Cheatgrass worsens Western Wildfires

Cheatgrass worsens Western Wildfires

A new study of professionals is blaming cheatgrass for the worsening Western wildfires.

Growing in yellowish clumps, about knee high to a horse, and liking more of arid land, cheatgrass do one big thing: it burns and that too more easily than anyone can realize, says expert.

Above are the conclusions that have been recently drawn by Ms. Jennifer Balch, who used to start fires in the southern Amazon just to understand how they burn.

With her interests now tilting more towards understanding the American West, a region where big wildfires are on the rise, she has started studying the satellite photos of the bowl of arid land that is stretching from California to Utah and Wyoming, we mean Great Basin.

Since it's a cheatgrass central and is now-a-days burning a lot, Ms. Balch has already started measuring those fires.

"What we found was that cheatgrass actually doubles the likelihood of fire; that it burns twice as much as any other vegetation type - native vegetation type - in the Great Basin," she says.

She said the warmer climate is responsible for the partly increase in cheatgrass fires because this grass type dies in summer and turn more into a fuel than anything else.


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