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Articles on Forest fires

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Indonesian fire fighters extinguish a fire in a land next to residence in Pekanbaru, Riau province on September 13, 2019. The blazes spread smog across Southeast Asia and adding to concerns about the impact on global warming. Adek Berry/AFP

New research reveals that wildfires can influence El Niño

Wildfires are intensifying, yet they’re one of the most poorly understood phenomena on Earth. New research shows that they can disturb both regional and global climate.
After the 2018 wildfire in Paradise, Calif., many fire-damaged homes were razed. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A case for retreat in the age of fire as dozens of wildfires threaten homes in the West

Managed retreat is already common in flood-prone areas, but what about in neighborhoods at high risk from wildfires? Here are four ways communities can pull back for safety.
Homes overlook a forest in the wildland-urban interface in Arizona. Marius von Essen

The fastest population growth in the West’s wildland-urban interface is in areas most vulnerable to wildfires

A new study maps vegetation’s fire risk across the West and shows where population in the highest-risk areas from California to Texas is booming.
Wildfire smoke contains a mixture of toxic pollutants that can be harmful to both the lungs and the brain. Bloomberg Creative/ Bloomberg Creative Photos via Getty Images

Neurotoxins in the environment are damaging human brain health – and more frequent fires and floods may make the problem worse

Pollution from more frequent floods and wildfires – exacerbated by the warming climate – is threatening human health and poses particular risks to the brain.
Parts of Lake Elsinore, California, were overrun with muddy floodwater after a storm hit the Holy Fire burn scar in 2018. Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Digital First Media/Inland Valley Daily Bulletin via Getty Images

Wildfire burn scars can intensify and even create thunderstorms that lead to catastrophic flooding – here’s how it works

An atmospheric scientist and sailplane pilot describes why large areas of burned land can produce clouds and rainstorms.
Colorado’s East Troublesome Fire jumped the Continental Divide on Oct. 22, 2020, and eventually became Colorado’s second-largest fire on record. Lauren Dauphin/NASA Earth Observatory

Rocky Mountain forests burning more now than any time in the past 2,000 years

Scientists studied charcoal layers in the sediment of lake beds across the Rockies to track fires over time. They found increasing fire activity as the climate warmed.
Heat and dryness are leaving high mountain areas more vulnerable to forest fires. David McNew/Getty Images

Western fires are burning higher in the mountains at unprecedented rates – it’s a clear sign of climate change

As the risk of fires rises in areas once considered too wet to burn, it creates hazards for mountain communities and for downstream water supplies.
A deforested piece of land in the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, in the state of Rondonia, in northern Brazil, on Aug. 23, 2019. Carl De SouzaA/FP via Getty Images

Brazil’s economic crisis, prolonged by COVID-19, poses an enormous challenge to the Amazon

Because Brazil’s economic prosperity in the last two decades is increasingly linked to the Amazon’s good health, restoring the country’s economy is a critical first step toward ending deforestation.
BRG could focus on communities to support its peatland restoration efforts in the next term. ANTARA FOTO/Rony Muharrman/aww.

Indonesia’s Peatland Restoration Agency gets an extension despite failing to hit its target: what are the hurdles and next strategies?

Indonesia’s Peatland Restoration Agency is likely to have its tenure extended by four years. What has been achieved and what should the agency focus on for the next term?
Forest fires hit parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan islands of Indonesia this year due to illegal slash-and-burn activities by companies and local people. www.shutterstock.com

Bambang Hero Saharjo wins 2019 John Maddox Prize should be an inspiration for scientists to stand up for environment in courtrooms

Indonesia’s forest fires forensics, Bambang Hero Sahardjo, receives a prestigious award, John Maddox prize, opening hope for scientists to use scientific evidence for law enforcement.
More than 300,000 hectares of subtropical forest in Paraguay have burned since July due to illegal land clearing for agriculture, according to the National Security Ministry, Oct. 1, 2019. AP Photo/Jorge Saenz

In Paraguay, rural communities facing deforestation see power – and profit – in a beloved drink

Yerba mate is a wildly popular South American tea with a growing global market. Can this ‘superfood’ save Paraguay’s tropical forests, too?
Justin Trudeau speaks to Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg in Montreal on Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

‘Our house is on fire!’ Why Greta Thunberg infuriates conservatives

With her climate strike, Greta Thunberg has upended climate politics and posed the key question of who are the real radicals in current discussions.

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