Fire Seasons Becoming Hotter, Longer: U.S. Department of the Interior

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Firefighters battle the Sand fire along Soledad Canyon Road near Acton on July 24, 2016. (Credit: Luis Sinco, Los Angeles Times)

The fast-moving brush fire tearing through the Santa Clarita Valley this weekend is part of a larger trend: Wildfire seasons in the western United States are lasting longer and burning more land, according to a recent report by the U.S. Department of the Interior.

Over 29,000 wildfires have scorched more than 2.6 million acres of land already this year, and the peak of the fire season hasn’t hit yet, according to the report published last week.

Last year’s fire season was the most severe on record, burning more than 10 million acres — roughly twice the size of Massachusetts.

Rising global temperatures and unrelenting drought contribute to the longer fire seasons. Average annual temperatures rose by 1.9 degrees Fahrenheit in the last decade, and snowpacks are now melting up to four weeks earlier in the year, leaving landscapes drier and causing fire seasons to start sooner.

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