"America’s New Wildfire Risk Goes Beyond Forests"

"Grassland and shrubland fires burn more land and destroy more homes across the United States than forest fires, a new study found."

"Forest fires may get more attention, but a new study reveals that grassland fires are more widespread and destructive across the United States. Almost every year since 1990, the study found, grass and shrub fires burned more land than forest fires did, and they destroyed more homes, too.

But many residents are not as aware of wildfire risk in grasslands and shrublands.

When the Marshall fire swept into the Boulder suburbs in 2021, killing two people and incinerating more than 1,000 homes, many residents were shocked that such a fierce blaze could encroach on their community, far from the forests of the Rocky Mountains.

The community’s risk was actually high: Many homes were close to wide expanses of tall, dry grass that were primed to burn. When a grass fire sparked, strong winter winds propelled it toward nearby neighborhoods where the flames easily jumped from grasses to homes, sometimes using the wooden fencing that separated human and natural landscapes as a springboard."

Nadja Popovich reports for the New York Times November 9 2023.


Source: NYTimes, 11/10/2023