« Business Continuity

U.S. wildfires expected to increase over the next few decades

It's important for businesses within all kinds of environments to be thoroughly prepared for a number of situations - including severe weather.
It's important for businesses within all kinds of environments to be thoroughly prepared for a number of situations - including severe weather.

Location, location, location. It's what real estate agents say is the most important feature of buying a home. A similar mindset can be taken when businesses are choosing where to set up shop. Company location can have a huge impact on organizational success. One thing that needs to be taken into account with this fact, is how Mother Nature comes into play.

A comprehensive business continuity plan must include details on severe weather, and how a company plans to keep daily operations running smoothly through many situations. For example, business resumption could be quicker for firms located in western states, with a thorough risk assessment of climate. According to a recent Huffington Post article, wildfires have run rampant in that area over the last year, and conditions are only expected to get worse.

On December 4, the American Geophysical Union met in San Francisco, discussing findings that warmer and dryer conditions are likely to lead to more wildfires sweeping across the nation.

The research showed that the 2012 wildfire season was one of the worst on record, with New Mexico and Colorado being especially hard hit. Additionally, years like that are more likely to continue through 2050, occurring two to four times per decade. Now, the trend is usually just one high wildfire year per decade.

Doug Morton of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, explained to the Huffington Post that more regions experiencing dryer conditions will lead to significantly more burned area in that zone.

Morton explained that reduced rainfall and less snow will dry out the western U.S. faster than in other fire years.

"It gives you a longer time period to burn and it sets up those ecosystems to be more flammable whether you get ignitions from human sources, which are quite common, or from natural sources," he said. "So it’s possible just by lengthening the fire season, you get more burned area."