Future #1: Hot, Dry, and Out of Control

Imagine it is the year 2034. Reflect on how we got to the future described below. To participate, select “Give Input to Future(s).” (Note: When answering the questions, please imagine and envision ‘how could we get here?’ We want to understand the series of events that could lead to that future.)

FUTURE STATE: The United States is experiencing significantly more wildfire, a longer wildfire season, and fires in regions where they were not prevalent in 2014. High fuel loads result in frequent, large and damaging fires, raising the risk to both the public and firefighters. The public is alarmed and losing faith in wildland fire management. Congress determines that more funding is not the answer and fire budgets decrease due to higher priority events (e.g., overseas conflict, national debt crisis). State and local fire teams are in the lead and the Federal government has shifted to a support role. Public health impacts have risen significantly due to smoke from fires, resulting in more fatalities.

  • Required: What trends, events, or shocks (i.e. unexpected occurrences with major implications) could drive us to this future?
  • Optional: What changes to strategy, organizational structure, capabilities, and infrastructure would be necessary to address the future we are facing?
  • Optional:What information could help mitigate the risks presented by this future?
  • Optional:What information could help capitalize on opportunities presented by this future?
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Future #1: Hot, Dry, and Out of Control

We're here already

Our current trend carries us to this future. Indeed, we are already here in many respects. No additional events or shocks are needed, especially if the current political gridlock continues. The main things I see that would be different is the shear number of species listed under the Endangered Species Act due to major vegetation changes brought by climate change and human population growth. I would not be surprised ...more »

Submitted by (@lulu10)

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Future #1: Hot, Dry, and Out of Control

NPS WHIS Fire Management Officer (FMO)

At this point, this "Future Situation" is already a present day reality. There is no good scientific argument against Global Warming, no matter what the causal factors. We are already starting to experience lengthening fire seasons, warming global temperatures and increasingly unprecedented drought conditions. Despite advances in technology and process we in the wildland fire service continue to battle increasingly ...more »

Submitted by (@tomgarcia)

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Future #1: Hot, Dry, and Out of Control

How did we get to hot, dry, out of control future?

- I think the trends of decreasing fuels treatments, decreasing fire suppression budgets, limited funding for adequate fire safety training and employee development, more homes in the WUI, and potential climate change led to this future.

- More uncoordinated private "fire protection" through insurance companies will add to firefighter risk and injury.

Submitted by (@karenmiranda)

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Future #1: Hot, Dry, and Out of Control

Global Climate Shift, Fuels, and Humans

The trend has been a gradual shift or multiple variables gradually changing over time, but the climate and what we view in our surroundings work like a balanced beam. Everything in the natural world is a balance that is counteracted by something else. Because humans are such powerful and advanced organisms we are able to change that balance more drastically than any other organism. Once the balance starts to go one direction ...more »

Submitted by (@wmccrady)

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