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Can California update its building codes to minimize fire damage? AP Photo/Jae C. Hong

California fire damage to homes is less ‘random’ than it seems

There are well-understood ways to minimize the risk of fire spreading through housing – if only developers, homeowners and officials took heed.
Flames and smoke shroud State Route 33 as a wildfire burns in Ventura, California, Dec. 5, 2017. Daniel Dreifuss via AP

Exposure to wildfire smoke: 5 questions answered

Intense wildfires in southern California are triggering air quality alerts. Health experts know surprisingly little about how inhaling smoke affects human health, especially over the long term.
British Columbia Wildfire Service firefighters stand near a controlled burn to help prevent the Finlay Creek wildfire from spreading near Peachland, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

How will Canada manage its wildfires in the future?

Record-breaking wildfires made headlines around the world in 2017. Fire intensity will increase in Canada in the future with climate change, but we can invest in tools to improve the outcome.
A fireman tackles one of the wildfires that swept through parts of California in October. Jim Urquhart/Reuters

2017 is set to be among the three hottest years on record

This year is poised to go down as the hottest non-El Niño year ever recorded, with record low polar ice and extreme weather that left many regions battling bushfires and hurricanes.
Wildfire threatens a home near Possum Kingdom, Texas, April 19, 2011. State Farm

How to fight wildfires with science

Many countries around the world are vulnerable to wildfires, but a fire engineer warns that most are not spending enough on research into how fires spread and ways to reduce risks.
Burned area in Santa Rosa, California, Oct. 11, 2017. US Department of Defense

Why were California’s wine country fires so destructive?

Fire is part of the ecology in much of California, but recent wildfires have caused much more damage than past burns of similar size. A fire ecologist points to two key factors: winds and population growth.
In explaining the causes of wildfires, the media and policymakers typically point to environmental factors, but that’s not the whole story. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Don’t blame California wildfires on a ‘perfect storm’ of weather events

The media and policymakers often say a 'perfect storm' of environmental factors cause wildfires but that ignores the role of irresponsible urban planning and development in raising fire risks.
Wildfire creates an orange glow in a view from a hilltop Oct. 13, 2017, in Geyserville, California. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Wildfire smoke and health: 5 questions answered

Wildfires in California have triggered a public health emergency. One threat is smoke inhalation: Some air readings have registered pollution levels comparable to bad air days in Beijing or Mumbai.
Avoiding fires in Indonesia’s peatlands should be a common goal of everyone involved. Antara Foto/Jessica Helena Wuysang/ via REUTERS

People, palm oil, pulp and planet: four perspectives on Indonesia’s fire-stricken peatlands

Indonesian peatlands are important to many people: farmers, bureaucrats, businesspeople, and conservationists. But preserving this value for everyone will mean listening to everyone's concerns.
Wildfires may grow more frequent and intense in North America amid climate change, like the Fort McMurray blazes in 2016, which were among the worst in Canadian history. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)

How wildfires could radically change forests — and your life

Wildfires amid climate change may spark a radical shift in forest habitats and wildlife. They aren't just a destructive force of man and nature. They're a key factor in forest ecosystem renewal.
Pisgah National Forest, North Carolina. Tjss99/Flickr

The state of US forests: Six questions answered

Forests are valuable for many uses, including timber, clean water, wildlife habitat and recreation. Stresses on U.S. forests include wildfires, pest invasions and development of private lands.

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