Wildfire season seems to be relentlessly impacting the western half of the United States. They have been dealing with significant drought for years and the big common denominator behind the raging flames is climate change. We’ll dive deeper into this topic of fire weather days out west and how they impact our local forecast in this week’s Two Degree Difference.

Wildfire seasons are shaped by many forces and climate change is contributing to recent increases in wildfire intensity, frequency, and season length in the western United States. However, there has been an uptick in wildfires in our neck of the woods during early spring especially in the Granite State.

The three components that contribute the most to fire weather are heat, dryness, and wind. Those three components are occurring more frequently across the western U.S. since 1973, according to new Climate Central analysis.

Some areas are experiencing more fire weather during seasons when wildfires were previously rare. New Mexico is among the states seeing the largest increase in risk during the spring. For instance, the southeastern plains of New Mexico have seen an increase of 39 more fire weather days since the 70s.

The result of large wildfires are death to people and destruction to property. Utilities may shut off power during fire weather preventing equipment related ignitions. Lastly, smoke can affect people living even thousands of miles away including along the east coast. Let’s all do our best to tame the flames, east coast or west coast, by thinking sustainability and adaptability during this climate crisis.