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U of U experts explain the economic and environmental impact of droughts and fires

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U of U experts explain the economic and environmental impact of droughts and fires

By University of Utah College of Science | Posted - Apr. 28, 2021 at 8:00 a.m.



Summertime may be on the horizon, and while Utahns enjoy spending the hot months on scenic hikes, cooling off in lush reservoirs and enjoying the spectacular surroundings of the Wasatch Front, the coming months also present a threat to the beauty and health of the Beehive State. In fact, a recent KSL report warned that the 2021 wildfire season in Utah could be worse than ever, because of the state's current drought conditions. Those conditions pushed Governor Spencer Cox to declare a state of emergency in March.

So far, the worry is certainly warranted, with the first red flag warnings of the year announced earlier this month. According to KSL, these warnings were issued after a number of wildfires broke out around Utah over Easter weekend, kicking off fire season much earlier than usual.

As residents of the beautiful Beehive State, it's important to understand the economic and environmental impact of droughts and fires. Thanks to the University of Utah's College of Science's quarterly event, Understanding the Science, you can get a deep dive into topics that matter now, like Utah's drought and wildfire threat.

The next Understanding the Science panel, Economic & Environmental Impacts of Drought & Fires, will be broadcasted Thursday, May 13 from 7-8:30 p.m. on YouTube Live. The panel features Professor Bill Anderegg, Biologist at the University of Utah, Tom Holst from Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and Professor Mitchell Powers, historical biogeographer from the University of Utah. The discussion will be moderated by Tom Thatcher, manager of Intuitive Funding.

During the session, these professionals will discuss current issues and future threats posed by wildfires and other natural disasters—and how these will affect Utah's economy and environment.

The topic is not only timely but of particular interest to Utahns, many of whom depend on the state's lush landscape and natural resources both for business and pleasure.

U of U experts explain the economic and environmental impact of droughts and fires

Registration open now

Registration for the event is currently open on the University of Utah College of Science website. While the event is free of charge, an RSVP is required to attend, as the YouTube link will only be sent to those who have registered.

About the panelists

Bill Anderegg

Dr. Bill Anderegg brings an impressive background in ecosystem and climate change research, with a focus on understanding the impact of climate change on the earth's forests. His research includes studies on tree physiology, species interactions, carbon cycling and biosphere-atmosphere feedback.

Thomas Holst

Thomas Holst is a senior energy analyst, constantly researching the economic impact of Utah's energy industry. His experience includes various positions with Mobile Oil and Chevron and served as gas supply manager for the Angola LNG project. Holst holds a B.S. in chemical engineering and an M.B.A. from Brigham Young University.

Mitchell Powers

Dr. Mitchell Powers is a historical biogeographer with expertise in modern and past plant communities and their response to natural disturbance. His research includes understanding the influence of climate on ecosystem dynamics through time. His current projects include sites in Ethiopia, Bolivia, the Caribbean and the Uinta mountains of Utah.

Sign up for the free panel event

The next Understanding the Science panel, Economic & Environmental Impacts of Drought & Fires, is scheduled for Thursday, May 13 from 7-8:30 p.m. on YouTube Live. Please sign up through the website to receive the YouTube link for the event. For more information, visit the Understanding the Science website.

University of Utah College of Science

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