Smoke billows from the High Park wildfire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on June 11, 2012, a year of historic drought across much of the western United States.
AP Photo/Ed Andrieski
Some observers have blamed recent wildfires on poor forest management, while others point to climate change. In fact, a climate scientist explains, reducing fire risks means tackling both issues.
An image from the International Space Station captures plumes of smoke from California wildfires on August 4, 2018.
Haze from Northern California wildfires has drifted as far east as Philadelphia. Wildfire smoke contains many potentially toxic substances, so anyone exposed to it should take basic precautions.
President Donald Trump and other federal and state officials tour a mobile home and RV park on Nov. 17, 2018 in the wake of the Camp Fire.
Paul Kitagaki Jr./The Sacramento Bee via AP, Pool
Forest management is not a cure-all for wildfires, although it can help reduce the chances of massive burns. Making this happen will require broad collaborative efforts and more money.
Many California wildfires spread from structure to structure, fed by the winds.
The dry, hot, downslope Santa Ana winds of Southern California fan late fall wildfires that have largely traveled through – and are fueled by – homes and other structures.
A firefighter in California. Firefighting is getting more and more expensive as fires get more destructive.
The California fires are just the most recent in a series of major wildfires. Together, they suggest we need to look at alternative ways of living with fire.
An Oregon wildfire in August 2018.
U.S. Forest Service - Pacific Northwest Region
Communities that are majority black, Hispanic or Native American are over 50 percent more vulnerable to wildfire compared to other communities.
Deadly debris flows came to Los Angeles after heavy rain pounded wildfire-scarred land.
AP Photo/Reed Saxon
One natural disaster can exacerbate the effects of others – think landslides after wildfires. This means engineers and planners need to rethink how they assess and prepare for risk.
Damage from Hurricane Michael and other storms may lead to higher insurance premiums.
Convincing people to see and appreciate the threats posed by climate change is one of the great challenges of our day. Insurers may be able to succeed where scientists and educators have failed.
Trees have died in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colo., as climate change has intensified bark beetle infestations and drought.
As climate change alters temperature and precipitation patterns across the US, it is having especially severe impacts on national parks. These changes could happen faster than many plants and animals can adapt.
The 2016 Maple fire (photographed in July 2017) reburned young forests that had regenerated after the 1988 Yellowstone fires. More frequent high-severity fires are expected in the future as climate warms, which may change patterns of forest recovery.
Huge fires roared through Yellowstone National Park in the summer of 1988, scorching one-third of the park. Since then the park has been a valuable lab for studying how forests recover from fires.
People of color tend to suffer financially more than whites after natural disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina.
A new study shows that natural disasters enrich white victims while hurting people of color, worsening wealth inequality. And government aid contributes to the problem.
A Northern Spotted Owl in Oregon’s Deschutes National Forest.
AP Photo/Don Ryan, File
The Trump administration wants to step up logging, saying it will benefit wildlife by reducing forest fire risks. But wildfires create habitat for threatened Spotted Owls and many other species.
Cal Fire Division Chief Mark Higgins directs helicopters dropping water in Lakeport, California.
AP Photo/Noah Berger
As California reels from another devastating fire season, environmental resource scholars explain how the state – and other fire-prone areas – can better prepare and coexist with wildfires.
A firefighter runs after trying to save a home in California.
AP Photo/Noah Berger
With California suffering another devastating wildfire year, more people are wondering about whether and how global warming is contributing. A climate scientist explains.
Firefighters tackle a wildfire on Winter Hill near Bolton in June 2018.
Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images
Preventing severe wildfires in the UK needs to be a political priority as climate change means they will be a growing problem.
Firefighters hose down flames from an advancing wildfire July 28, 2018, in Redding, Calif.
AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Wildland firefighting has always been a risky job, but development in fire-prone areas is making it more dangerous by putting forest firefighters in situations they are not equipped or trained for.
The Carr Fire tears through Shasta, California, July 26, 2018.
AP Photo/Noah Berger
Climate change, development, past forest management policies and current firefighting practices are creating conditions for large, costly wildfires.
The fires tore through Mati, effectively sweeping it from the map.
The fires tearing through the Athens region are not an act of God, but a direct result of corruption and systematic disregard for the law.
Firefighters and volunteers battle a blaze near Loutraki in southern Greece.
From Greece, to the UK, to Japan and even Sweden, a slew of places in the Northern Hemisphere are suffering extreme heat. And the chances of extreme heat records tumbling are growing all the time.
Fighting wildfires with air tankers, like this one dropping fire retardant on the Willow Fire in California on September 2, 2015, is expensive and not always effective.
A perfect storm of climate, forestry, development and fire management trends are driving up the costs of fighting wildfires.