(270 Seminar) Why is wildfire activity increasing in the western US and how will this affect water resources?

October 27, 2021 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Zoom / MS 7124


Speaker: Park Williams

Affiliation: UCLA Department of Geography


Since the mid-1980s, when accurate satellite records of burned areas begin, the annual area burned by wildfire in the western US has increased nearly fourfold. This increase has been most heavily concentrated in forests, which experienced an increase of approximately 1300%. In this talk I will diagnose this rapid increase in western US wildfire activity, shedding data- and logic-informed light on a topic that has been unnecessarily politicized. I will then explore how wildfires have affected western US streamflow to date and whether continued rapid increases in wildfire activity are likely to meaningfully affect western US water resources across large spatial scales in the coming decades.