Less rainfall and rising temperatures could lead to a worse than average wildfire season in 2021.
By modern standards, last year’s fire season was massive, but researchers estimate that historically California typically saw between 4.4 to 11.9 million acres burn annually.
Scientists are concerned that, paradoxically, the modern, aggressive approach of suppressing wildfires has created conditions that make blazes harder to control.
One approach to preventing wildfires from becoming too large is controlled burns, which clear out potential fuel sources such as dead trees and overly dense vegetation.
But implementing prescribed burns at a large scale will be difficult due to sprawling housing and development, a complex legal system, changing climate and inadequate funding.
On Thursday, MPR News host Kerri Miller spoke with a researcher and a science journalist about learning to live with fire and the tactics for managing forests more effectively.
Char Miller is a professor and Director of Environmental Analysis at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.
Molly Peterson is a science reporter for KQED.
To listen to the full conversation you can use the audio player above.
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