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Western U.S. Wildfires and the Climate Change Connection

This fact sheet highlights the regional trends, impacts, and vulnerabilities associated with wildfires in the Western United States, explains how climate change is amplifying these wildfires, and summarizes the leadership and initiatives taking place to help address the issue.

Executive Summary

Research shows that climate change has been a significant driver of changes in Western U.S. fire activity. Increases in spring and summer temperatures, as well as earlier spring snowmelt, have been strongly linked with longer lasting wildfires and more frequent large wildfires. Warmer and drier conditions throughout the region are contributing to increasing fire risk, and these risks are expected to continue increasing as global temperatures rise, likely leading to more frequent large wildfires.

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