Firefighters on the front lines of climate change
“On a day to day basis, we’re being surprised. And in this business, surprise is what kills people.” So says Don Whittemore, a career firefighter who has battled many of Colorado’s epic fires over the past two decades. In 2014, The Story Group recorded the experiences of Whittemore and other firefighters who are repeatedly responding to record-breaking wildfires. Human-caused climate changes are transforming Colorado’s fire environment, bringing higher temperatures, drier fuels, and diseases to forests. These climate impacts mix with other human pressures to create a volatile situation for firefighters and communities. If current trends continue, we can expect more frequent, larger and more devastating wild fires in Colorado and across the country.
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