Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

2020 Sets New U.S. Wildfire Record

Climate
2020 Sets New U.S. Wildfire Record
A home burns during the Bear fire, part of the North Lightning Complex fires in Butte County, California on September 9, 2020. Josh Edelson / AFP / Getty Images

Wildfires burned more acres this year in the U.S. than ever before in modern records, E&E reports based on data published by the National Interagency Fire Center.


Extreme heat, fueled by climate change caused by extracting and burning fossil fuels, dries vegetation and turns vast swaths of forest into a tinderbox.

"In 2020 we saw some of the hottest months on record, and large portions of the western U.S. were in severe drought," University of Colorado fire scientist Jennifer Balch told E&E.

California, also hit by two exceptionally severe heat waves this year, more than doubled its previous record of acreage burned and its ecosystems will likely be changed for centuries.

"We can no longer ignore the link between warming and wildfires. We will see more fire seasons like 2020 in the future," Balch told E&E.

For a deeper dive:

National record: E&E; California future: LA Times; Climate Signals background: Wildfires, 2020 Western wildfire season, Living with Smoke and Fire Webinar

For more climate change and clean energy news, you can follow Climate Nexus on Twitter and Facebook, sign up for daily Hot News, and visit their news site, Nexus Media News.

An Edith's Checkerspot butterfly in Los Padres National Forest in Southern California. Patricia Marroquin / Moment / Getty Images

Butterflies across the U.S. West are disappearing, and now researchers say the climate crisis is largely to blame.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A wildfire burns in the Hollywood hills on July 19, 2016 in Hollywood, California. AaronP / Bauer-Griffin / GC Images

California faces another "critically dry year" according to state officials, and a destructive wildfire season looms on its horizon. But in a state that welcomes innovation, water efficacy approaches and drought management could replenish California, increasingly threatened by the climate's new extremes.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Wisdom is seen with her chick in Feb. 2021 at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Jon Brack / Friends of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge / Flickr / CC 2.0

Wisdom the mōlī, or Laysan albatross, is the oldest wild bird known to science at the age of at least 70. She is also, as of February 1, a new mother.

Read More Show Less
Wind turbines in Norway. piola66 / E+ / Getty Images

By Hui Hu

Winter is supposed to be the best season for wind power – the winds are stronger, and since air density increases as the temperature drops, more force is pushing on the blades. But winter also comes with a problem: freezing weather.

Read More Show Less
Jaffa Port in Israel. theDOCK innovated the Israeli maritime space and kickstarted a boom in new technologies. Pixabay

While traditional investment in the ocean technology sector has been tentative, growth in Israeli maritime innovations has been exponential in the last few years, and environmental concern has come to the forefront.

Read More Show Less