Washington: Warming and Fires

Climate Central

In this Climate Central-produced video scientists in the state of Washington explain a variety of factors related to overall warming trends that have led to increased forest fires in the state and the resulting impacts on habitats and the state economy.



This is a medium length video in a PBS News wrapper that presents scientific, social and economic impacts of forest fires in the Cascade Mountains of Washington State and focuses on the Tripod Fires of 2006 that burned 180,000 acres.


Dr. Susan Prichard reviews the causes of wildfires in Washington state, including the relationships between warming trends, pine bark beetles and wildfires. It looks specifically at the Tripod fire in 2006 which burned 180,000 acres. Diverse points of view as to the causes are given. Dr. Susan Prichard reviews the causes of wildfires in Washington state including the relationships among warming trends early snowmelt drier conditions infestations of mountain pine and spruce beetles and more frequent wildfires.


Dr. Susan Prichard is interviewed in the video and she presents the scientific basis for concluding connections between climate and the changes in the forest ecosystem is clearly, including the roles of pine bark beetle infestation, warming and drying climate in the region and early snowmelts that together may account for increased fire damage while noting the incompleteness of the research at the time the video was made. The economic impact and local strategies to mitigate both economic and environmental damage are also presented.

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Subject: Environmental Science:Natural Hazards:Extreme Weather, Biology, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climate Change, Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate:Climate Change:Impacts of climate change, Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate:Climate Change, Environmental Science:Ecosystems, Global Change and Climate, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climate Change:Impacts of climate change, Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climatology , Meteorology:Extreme weather
Resource Type: Audio/Visual:Animations/Video
Special Interest: Hazards
Grade Level: Middle (6-8), College Lower (13-14), Informal, High School (9-12)