Around this time of year is when wildfire season is as its peak, affecting the Midwestern region of the United States. But this season has a lot of Americans worried because of extreme drought conditions during the winter, caused by little rains and high temperatures. For example, eastern Oklahoma and surrounding areas has seen 133 wildfires that had shriveled substantial amount of land breaking the previous record. Due to the warmer winter temperatures and lack of precipitation, the dead vegetation is a fuel for wildfire.
Salon.com reports “Wildfires fueled by gusting winds, hot, dry weather, and desiccated plant life have burned nearly 900,000 acres of Oklahoma so far this year, a record, as well as parts of Kansas and Texas. The blazes have destroyed dozens of buildings and killed seven people as well as hundreds of cattle.” Climate Central connects the drought and fires to climate change.
Climate change is expected to impact many of the factors, such as precipitation, that can contribute to wildfires. But exactly how it might affect future wildfire risks in the central and southern Plains is an open question, and one that has seen relatively little attention to date.