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NASA scientists say climate change will lead to increased wildfire risk

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Friday, Oct. 10, 2014

By Brittany Bade


BRITTANY BADE/CRONKITE NEWS: Today at the Library of Congress, a NASA scientist spoke about the high-tech imagery they’re using to predict and prevent wildfires. But that data is telling us something most Arizonans already know.

DOUGLAS MORTON/NASA RESEARCH SCIENTIST: The Southwestern United States has somewhat of a predictable pattern of drying.

BRITTANY BADE/CRONKITE NEWS: Arizona’s beautiful landscapes make for great kindling.

DOUGLAS MORTON/NASA RESEARCH SCIENTIST: That measure of dryness is somewhat irrelevant in the Southwest because it’s always hot and dry.

BRITTANY BADE/CRONKITE NEWS: NASA scientist Dr. Douglas Morton and his team study fire trends from outer space.

DOUGLAS MORTON/NASA RESEARCH SCIENTIST: We have some opportunity to evaluate how fire and climate will drive changes in fire activity across regions.

BRITTANY BADE/CRONKITE NEWS: This technology allows forest or park services to learn…

DOUGLAS MORTON/NASA RESEARCH SCIENTIST: What their level of landscape risk is.

BRITTANY BADE/CRONKITE NEWS: Learning about risks specific to Arizona’s forests or deserts helps fire officials…

DOUGLAS MORTON/NASA RESEARCH SCIENTIST: Better understand where are we to expect fire season to lengthen or strengthen in the coming years.

BRITTANY BADE/CRONKITE NEWS: NASA’s research shows that while climate change will impact the severity of Arizona wildfires, we won’t see any significant changes until around 2050.