Articles on Wildfires

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Many California wildfires spread from structure to structure, fed by the winds. Cal Fire

How fierce fall and winter winds help fuel California fires

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. PETER DASILVA

The bitter lesson of the Californian fires

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.
Trees have died in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colo., as climate change has intensified bark beetle infestations and drought. Patrick Gonzalez

Human-caused climate change severely exposes the US national parks

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. Monica Turner

Here’s how forests rebounded from Yellowstone’s epic 1988 fires – and why that could be harder in the future

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.
Cal Fire Division Chief Mark Higgins directs helicopters dropping water in Lakeport, California. AP Photo/Noah Berger

Wildfires are inevitable – increasing home losses, fatalities and costs are not

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.
Firefighters hose down flames from an advancing wildfire July 28, 2018, in Redding, Calif. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

A high-adrenaline job: 5 questions answered about fighting wildfires

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.
Wildland firefighters, like this crew heading into New Mexico’s Gila National Forest, in 2012, are equipped and operate differently from urban firefighters. USFS Gila National Forest

All wildfires are not alike, but the US is fighting them that way

A historian of wildfires explains the difference between urban and rural fire cultures, and what it means for protecting communities in fire-prone rural areas.
Fire burns the hillsides along Highway 129 near Lake Berryessa in Yolo County, California, on July 3, 2018. (Randall Benton/The Sacramento Bee via AP)

How to protect your children from wildfire smoke

And wildfires rage along the West Coast of North America, parents should know the impact on their children's health, and how to protect them.

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