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September 18, 2013

Study: Past wildfire speeds snowmelt

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) — A new study shows charred forests left behind by wildfires make the mountain snowpack that Western rivers depend on melt faster.

Lead author Kelly Gleason, a doctoral candidate at Oregon State University, says they found more snow fell in burned forests than in green ones. But the snow melted off twice as fast in burned forests, and was gone 23 days earlier. The reason was the black bits sloughing off the charred trees onto the snow intensified the heat from the sun.

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