Wildfires force thousands to evacuate near Los Angeles: Here's how the 2020 Western fire season got so extreme

The 2020 wildfire season has shattered records across the West. It's a trend that's headed in a dangerous direction.

Mohammad Reza Alizadeh, Ph.D. Student, McGill University • conversation
Oct. 27, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: climate-change climate science heat-wave drought natural-disasters wildfires weather

Restoring California's forests to reduce wildfire risks will take time, billions of dollars and a broad commitment

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.

Martha Conklin, Professor of Engineering, University of California, Merced • conversation
Oct. 13, 2020 ~10 min

Tags: climate-change water california-wildfires forests ecosystem-services wildfires us-west us-forest-service sierra-nevada watersheds forest-restoration

California wildfires pass 4 million acres burned, doubling previous record – that's a lot of toxic smoke

To understand the risks of wildfire smoke, it helps to understand the chemicals people are breathing.

Joshua S. Fu, John D. Tickle Professor of Engineering and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee • conversation
Oct. 2, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: health environment pollution wildfire chemicals air-pollution natural-disasters wildfires smoke

Wildfire smoke is laced with toxic chemicals – here's how they got there

To understand the risks of wildfire smoke, it helps to understand the chemicals people are breathing.

Joshua S. Fu, John D. Tickle Professor of Engineering and Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee • conversation
Oct. 2, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: health environment pollution wildfire chemicals air-pollution natural-disasters wildfires smoke

How can smoke from West Coast fires cause red sunsets in New York?

Last week, much of the Midwest and eastern US experienced hazy skies and red sunsets. The cause was smoke transported from the Western US by the jet stream and spread as far as Boston and even Europe.

Jeffrey B. Halverson, Professor of Geography & Environmental Systems, Associate Dean of the Graduate School, University of Maryland, Baltimore County • conversation
Sept. 22, 2020 ~4 min

Tags: atmosphere pollution wildfires smoke sun fire jet-stream fire-season

Humans ignite almost every wildfire that threatens homes

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.

Jennifer Balch, Associate Professor of Geography and Director, Earth Lab, University of Colorado Boulder • conversation
Sept. 18, 2020 ~5 min

Tags: climate-change development wildfires wildfire-fighting suburbs fireworks us-west prescribed-burning

Wildfires can leave toxic drinking water behind – here's how to protect the public

Two environmental engineers say governments need to do more to protect people from possible water contamination after wildfires.

Caitlin R. Proctor, Lillian Gilbreth Postdoctoral Fellow, Purdue University • conversation
Sept. 17, 2020 ~9 min

Tags: water camp-fire chemicals drinking-water natural-disasters california wildfires oregon disaster-recovery safe-drinking-water-act building-codes washington-state

Smoke from wildfires can worsen COVID-19 risk, putting firefighters in even more danger

Wildfire smoke makes it harder for firefighters's bodies to fight off viruses. Social distancing is difficult in that environment, but fire crews are coming up with solutions.

Luke Montrose, Assistant Professor of Community and Environmental Health, Boise State University • conversation
Sept. 11, 2020 ~8 min

Tags: health covid-19 coronavirus pandemic wildfires smoke

Coping with Western wildfires: 5 essential reads

How climate change and other human actions have combined to create conditions for explosive wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington state.

Jennifer Weeks, Environment + Energy Editor, The Conversation • conversation
Sept. 10, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: public-health climate-change risk california-wildfires insurance california wildfires oregon land-use wood-smoke essential-reads washington-state

Hurricanes and wildfires are colliding with the COVID-19 pandemic – and compounding the risks

Disaster preparation and evacuation procedures weren't made for social distancing. The pandemic means response decisions are now fraught with contradictions.

Ali Mostafavi, Associate Professor of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University • conversation
Aug. 26, 2020 ~6 min

Tags: health covid-19 coronavirus pandemic hurricanes storms natural-disasters wildfires research evacuation vulnerability-map

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