wildfires


California Wildfires and Power Outages Signal Long Road Ahead, But Climate Ambition Sets the Right Course

, Senior Energy analyst

In California, this fall marked the third consecutive year of catastrophic blazes ripping across the state. It marked the first year in which those blazes were accompanied by the widescale deployment of multi-day, multi-city pre-emptive power outages.

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Forest Service Photo by Kari Greer
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What do Alaska Wildfires Mean for Global Climate Change?

, Kendall Science Fellow

During the (on-going) 2019 fire season, over 2 million acres have burned – an area roughly equivalent to that of Yellowstone National Park. In comparison to many fires in the conterminous United States, many fires in Alaska burn far away from population centers, and as such can be fought and responded to differently. However, to put the alarming nature of this season in context, the 2019 fire season in Alaska has already burned greater acreage than ALL fires in California during 2018 (~1.8 million acres), the year of the devastating Camp, Woolsey, and Carr fires. Read more >

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Cushion plant community destroyed by Tasmanian wildfires in 2016. Each mound takes several hundred years to form. Photo: Dan Broun

It’s Time to Stop Ignoring the Climate Change Threat to World Heritage

, Deputy director, Climate & Energy

The World Heritage list comprises more than 1,000 of our planet’s most important natural and cultural heritage sites, but from the ancient city of Venice to the forests and rivers of Yellowstone National Park, these extraordinary places are increasingly vulnerable to climate change. Read more >

Dan Broun
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Photo: Bob Dass/Flickr

Winds and Wildfires in California: 4 Factors to Watch that Increase Danger

, senior climate scientist

Santa Ana influenced fires, which occur between October and April, are different from the warm and dry season fires, that typically occur between June and September. Scientists have found the main reasons why Santa Ana influenced fires contribute the vast majority of cumulative economic losses in California compared to other wildfires that typically occur in the summer.  From 1990-2009, Santa Ana influenced fires spread three times faster, occurred closer to urban areas, and burned into areas with greater housing values. Over the same years, other fires often occurred in higher elevation forests, were more sensitive to how old the vegetation was, lasted for extended periods, and accounted for 70% of total suppression costs.  In other words, other fires burned in remote forests, often with plenty of mature vegetation or ‘fuel’ for long-lasting wildfires. Whereas Santa Ana influenced fires scorched with greater speed through areas that were typically closer to more people. Read more >

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Washington’s I-1631: A Chance to Choose Hope, Not Fear

, director, California & Western States

Few issues have generated as much excitement for climate action as the Washington State carbon pricing initiative, I-1631. This initiative, developed after a painstaking and highly inclusive planning process that has garnered enthusiastic support from a large, diverse coalition of constituencies, would create a groundbreaking carbon fee on polluters that would be reinvested in Washington’s communities, businesses, and clean energy industries. While opponents to I-1631, mostly out-of-state oil companies, claim that Washington can’t afford to price and reduce carbon emissions, the fact is that individuals, businesses, and taxpayers are already footing a very large bill for the damage done by global warming pollution and the price tag will continue to grow unless emissions can be dramatically reduced. Read more >

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