by a US EPA employee who had another problem that needed solving.

    We came up wit a 25 MWe steam plant that could burn forest and other wood wastes. It would be more economical than wind and solar. Local environmentalist were receptive to the idea.

    Or course burning ‘baby’ trees is about as popular as burning bay whales with the city folks who fund Sierra Club lawyers. They seem to think we like windmills in our backyards.

    This work was great fun but came to an end on 9/11. The nation had other priorities.

  14. “there is increasing evidence that there is overall less fire in the landscape today than there has been centuries ago”

    “The warming climate, which is predicted to result in more severe fire weather in many regions of the globe in this century, will probably contribute further to both perceived and actual risks to lives, health and infrastructure.”

    These two statements don’t jibe with one another. We know that it is warmer now, and yet there is overall LESS FIRE, not more. But, in the twisted logic of Climatism, it will result in more fire in the future. Notice, too, that “the warming climate” is simply assumed. We can’t say what the climate is doing now, and most certainly can’t predict what it will do in the future. Cooling may very well be in the cards, possibly decades-long.

    • Yes, the two quotes contradict, and the second is quite amazing for its illogic. How does CO2 contribute to “perceived” fire damage? A fire burns a small town down, Does CO2 cause people to be more aware their town was destroyed by fire. Clearly it does not, but government money and propaganda do make more people aware of the incident and love to assign blame for more ta revenue.

    • One statement refers to the past and the other statement refers to predictions about the future.

  15. Well, where does the biomass for the U.K. come from.
    If you pick up the fallen branches you take away a little profit.
    I also doubt suppliers will bother picking it up.
    By the way, I do not believe Canadians need wood anymore, soon USA will not have a need for it either.
    http://www.biomassengineering.com/uk-renewable-energy
    http://www.carbonbrief.org/investigation-does-the-uks-biomass-burning-help-solve-climate-change
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/montreal-to-ban-wood-stoves-by-2020-1.1403350
    http://www.cfact.org/2014/01/29/epa-ban-on-wood-stoves-is-freezing-out-rural-america/
    I have always heard of a saying, “take my guns from my dead cold hands”. Here in Texas it will soon be, “When you take the from the smoker, you likely to get burnt”. Who knows, maybe a new tee-shirt fad.

    • Tom, think of wood as stored solar energy.

      Some of the biomass for the UK comes from the US and Canada. Good jobs for rural areas.

      The ‘need’ for wood is a personal thing. After getting out the navy, I headed for the boondock and bought a log house in the mountains. Talking to my new neighbor was enlightening because the previous owner failed to disclose that the oil truck could not deliver in the winter.

      My neighbor’s cousin owned the hardware store and set me up with a very clean (because it was efficient) wood boiler. His uncle owned the saw mill and a load of hardwood trees killed by gypsy moths. I even got good advice on buying a chainsaw.

      As far as the EPA is unconcerned, there is an open season on feds in boondock land.

      I started heating with because oil heat was very expensive. Many years later I stopped heating with wood is because it dirty and dangerous. Work had taken me to milder climates where heat pumps are economical. I still enjoy a nice fire from time to time.

      Wood is an excellent home heating source in remote areas where emissions are not an issue. Wood is also a good application for CHP where fuel oil is used in boilers. Lots of the in the PNW.

      In fact, many of the wood powered power plants were built to improve air quality resulting from open burning of waste wood.

      • It really is sad the way trolls assume that anything they don’t want to hear must be false.
        Go ahead, read up on the subject, it’s been well known for decades. Nationally after the Yellowstone fire back in the 80’s. In various states, several years prior to that.
        They realized that by fighting fires, all they were doing was allowing the available fuel to build up.
        They also started listening to the scientists who had been telling them for years that fire was a natural part of the landscape.

        I’d ask for an apology, but you aren’t man enough to give one, so why bother.

  16. From the article: “For instance, climate change has already led to a lengthening of the fire season in parts of North America and is likely to increase fire occurrence and severity in many regions of the globe including the UK.”

    I would like to know how they determined that climate change, natural or human-caused has already led to a lengthening of the fire season. It appears to me that in this case they are talking about human-caused, since they are making dire predictions about the future related to their “climate change”.

    The Earth’s climate looks to me like it is behaving normally. So what part of that mix of climate and weather has changed recently to make the fire season longer? How do they know it is a permanent feature of the climate going forward? Whatever “it” is.

    Unsupported claims, as far as I’m concerned.

    • “The Earth’s climate looks to me like it is behaving normally. So what part of that mix of climate and weather has changed recently to make the fire season longer? How do they know it is a permanent feature of the climate going forward? Whatever “it” is.”

      If by normal you mean that the fire season normally increases then indeed global climate is behaving “normally”.
      Logically though that is incorrect, as we see it tied in with other climate parameters that are changing. Vis increasing temps and a drier climate regionally.

      So it’s not a reasonable assumption that a lengthening of the season with cause more frequent fires? This paper addresses AREA affected – which is also a function of mitigating action from fire-fighters.

      From:
      http://wildfiretoday.com/tag/fire-season/

      • Toneb says:

        Logically though that is incorrect, as we see it tied in with other climate parameters that are changing. Vis increasing temps and a drier climate regionally.

        Here’s some real logic for you: the climate Null Hypothesis has never been falsified, and that’s not just “regionally”. It applies to the planet. No current climate parameters exceed past parameter extremes — especially temperature extremes. So it’s a “reasonable assumption” that there’s nothing unusual, unprecedented — or ‘man made’ — happening.

    • toneb wrote: “If by normal you mean that the fire season normally increases then indeed global climate is behaving “normally”.

      I’m thinking the fire season normally increases and decreases as part of a natural cycle. I was asking what unnatural thing is causing the extended fire season, since they claim it is climate change, not a natural cycle.

      toneb: “Logically though that is incorrect, as we see it tied in with other climate parameters that are changing. Vis increasing temps and a drier climate regionally.”

      My particular climate is quite moist. Heavy rain last night. As for the other parameters changing: “increasing temps” is a misnomer. The temperatures for the last decade are so close together that they are within the margin of error of the measuring instrument, so what we have is a flatline for the last decade, not increasing temperatures.

      “So it’s not a reasonable assumption that a lengthening of the season with cause more frequent fires?”

      A lengthened season would certainly present more opportunities for fires, but I’m still not sure what “lengthened season” they are referring to. Worldwide? Regional? Local?

      If there are more fires, it may just be, as others have stated, that some countries have allowed a buildup of fuel in their forests that make them perfect places for big fires.

      There is no evidence of the climate changing, related to increased temperatures because there are no increased temperatures. The increases you are talking about are tenths of a degree or hundreds of a degree. “This” is going to change the climate in a visible way?

      If this climate change temperature “increase” is causing lengthened fire seasons, then why isn’t it causing more tornadoes and more hurricanes and more drought, like the Alarmists claim it does. It causes one but not the others?

  17. From neolithicum to medieval times, all wood constructed settlements north of the european alps, east of adriatic sea had to be abonded + burned down every ~5 generations due to

    – catastrophic sanitary conditions land + open waters contaminated by humans and domestic livestock

    – wood for heating, cooking, industries / Metalls, salt /, construction where used up in hours to reach around the however big settlement.

    Nothing to do with global warming.

  18. From bronce age to industrialization every village to whole cities repeadetly burnt down due to domestic open fires as well as open fires in the vicinity.

    So 0.1 warming every decade wont make big difference, i suppose.

  19. In the ‘Norddeutsche Tiefefebene’ we now have sandstorms, heavy rainfall and hail events due to EU agriculture subsidies:

    agricultural use is photographic documented by small aircrafts: every bush near a field, every tree siding a street gets removed not to minimize the subsided area.

    so there’s no more an ‘inert’ air layer over the ground, 24 hours the wind is drying the bare soil. And no longer habitats for birds and bees.

    Not much to do with ‘climate’ I’d say.

    And not to blame Monsanto or roundup.

  20. Norddeutsche Tiefebene gets the new dustbowl. Thanks EU.we’ll blame Glyphosat.

  21. “global area burned has seen an overall slight decline over past decades, despite some notable regional increases”

    Ironically, both could be due to wildfire suppression.

    • I think of forest fires as a subset of wildfires. So I am not sure deebodk is talking about. The worst wildfire in recent years in the Columbia Basin started after a car accident on a wildlife preserve. There are no forest and most trees survive because of irrigation. Rather than put the fire out quickly with airborne fire suppression, state agencies debated if was allowed. Within an hour the fire was out of control and raged for three days.

      Last year I was enjoying a morning sail and noticed a lot of smoke blowing my way. It was apparent that firefighters were trying stop the fire at a canyon where a farm house and dirt road provide a place to fight it. The wind shifted and the fire got around them. The line of defence was the road along the Columbia River. At the yacht club, we were given a choice of evacuating or staying put at our own risk. If the fire jumped the road, it would be too dangerous to fight because of heavy fuel loading on land that we do not control. If you have ever seen a marina burn, once one boat goes up in flames, there rest follows.

    • The problem with this study is that the global database used is only about 1 and a half decades long, and starts well after the big jump up in large fire activity. Given the very high inter annual variability of wildfire data, it would be extremely difficult for them to detect any statistically significant trends. In other words, the study is not capable of detecting the ongoing changes. In addition, they are not doing an analysis that breaks out the fire data by ecosystem type and prevailing ignition source. That means that they are mixing together data for ecosystems that are highly sensitive to climate change with ones that are not, then looking at the aggregate for signs of significant trends over a period that is too short to reveal anything. It may be comforting to have a study like this that seems to reassure that there is no significant change in fire, but it is not an accurate guide to what is happening.

  22. “It really is sad the way trolls assume that anything they don’t want to hear must be false.”

    Just as I expected, MarkW reads something on the internet, makes a wild leap of logic, followed by irrational assumptions. MarkW makes a statement of a fact with no basis in facts.

    As indicated by my 1:11 am post, I have experience with a narrow aspect of wildfires related to semi-arid North American. Fires like the one at Yellowstone is an example of a problem that has nothing to do with AGW.

  23. I wonder what the granularity of the data was. Many forest fires are started by lightning, some will burn out on their own, others get extinguished quickly by humans.

    Charcoal records are selective – only valid where researchers could look for charcoal?

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