Study: Wildfire Threat to Increase

In the wake of an dry winter, the push is on to reduce the risk of wildfires in Southern California.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Visitors to the San Bernardino Mountains are greeted by a "Fire Danger: HIGH" sign that doesn't seem to change much.

    By one estimate, the Big Bear area is overdue for a major forest fire by 50 years, so on Wednesday CAL FIRE was clearing brush along the main road into the San Bernardino Mountains.

    SoCal Wildfire Danger

    [LA] SoCal Wildfire Danger
    In the wake of a dry winter, the push is on to reduce the risk of wildfires here in Southern California. Craig Fiegener reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on June 13, 2012.

    "We try not to say the ‘F’ word up here, because we don't want to give it any energy. You can prepare by clearing all the brush," said Helene Forman, resident.

    A study published Tuesday in the journal Ecosphere notes that climate change will likely disrupt future fire patterns, matching findings from UC Berkeley to those of research at UC Riverside.

    The report identifies the western United States as one of the regions expected to experience more frequent fires.

    “In the long run, we found what most fear — increasing fire activity across large parts of the planet,” study lead author Max Moritz, fire specialist in UC Cooperative Extension, told the university. “But the speed and extent to which some of these changes may happen is surprising.”

    Part of the problem can be blamed on increasing temperature trends and overgrowth, a consequence of a lack of evenly spread wildfires that raises fire risk.

    Fire officials in San Bernardino raked away brush and debris from roadsides, clearing a path for potential fires that could be slowed down or halted by the pavement.

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