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Climate Change Increases the Risk of Wildfires

Jones, Matthew W.; Smith, Adam J. P.; Betts, Richard A.; Canadell, Josep G.; Prentice, I. Colin; Le Quéré, Corinne

This ScienceBrief Review on the link between climate change and wildfire risk gathered and analysed 57 scientific articles. This document synthesises the key points that emerged from the findings. Human-induced climate change promotes the conditions on which wildfires depend, enhancing their likelihood and challenging suppression efforts. Human-induced warming has already led to a global increase in the frequency and severity of fire weather, increasing the risks of wildfire. This signal has emerged from natural variability in many regions, including the western US and Canada, southern Europe, Scandinavia and Amazonia. Human-induced warming is also increasing fire risks in other regions, including Siberia and Australia. Nonetheless, wildfire activity is determined by a range of other factors including land management and ignition sources, and on the global-scale most datasets indicate a reduction in burned area in recent years, chiefly due to clearing of natural land for agriculture.

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