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Articles on Wildfire

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Before satellites, fire crews watched for smoke from fire towers across the national forests. K. D. Swan, U.S. Forest Service

Big fires demand a big response: How 1910’s Big Burn can help us think smarter about fighting wildfires and living with fire

The US has learned that it cannot suppress its way to a healthy relationship with fire in the West. That strategy failed, even before climate change proved it to be no strategy at all.
Not all fires are disastrous. For many ecosystems, fire plays a key role in boosting biodiversity. (BLM Oregon and Washington)

How Indigenous burning practices can help curb the biodiversity crisis

Large and out-of-control wildfires can seriously damage ecosystems, but Indigenous fire practices can keep ecosystems healthy and resilient, and even increase biodiversity.
Wildfires not only trigger evacuations, they limit the possible escape routes. (BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, TranBC/flickr)

We can’t predict the next wildfire disaster – but we can plan for it

Efforts to predict wildfire risk and to prioritize mitigation efforts aren’t enough. We must prepare for fire disasters wherever possible and decide what we’ll do when they happen.
Juniper trees, common in Arizona’s Prescott National Forest, have been dying with the drought. Benjamin Roe/USDA Forest Service via AP

Trees are dying of thirst in the Western drought – here’s what’s going on inside their veins

Without enough water, trees can develop embolisms, similar to blockages in human blood vessels, and they’re more likely to die from drought or fires.
Wildfire smoke rises near Prince Albert, Sask., in May 2021, where a fast-moving wildfire led local officials to declare a state of emergency. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Kayle Neis

How wildfires affect climate change — and vice versa

Recent wildfire seasons have been worsened by climate change. But wildfires also lead to additional climate warming when they release carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.
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A staggering 1.8 million hectares burned in ‘high-severity’ fires during Australia’s Black Summer

As bushfires become larger under climate change, the area exposed to intense and severe fires is likely to increase.

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