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Posts Tagged ‘wildfires’

Warming Trends in the Pacific Northwest Are Not Due to Natural Variability

During the past several weeks, my phone weather alert has repeatedly shown Corvallis and Portland, Oregon, having fire and low humidity alerts. I did my postdoc there and remember the smell of burning woods during August and September. There have been record-setting wildfires this year in the Pacific Northwest and climate scientists argue that climate change is likely to make it worse due to increasing temperatures. Read More

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“Catastrophic” Fire Conditions Arrive Early in Australia, Mirror the 2013 U.S. Wildfire Season

My parents are almost 80 years old and live in Sydney, the place where they were born and raised. Yesterday I phoned them to ask for news of bush fires that are raging just beyond the western edge of the city. As they described the pall of dark smoke that has covered the city of over four million people, I thought of my childhood summers. We knew there would be searing temperatures and days of “total fire bans” when not even backyard barbeques were allowed. But I remember those days being during my summer vacations – that is, in December and January. Now they are happening in October, in springtime. Read More

Categories: Global Warming  

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Colors of Wildfire Risk: Do Dead Trees Increase the Threat?

There are many reasons to enjoy living in the West — the large number of sunny days each year and low humidity immediately spring to mind. Driving through the high country is another reason, as I did last week from the Front Range of Colorado to Aspen.  Among the highlights (depending on the route you take) is passing through Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the United States at 10,152 feet. There’s also the drive over Independence Pass, which definitely qualifies as white-knuckle driving with no guardrails for drop-offs that seem to go on forever. Another highlight was always the drop into Summit County (home of Breckenridge and other ski resorts) coming down from the Continental Divide after passing through the Eisenhower Tunnel.

However, what was a stunning vista in years past is now marred by dead trees virtually everywhere you look.  Read More

Categories: Global Warming  

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Bigger, Hotter, and Longer Wildfires are the New Normal as the Climate Changes in the West

Climate change is a main driving force behind the huge uptick of dangerous wildfires the western U.S. has been experiencing during the last decade — and this year is no exception. In terms of total acreage burned, the eight worst wildfire seasons since 1960 have all occurred in the last 12 yearsRead More

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Ted Smith: A Visionary Conservation Leader and Climate Pioneer Remembered

Friends and family gathered last weekend at a memorial in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to celebrate the remarkable conservation legacy of Theodore McRoberts Smith, known to one and all as Ted. It was an inspiring, warm, and wonderful commemoration of a visionary leader — and Ted would have hated it. Read More

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The Other Washington Burns: An Eyewitness Account

There are two Washingtons – the unrepresented one in the District of Columbia, and the state way out west of the Beltway. Here in DC life is going well: It’s a beautiful fall day, Congress is out of town, and the Nationals had the best record in baseball this year.

In the other Washington, though, things are different. The old quip about Washington’s ball team —  “First in war, first in peace, and last in the American League” — used to be about the Senators; now it’s about the Mariners. But more seriously, the landscape is burning up.

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Categories: Global Warming  

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