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.

 

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