Do warming temperatures contribute to wildfires?

June 28, 2022


Rising temperatures combined with changes in precipitation (snow, rain, fog, humidity and more) help create conditions where droughts are more common and last longer leading to more vegetation that is drier. Drier vegetation provides more and better fuel for wildfires.

And it’s not just day-time temperatures that are creating problems—firefighters have often relied on cooler nights to help gain control of wildfires. This is partially due to how much moisture the air can hold. As nights get hotter and drier fires are becoming larger, more intense and longer lasting.

Key Takeaways

  1. 1.

    Increasing temperatures and drier vegetation provide more and better fuel for wildfires.

  2. 2.

    Hotter and drier night-time conditions are linked to more intense fire conditions after dark.

Additional Resources

SciLine: Wildfire Trends in the United States

National Drought Mitigation Center: U.S. Drought Monitor