The North American monsoon has dictated the length of wildfire season for centuries in the US-Mexico border region, according to new research.

But this year was anything but normal. The 2020 monsoon season was the second-driest on record, and many high-profile wildfires swept across the Sonoran Desert and surrounding sky islands.

Putting an end to severe fires may only become harder as climate change makes monsoon storms less frequent and more extreme, say the researchers.

The new findings could inform land management amid global climate change. The US may be able to learn from Mexico’s wildfire management strategy, the researchers say.

“These large fire years are the result of many factors, but fire weather and seasonal climate loom very large in the picture. In the case of (Tucson’s) Bighorn Fire (this summer), for example, we had a combination of unusually hot weather, low humidity, and strong winds. When the monsoon is delayed, that means the fire season lasts longer, giving fires more time to burn,” says Don Falk, professor in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona and coauthor of the study in the International Journal of Wildland Fire.

Read the full article about wildfires by Mikayla Mace at Futurity.