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Wildfires Out West

Climate Central

This video from ClimateCentral looks at the way climate conditions can affect vegetation in the West, and what influence this has on wildfires. Drought and rainfall can have very different wildfire outcomes, depending on vegetation type, extent, and location.

Video length 3:13 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • This video would augment any unit on climate and weather, the water cycle, and the ecology of wildfires. It can be used to set the stage for further exploration. For example, students could explore and identify how changes in climate conditions can affect the health and function of ecosystems, and their vulnerability to wildfires.

About the Content

  • Video discusses the increase of wildfires in the American West since 2006. The relationships among rainfall, drought, vegetation type, and the severity and location of wildfires are reviewed. The role of satellites in identifying wildfire location and vegetation profile is also discussed.
  • Comment from expert scientist: Note that green vegetation only shows potential for photosynthesis. The Nevada vegetation burns not when it is wet and green but in the summer after the rain when the landscape dries. The two ecosystems don't burn as a result of different processes but as a result of dry and hot conditions. The fact that the forest always has a high fuel load due to dense vegetation and the desert burns best during a wet year when vegetation grows does not mean that these are different.

About the Pedagogy

  • No supporting materials available.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Excellent HD quality. Can be downloaded and viewed in different files - including mobile phones and original movie file.
Entered the Collection: December 2012 Last Reviewed: April 2016

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