Flames approach houses during the Blue Ridge Fire on Oct. 27, 2020 in Chino Hills, California.
David McNew/Getty Images
A fire scientist offers a six-point strategy for preventing wildfires and living safely in flammable landscapes.
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Dennis Fast/ VWPics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images
For the first time in the US, a ballot measure will ask voters whether to restore wolves to a place where they've been eradicated. Coloradans have strong views on both sides.
A mixed-conifer forest in the central Sierra Nevada after restoration, with unthinned forest in the background.
Restoring western forests – thinning out small trees and dead wood – is an important strategy for reducing the risk of massive wildfires. But these projects aren't fast, easy or cheap.
An airtanker drops retardant to help stop the spread of the 2015 Eyrie Fire in the foothills of Boise, Idaho, which was ignited by sparks from construction equipment.
Austin Catlin, BLM/Flickr
Wildfires aren't always wild. Many of the most expensive and damaging fires happen in suburban areas, and nearly all blazes in these zones are started by humans.
The Riverside Fire, viewed from La Dee Flats in the Mount Hood National Forest in Oregon on Sept. 9.
Debating whether climate change or forest management has caused the devastating wildfires in California, Washington and Oregon is a false choice.
It's comforting to blame California's wildfires on human stupidity. But this hides a very uncomfortable truth.
Sheep grazing on BLM land near Shoshone, Idaho.
Do public lands in the West belong to Westerners, or all Americans? Moving a federal agency's headquarters from Washington, DC to Colorado is the latest skirmish in a longtime struggle.
A valuable resource: Snowpack on Oregon’s Mt. Hood.
USDA NRCS/Spencer Miller
New research forecasts that climate change will make multiyear stretches with low snow levels more common across western North America – bad news for water managers, farmers, foresters and skiers.
The white “bathtub ring” around Arizona’s Lake Mead (shown on May 31, 2018), which indicates falling water levels, is about 140 feet high.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin
Western states adopted a 7-year plan in May 2019 to manage low water levels in the Colorado River. Now they need to look farther ahead and accept that there will be less water far into the future.
Dawn on the south rim of the Grand Canyon.
The Grand Canyon, which marks 100 years as a national park on Feb. 26, 2019, is known today as an iconic natural wonder. But early European visitors weren't impressed.
A young bull bison grazes on the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, Pawhuska, Oklahoma.
Bison once dominated the Great Plains but were nearly wiped out by hunters in the 1800s. Now scientists are learning that bison's presence improves plant and wildlife diversity on the prairies.
Female sage grouse at the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, Wyoming.
The Interior Department is expanding oil and gas leasing on land in six western states that is vital habitat for the greater sage grouse. Lawsuits are certain to follow.
Smoke billows from the High Park wildfire west of Fort Collins, Colo., on June 11, 2012, a year of historic drought across much of the western United States.
AP Photo/Ed Andrieski
Some observers have blamed recent wildfires on poor forest management, while others point to climate change. In fact, a climate scientist explains, reducing fire risks means tackling both issues.
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.
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.
Water from an irrigation system sprays flowering cotton plants on the farm of Allen Entz in Hydro, Okla, Aug. 16, 2012.
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
The Ogalalla Aquifer is a vast underground lake that irrigates farms across the US Great Plains. It took thousands of years to fill, but human use could drain it in roughly a century.
‘Early Days.’ Detail of Frank Happersberger’s pioneer monument, San Francisco, California, 1894. Photo by Lisa Allen.
Many cities are removing their Confederate statues. But pioneer monuments represent a racist past, too. There are at least 200 of them, and their future is now being debated.
The Carr Fire tears through Shasta, California, July 26, 2018.
AP Photo/Noah Berger
Climate change, development, past forest management policies and current firefighting practices are creating conditions for large, costly wildfires.
Male sage grouse at the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, Wyoming.
The Trump administration is reopening a plan negotiated under President Obama to protect Western sage grouse. This could signal to states not to bother working together to protect other endangered species.
The Berry Fire burns in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, August 27, 2016.
AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File
With elevated wildfire risks forecast across much of the western US this summer, here's how travelers can track local conditions, stay out of harm's way and avoid accidentally starting fires.
A blizzard in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, in 2005.
Governments and private companies have been seeding clouds to create snow for decades, without proof that it actually works. A recent study peered into clouds in search of answers.