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Friday, August 24,2012

Climate change driving massive wildfires in Southwest

Drought, heat waves and wildfires have characterized the summer of 2012. Get used to it.

As climate change gradually becomes more and more visible, it won't just mean slightly warmer temperatures. One of the secondary results is a huge increase in wildfires' frequency and severity. Due to the "sponge effect," where a warmer, drier atmosphere wrings more moisture out of the ground and trees in the American Southwest, bigger wildfires are becoming more and more likely.

Colorado saw its share earlier this year, as the Waldo Canyon and High Park fires earlier this year were the two most destructive in the state's history.

See NPR's special five-part series.

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