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.