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U.S. Fire Administrator’s Summit on Fire Prevention and Control 2023

Impact of Climate Change

FEMA
U.S. Fire Administration
National Fallen Firefighters Foundation

Prepare all firefighters for the climate-driven increase in wildfires in the wildland-urban interface (WUI) and in rural and suburban communities by providing them with the proper training and equipment.

Issue

According to a June 2022 U.S. Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report, the intensity of wildfires has increased, as has the number of wildfires impacting the built environment over the past 30 years1. As our nation continues to grow and develop in the wildland urban interface (WUI), our communities face increased wildfire threats associated with increased populations, reduced land management practices, dangerous buildups in fuel, and climate change.

Climate is further exacerbating conditions. NASA’s long-term temperature monitoring found July 2023 to be the hottest July since record-keeping began in 18802. While fluctuations are expected and normal, data points to a warming climate, with the five hottest Julys recorded in the previous five years.

Furthermore, an August 2023 NOAA assessment of U.S. climate found a record number of billion-dollar disaster events to date in 20233. Among the disasters identified by this report is the August 8 wildfire on the island of Maui, HI. Worsened by Hurricane Dora’s winds, the wildfire has become the deadliest in the United States in over a century.

1 Wildfires. Congressional Budget Office. June 2022. 
2 NASA Clocks July 2023 as Hottest Month on Record Ever Since 1880. Global Climate Change/NASA. Published August 14, 2023. 
3 Assessing the U.S. Climate in August 2023. NOAA, National Centers for Environmental Information. Published Sept 11, 2023.