Jeff Masters Hurricane Blog

Many municipal fire departments aren’t prepared for climate change » Yale Climate Connections

As the climate warms, large, intense wildfires are growing more common and spreading into new areas. In the past year, major fires have ravaged parts of eastern Canada, Louisiana, and Hawaii …

Maxwell: “…where local firefighters …. they’re fighting fire at a scale that they’ve just not experienced before.”

Kent Maxwell is the fire and forestry coordinator for Colorado Firecamp, a wildland firefighter school in Salida, Colorado.

He says wildland firefighting requires special tactics — like cutting trees and digging trenches to slow a fire’s spread.

Maxwell: “Structural firefighters, they’re most accustomed to fighting a fire within one enclosure, a single building … whereas what they’re encountering now is a full-on wildland conflagration just burning right into the town.”

Maxwell says combating these blazes requires a different skill set. And according to the National Fire Protection Association, the majority of municipal fire departments in the U.S. are not prepared for this type of firefighting.

So Maxwell says that as climate change causes bigger, hotter wildfires, it’s important to equip municipal fire crews with the training and resources they need to help protect their communities.

Reporting credit: Sarah Kennedy / ChavoBart Digital Media

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