EXPLORE THE MAP
This is the future of Very Large Fires (12,000 acres or more) in the United States if we continue on our current path of emitting greenhouse gases. The wildfire season of 2020 was a preview of this future - with years like that becoming the norm. Select the layers on the map below to switch between the Large Fire History (1970 - 2000) and Large Fire Projection (2040 - 2060) to see how wildfire rates for your county will increase over the coming decades.
Wildfire data courtesy of John Abatzoglou, a climate scientist at the University of California-Merced, from Climate change presents increased potential for very large fires in the contiguous United States published in the International Journal of Wildland Fire.
Very Large Fires (12,000 acres or more) account for a majority of burned area in many regions of the US. They include the 2018 Camp Fire that burned 153,336 acres, causing $16.5 Billion in damages and the destruction of 18,804 homes and other structures, and completely destroyed the town of Paradise, CA.
Wildfires are complex events arising from environmental conditions, human behaviors, and land management. However, temperature, soil moisture, and the presence of trees, shrubs, and other potential fuel are significant risk factors that have strong ties to climate variability and climate change. Climate change causes forest fuels (the plants and organic matter that fuel wildfires) to be more dry, and has doubled the number of large fires between 1984 and 2015 in the western United States. Climate change is also driving warmer, drier conditions, increasing drought, and extending the fire season, significantly increasing wildfire risk. Once a fire starts, these conditions help fires spread farther faster, and make them harder to put out.
CHANGE OUR FUTURE
We are providing people with the data and tools to mobilize their communities to action. Get posters and biodegradable stickers for yourself or others in at-risk communities to raise awareness about the threat of climate change. These signs serve as a stark reminder to what we will experience, and the communities we will lose, if we fail to act.