A recent study on the impact of climate on forest fires is being widely touted as more evidence of global warming. The study, “Warming and Earlier Spring Increases Western U.S. Forest Wildfire Activity,” appeared in Sciencexpress and argues that increased temperatures during the last 20 years have increased the length of the fire season and the intensity of forest fires.
The article is careful in its claims, but the extrapolations from the article are much less careful, arguing that it is evidence that the impact of climate change is “happening now in forest ecosystems through fire.”That claim, however, relies on a skewed reading of the study.
Furthermore, the study actually makes thinning and other types of activities in the forest more important to create healthy forests. Evironmental activists, while highlighting the global warming link, play down or ignore this conclusion that the authors themselves advocate in their piece.