wildfires


5 of California’s 6 Largest Fires on Record Are Burning Now: The Astonishing 2020 Wildfire Season in Context

, senior climate scientist

Editor’s note: This post has been revised to reflect the most accurate data on fire acreage in the 1980s. The original relied on data from the NIFC for 1980-1983 and the updated version excludes this period, as the data are less reliable. The 1980s statistics now reflect data from MTBS and CalFire.

California is a state that burns. Like epic snowstorms in Tahoe, fog in San Francisco, and the dry heat of Palm Springs, wildfires are a natural feature of California’s climate—and like all of those, wildfire is changing because of global warming. Rising temperatures are drying out soils, plants, and forests, which then act as fuel for increasingly large fires.

When you’re far from the fires, or when their smoke isn’t cloaking your neighborhood, it can be difficult to conceive of their scale. Here are nine graphics that put this year’s fires into context. Read more >

Mike Lewelling/National Park Service
UCS
NASA
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In the US West Scorched by Wildfires, We Can Barely Breathe. It’s Going to Get Worse.

, senior climate scientist

We built upon data from a 2016 study projecting future “smoke wave” days to better understand where and for whom smoky days will be of increasing concern as climate change pushes wildfires to new extremes. Read more >

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NOAA/Wikimedia Commons

Three Reasons Why the COVID Relief Executive Order Is Bad Policy

, Climate Resilience Analyst

On August 8, in response to the Congressional stalemate on passing a coronavirus relief package and their failure to renew benefits to individuals who have lost wages due to the COVID-19 economic crisis, the President signed an Executive Order bypassing Congress. On the surface it would seem that the Executive Order solved the Congressional impasse and by doing so ensured that badly needed resources would be allocated to individuals who have lost wages due to the pandemic, right? WRONG. Here are three reasons why the Executive Order is bad policy: Read more >

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Forest Service Photo by Kari Greer

U.S. West Faces a Grim Summer as Red Flag Fire and COVID-19 Warnings Mount

, Kendall Science Fellow

Across the Western US, surges of COVID-19 cases are colliding with wildfires. New warnings that states with the highest number of cases in the country are now facing immediate fire risk mean the picture is about to get grimmer for this region. Read more >

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https://www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/images/186797

In the Wake of COVID-19, Congress Must Support Pre-Disaster Mitigation Programs

, Climate Resilience Analyst

As Congress considers formulating economic recovery and relief packages for the nation, robust funding must be targeted to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) pre-disaster mitigation programs to help prepare and protect communities ahead of time, particularly African American, Latinx and Native American communities that are suffering the brunt of the pandemic in this dire time. Read more >

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