Is Wildfire Severity Really Getting Worse?

It might seem like fire season is as bad as it’s ever been. But there’s a group of researchers who question that prevailing wisdom.The drumbeat about wildfires going from bad to worse reaches all the way to the White House. A few days ago, President Obama’s science advisor John Holdren said, “Climate change has been making the fire season in the United States longer and, on average, more intense.”

Now contrast that with three fresh science papers from separate institutions. Each makes the case that forest fires in the West today burn less than in historical times.

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