New study shows Blue Mountain forests are changing, intensifying fire dangers
A new study indicates climate changes will intensify wildfires in Oregon’s southern Blue Mountains, making them more frequent, more extensive and more severe.
“Rising temperatures, longer fire seasons, increased drought, as well as fire suppression and changes in land use, have led to greater and more severe wildfire activity,” said the report published on Nov. 21. in Ecosphere, the Journal of the Ecological Society of America.
“Over the next century,” Cassell wrote, “the combined effects of climate change and wildfires are likely to shift the composition of mixed-conifer forests toward more climate- and fire-resilient species, such as ponderosa pine.”
The researchers looked at how climate-driven changes in forest dynamics and wildfire activity will affect the landscape through 2100.
The team used a computer model to simulate and predict how the forests and fire potential will change over time in response to current management practices and two projected climate scenarios.
Cassell said that the team’s findings suggest that forest managers should consider projected climate changes and increasing wildfire size, frequency and severity on future forest composition when planning long-term forest management strategies.