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Switching on the Big Burn of 2017

1
Earth Lab, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
2
Department of Geography, University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
3
Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR), University of Colorado Boulder, Boulder, CO 80309, USA
4
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, Palisades, NY 10964, USA
5
Department of Geography, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID 83844, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 11 May 2018 / Revised: 29 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 5 June 2018
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Abstract

Fuel, aridity, and ignition switches were all on in 2017, making it one of the largest and costliest wildfire years in the United States (U.S.) since national reporting began. Anthropogenic climate change helped flip on some of these switches rapidly in 2017, and kept them on for longer than usual. Anthropogenic changes to the fire environment will increase the likelihood of such record wildfire years in the coming decades. The 2017 wildfires in the U.S. constitute part of a shifting baseline in risks and costs; meanwhile, effective policies have lagged behind, leaving communities highly vulnerable. Policy efforts to build better and burn better, in the U.S. as well as in other nations with flammable ecosystems, will promote adaptation to increasing wildfire in a warming world. View Full-Text
Keywords: anthropogenic ignitions; climate change; convergent disturbances; coupled extremes; wildfires anthropogenic ignitions; climate change; convergent disturbances; coupled extremes; wildfires
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Balch, J.K.; Schoennagel, T.; Williams, A.P.; Abatzoglou, J.T.; Cattau, M.E.; Mietkiewicz, N.P.; St. Denis, L.A. Switching on the Big Burn of 2017. Fire 2018, 1, 17.

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