Wildhorses watched us carefully on this burn in eastern Nevada. This former woodland is now shrubs, grasses, and weeds.

This week, I wrote a post for the Guest Blog over at Scientific American about the impact of increasingly intense wildfires on potentially unadapted ecosystems, and the need for more restoration research.

In September, as the fire season slows and the smoke clears, it’s obvious that 2012 was another big, bad year for wildfires. With a heat wave, a drought, and fires taking out thousands of homes in Colorado Springs and elsewhere, it seemed like everyone was talking about the weird weather this summer. Finally, after years of warnings from climate scientists, the mass media is including coverage of the role that climate change is playing, driving more extreme and unpredictable weather.

To me, this is the most striking statistic: this year, the number of individual fires was low, only 76 percent of the ten-year average. However, the acreage burned by wildfires was unusually high, about 133 percent of the ten-year average. (Data) We had more damage from few fires, a simple statistic that shows that, overall, fires are becoming more intense, more damaging to the ecosystem, and more dangerous for firefighters.

Want to know more? Check it out on the SciAm Guest Blog

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