A controversial study that questions decades of forest ecology research has made headlines across the country. The study -- published earlier this year -- raised eyebrows especially in the west where forest managers have been trying to prevent severe wildfires for decades.
While New Mexico has received enough rain to lift some fire restrictions, other parts of the southwest are still dry. That makes them vulnerable to lightning sparked fires, as well as human caused fires.
Humans start about half of the fires in the southwest. In southern California it’s a lot more -- about 90 percent are caused by people. Fire managers say the closer you get to a big city, where the population is dense, the more human caused fires. The top causes are unattended campfires, trash pile burning and arson.