Americans Are Moving To Escape Climate Impacts. Towns Expect More To Come

Doug and Judith Saum moved to New Hampshire from Reno, Nev., to escape the health effects of worsening wildfire smoke. (Annie Ropeik/NHPR)

The impacts of climate change could prompt millions of Americans to relocate in coming decades, moving inland away from rising seas, or north to escape rising temperatures.

Judith and Doug Saum have moved already, recently leaving their home outside Reno, Nev.

“It was with a view of the Sierra [Nevada Mountains] that was just to die for,” Judith says. “We had a lot of friends, musician friends, we’d get together and play music with them often. It wasn’t easy to leave all that.”

The Saums had long thought about retiring to Colorado or Montana to be near family. But as they started making those plans several years ago, they were also noticing a new problem: Wildfire season was getting worse and longer in their part of the country, fueled by climate change.

“For me, it was unbearable because I was so sensitive to the smoke that I start to swell up,” says Judith. “I get sinus infections, and going outside was intolerable.”

The Saums settled on northern New England and a house in the rural town of Rumney at the foot of New Hampshire’s White Mountains.

Read the rest of the story at NHPR’s website.