wildfires


gw-impacts-wildfires-firefighter-overlooking-smoke-exxon-las-glores-refinery
The Sherpa Fire burns near Exxon Mobil's Las Flores oil refining facility on June 17, 2016. Photo: Mike Eliason/Santa Barbara County Fire Department via EPA

As 2016 Wildfire Season Heats Up, Western States Wonder Who’ll Provide Relief: La Niña or Congress?

, senior climate scientist

Over the past few decades, climate change has driven an inexorable trend of higher summer temperatures across the West—a trend that is expected to continue for years to come. This year, some states may see relief if the El Niño pattern shifts rapidly to La Niña—and if Congress passes legislation that provides sufficient resources to manage wildfire risk effectively. Read more >

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I’ve Seen Fire and I’ve Seen Rain: Floods, Wildfires, and Another Monthly Global Warming Record

, climate scientist

April was another whopper of a record-breaker: It was 1.11ºC (just about 2ºF) above the average April temperature for 1951-1980. This new record is 0.24ºC (0.43ºF) higher than the previous April one, set in 2010. Read more >

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New Forest Service Report Tallies the Steeply Rising Costs of Fighting Wildfires

, lead economist and climate policy manager

We’re in peak fire season and, sadly, early predictions for a high-risk season are coming true. The National Interagency Fire Center’s predictions for August show continuing above normal fire risks for the western U.S. and Alaska. Today the Forest Service released a new report showing that firefighting costs now consume over 50 percent of their annual budget, and could get up to two thirds of their budget by 2025, up from 16 percent a decade ago. The good news is that there are multiple bipartisan efforts underway in Congress to deliver a fix for the budget woes outlined in the report. Now we just need to see strong legislation enacted. Read more >

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Fire Borrowing, the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, and an Opportunity for Bipartisan Action

, lead economist and climate policy manager

Perhaps it seems strange to be writing about wildfires in February, even as the Boston area (where I live) has just experienced its snowiest week on record. But it’s during the “off-season” that we have the opportunity to take stock of the causes and costs of past wildfires and take steps to better prepare and protect communities for future ones. Unfortunately, in some parts of the country like California there is no “off-season” as they face the threat of year-round fire seasons. Read more >

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World Heritage Sites Among Many Cultural Resources Threatened by Climate Change

, , deputy director, Climate & Energy Program

The last time I attended a World Parks Congress, 20 years ago in Venezuela, there was scarcely a mention of climate change. Back then, it was seen by conservationists as largely a problem they would have to deal with in the future. Well I’m sorry to say that the future is here, and so are the consequences of climate change. Read more >

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