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Researchers to Discuss Role of Climate Change in the Rise in Frequency, Severity of Forest Fires

FAIRBANKS, Alaska – Scientific researchers will host a press conference call TOMORROW, Wednesday, July 31, to discuss the role that a warming climate plays in the rise in frequency and severity of forest fires in Alaska.

Leading the press conference call will be Dr. Scott Rupp, Professor of Forestry at the University of Alaska and Principal Investigator for the Department of Interior’s Alaska Climate Science Center, and Ryan Kelly, a University of Illinois Ph.D. candidate who is studying the long-term drivers and consequences of boreal forest burning in Alaska. Dr. Rupp also directs the Scenarios Network for Alaska & Artic Planning (SNAP) and has authored more than 50 journal articles and book chapters in climatology and ecology.

Tomorrow’s press conference call follows President Obama’s historic action on climate change, which includes the nation’s first-ever limits on carbon pollution from power plants, as well as other strategies to prepare America for the effects of climate change.

According to data from the Natural Resources Defense Council, in 2012, the average size of wildfires in the U.S. has grown larger, exceeding decadal trends. Currently, the average fire size is 165 acres per fire, while the decadal average of 2001-2010 was approximately 89 acres per fire. Alaska alone has experienced a total of five broken heat records and 72 large wildfires. The increased frequency and severity of forest fires in Alaska forecasted by researchers will have a devastating impact on Alaska’s economy and the livelihood of its people.

For more information please visit iwillact.us.

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