Articles on Wildfires

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Fire cut a devastating swath through Australia in 2019-20, leaving a heavy toll of death and destruction in its wake. (Shutterstock)

Money won’t save the planet, so philanthropy needs to adapt

Philanthropy in the form of financial donations is not a solution to the natural disasters caused by climate change. A new philanthropy of social change is needed.
The Rim Fire burned 256,000 acres of the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park in 2013. (USDA Forest Service, Chris Stewart)

Buried in mud: Wildfires threaten North American water supplies

Wildfires reduce the reliability of city water supplies in North America. But active forest management provides a key to the solution.
Sonoma County, California hired this herd of sheep from Sweetgrass Grazing to reduce invasive plants and flammable fuels and make room for native plants on protected land. Sonoma Open Space

Young California ranchers are finding new ways to raise livestock and improve the land

A new generation of ranchers is exploring sustainable ways to raise cattle, sheep and goats in California. Some are grazing herds on fire-prone lands, reducing wildfire risks and improving soils.
To understand the effects of a big die-off, researchers set up experiments with wild boar carcasses. Brandon Barton, Mississippi State University

Rotting feral pig carcasses teach scientists what happens when tons of animals die all at once, as in Australia’s bushfires

Death is a natural part of ecosystems. But it's unusual for a large number of animals to all die at once. Researchers are investigating how a mass mortality event affects what's left afterwards.
Debris left behind after a tornado strike on Jefferson City, Missouri, May 23, 2019. AP Photo/Summer Ballentine

Millions of burnt trees and rusted cars: Post-disaster cleanup is expensive, time-consuming and wasteful

Government agencies have detailed plans for responding to disasters, but one piece doesn't get enough attention: cleaning up the mess that's left behind.
Suburban infrastructure growth has resulted in functional landscapes designed to serve the growing needs of urban peripheries. Zhu Hongzhi/Unsplash

The suburbs can help cities in the fight against climate change

Located at the edges of cities, suburbs have a role to play in urban resilience to disasters caused or exacerbated by climate change.
Burning invasive, nonnative grasses on federal land at Lower Table Rock, Oregon. BLM

Invasive grasses are fueling wildfires across the US

Along with climate change and drought, invasive grasses are promoting wildfires across the US, even in areas that don't normally burn.
A firefighter walks along a containment line while battling a 2018 wildfire in Redding, California. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Data science could help Californians battle future wildfires

Researchers like myself are finding transformative new ways to help planners, leaders and first responders tackle disasters from afar.
The Maria Fire billows above Santa Paula, California on Oct. 31. AP/Noah Berger

California is living America’s dystopian future

'California is America fast-forward,' writes one scholar. Does that mean that the dystopian infernos that have consumed parts of the state are simply a picture of what awaits the rest of America?
Aja Conrad, the Karuk Tribe’s workforce and internships coordinator, lights a prescribed fire in Orleans, California. Jenny Staats

What western states can learn from Native American wildfire management strategies

Instead of suppressing wildfire, the Karuk Tribe in the Pacific Northwest is using it as an integral part of its climate change management plan. Federal, state and local agencies are taking note.
Fires that affect populated areas raise different safety and public health issues than wildfires. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Why we need to treat wildfire as a public health issue in California

Two fire researchers argue that recent fires in Northern and Southern California show why health and social equity need to be part of fire preparedness.
A fire rages through wetlands close to Cape Town in February 2017. EPA/Nic Bothma

What science tells us about fire hazards facing Cape Town and its surrounds

The danger of fires in the Cape region this season is partly dependent on how the Fynbos has been managed over the past few decades.

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