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Nancy Harris, Thailynn Munroe and Kelly Levin, Global Forest Watch


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Articles and Websites
  • Interactive Media
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus

North America, United States, USA - West

6 Graphics Explain the Climate Feedback Loop Fueling U.S. Fires

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  • This article utilizes six graphics to explain a multi-part feedback loop of worsening fires and more rapid climate change.
  • Students will see recent data presented in line and bar graphs, an animated map, and an infographic.
Teaching Tips


  • The graphics are clear and compelling.
  • The images are accompanied by helpful text descriptions that provide additional context explaining the fire and climate change feedback cycle.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should be familiar with wildfires and the factors that impact fire risk.
  • Students should be comfortable reading bar and line graphs.


  • Students can read the article in pairs or small groups to help each other interpret the graphs.
  • There are many links to additional resources throughout the article that students can explore to learn more.
  • Challenge students to brainstorm solutions to the wildfire and climate change feedback loops. Students can select one solution to research and present to the class.
  • Other resources related to this topic include the lesson plan Analyzing the Rise of U.S. Wildfires and the video Pine Beetles and Wildfires in Colorado.
Scientist Notes
Data on forest fires as presented in the charts is valid. However, the "Below Normal Range" category should have been given a separate classification. The resource is recommended since this is a minor limitation.
  • Science
    • ESS2: Earth's Systems
      • HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-2. Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.
      • MS-ESS3-5. Ask questions to clarify evidence of the factors that have caused the rise in global temperatures over the past century.
      • HS-ESS3-5. Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems.
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