AP Science Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — For much of the United States, invasive grass species are making wildfires more frequent, especially in fire-prone California, a new study finds.
Twelve non-native species act as "little arsonist grasses," said study co-author Bethany Bradley, a University of Massachusetts professor of environmental conservation.
Wherever the common Mediterranean grass invades, including California's southern desert, fires flare up three times more often. And cheatgrass, which covers about one-third of the Intermountain West, is a big-time fire promoter, Bradley said.
"I would not be surprised at all if invasive grasses are playing a role in the current fires but I don't think we can attribute to them directly," Bradley said.
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