Rose Andreatta

Last updated November 11, 2021

Western Wildfire Season 2021

Western US

The fingerprints of climate change were on the 2021 fire season - the second season in a row of devastating wildfires in the western US. Below average mountain snowpack, a series of early summer record-breaking heatwaves, and continued drought conditions contributed to the record-breaking season. California's Dixie fire is the largest single (non-complex) fire in California's history, and burned just under 1,000,000 acres – a mark only broken once in California’s history, just last year, by the August Complex Fire. Thanks to climate change, the western US is especially primed for fires to undergo rapid increases in coverage and intensity shortly after they start. This devastating wildfire season came to a close after an extremely powerful atmospheric river produced flooding rain in late October.

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Firefighters battle the Caldor fire on August 22, 2021.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Global Warming
Land Surface Temperature Increase
Air Mass Temperature Increase
Large Scale Global Circulation Change
Snowpack Melting Earlier and/or Faster
Precipitation Falls as Rain Instead of Snow
Atmospheric Blocking Increase
Land Surface Drying Increase
Snowpack Decline
Southwestern US Precipitation Decrease
Extreme Heat and Heat Waves
Drought Risk Increase
Wildfire Risk Increase
Western Wildfire Season 2021
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Rose Andreatta

Rose Andreatta is the director of the Climate Signals project and has over a decade of experience translating scientific information into usable formats for a variety of audiences. Rose earned her Master’s of Public Administration in Environmental Science and Policy at Columbia University and holds a Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting from Pennsylvania State University.