In arid and semi-arid environments, introduced invasive plants fill openings left by fires. In the Great Plains, perennial grasses tolerate fires well. Where livestock grazing and other disturbances have broken soil surfaces, however, the fire increases the opportunities for invasive plants to establish. Fine fuel builds up. Shortened fire recurrence intervals can overcome the resistance of perennial grasses and lead to weedlands of little value for wildlife, wildlife, or soil stability.
It’s likely that we’ve never seen a March wildfire like the beast that just ripped through Kansas and Oklahoma over the past day. But in a world that’s now exploring a new peak temperature range near or above 1.5 C warmer than pre-industrial averages, a level of heat not seen in the past 110,000 years, we’d be out of our minds to expect the weather and climate conditions to behave in any kind of manner that could be considered normal.
We’re Probably Looking at the Worst Wildfire on Record for Kansas and Oklahoma
(Massive, unprecedented, wildfire burns along a 40 mile swath across Kansas and Oklahoma on Wednesday. Image source: NASA/MODIS.)
And abnormal absolutely describes what happened in Oklahoma and Kansas yesterday and today.
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