Before you do anything else, you might want to take a look at a N.Y. Times map tracking the wildfires in the west…

Wildfires

WILDFIRES

The science could not be clearer. The burning of fossil fuels is making the Earth hotter. That makes trees and other vegetation drier. And those conditions make wildfires start more easily, burn hotter, and spread faster. These hot, dry conditions increase the likelihood that wildfires will be more intense and burn longer, making them harder to put out.

Highly detrimental to the environment, people’s health and livelihoods, wildfires are destroying forests, agriculture, and communities. Accelerating in their devastation year after year, by mid-September, 2020, five of the 10 largest wildfires in California’s history – including THE largest ever – had happened. 79 large wildfires were still  actively burning in California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming leveling acreage the size of New Jersey, with one in every 33 acres burned in the state of California. In Oregon, ten percent of the population had been evacuated and  critical populations of endangered species and native habitats incinerated. It is questionable whether they will ever recover. Unimaginably, the smoke travelled 3,000 miles to Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland and over the Atlantic.

Extraordinary photographs were published in the New York Times on September 10, 2020.

CURRENT NEWS

Indictment of US Forest Service ‘Burn Boss’ in Oregon Could Chill ‘Good Fires’ Across the Country

By Grant Stringer 02/08/24
A “burn boss” with the U.S. Forest Service is facing unprecedented criminal charges for an escaped prescribed burn in rural Oregon, which may complicate nationwide goals to set low-intensity fires that can thin out excess…
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It’s Always Fire Season Now

By Manuela Andreoni 11/16/23
It’s the end of fire season in the Amazon, where I am, and I can smell the smoke from burning trees. So can millions of people in Indonesia, India and the United States.
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America’s New Wildfire Risk Goes Beyond Forests

By Nadja Popovich 11/09/23
Forest fires may get more attention, but a new study reveals that grassland fires are more widespread and destructive across the United States. Almost every year since 1990, the study found, grass and shrub fires…
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‘We have come so far’: Five years after California’s historic Camp Fire killed 85, Paradise moves ahead with a goal to build a fireproof town

By Lisa M. Krieger 11/07/23
As Jen Goodlin tends the snapdragons and squash in her fertile garden, she is surrounded by a town that is a charred skeleton of its former self. It is also a blank slate, offering a…
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What Happened When California Chose to Rebuild a Town Devastated by Wildfire

By Mark Arax 11/04/23
Before the fire that destroyed almost everything here, Paradise was one of those blunders of American suburbia, a misplaced place that made little ecological sense. It inhabited a California landscape that wasn’t quite rolling foothill…
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Fast-Growing Wildfire in Southern California Forces Thousands to Evacuate

By Angely Mercado 11/01/23
A wildfire in Southern California has burned more than 2,000 acres and prompted more than 4,000 people in Riverside County to evacuate. What is now being called the Highland Fire was first reported on Monday…
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Dusting and Mopping Better Than Air Purifiers for Cleaning Indoor Air After a Wildfire

By Angely Mercado 10/26/23
Even after smoke from a wildfire has visibly cleared, lingering toxins indoors can tank air quality and threaten our health. Harmful chemicals stick around on surfaces and release into the air—and, new research found, air…
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‘It’s Like Our Country Exploded’: Canada’s Year of Fire

By David Wallace-Wells 10/24/23
When the fires came to Yellowknife, the nearest safe-harbor city was more than 600 miles away, a full day’s drive through dense smoke and flammable, nearly uninhabited forest in the infernal midst of Canada’s worst…
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When Kula needed water to stop wildfire, it got a trickle. Many other US cities are also vulnerable

By Brittany Peterson and Michael Phillis 09/30/23
Hours before devastating fires scorched the historic town of Lahaina on Maui, Kyle Ellison labored to save his rental house in Kula, a rural mountain town 24 miles away, from a different blaze.
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Canada’s “hellish” wildfire season defies the calendar

By Andrew Freedman 09/29/23
Canada's wildfire season, already the worst on record, went "completely off the rails" during the past week, scientists tell Axios. The big picture: Enough land area burned in the past week to make the seven-day-period…
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AI, Robots and Satellite Sensors Are Helping in the Fight Against Wildfires

By Coco Liu 09/25/23
This year has been a challenging one for Phil Schneider, who hasn’t seen wildfire behavior like this in his 47-year firefighting career.
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Canada’s unprecedented fire season burns into fall

By Ian Livingston 09/25/23
An unprecedented fire season in Canada that began in May is set to roll into October still going strong. About 44 million acres (18 million hectares) have burned this year as 2023 continues its journey…
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KEY RESOURCES

The US is spending billions to reduce forest fire risks – we mapped the hot spots where treatment offers the biggest payoff for people and climate

09/06/23
The U.S. government is investing over US$7 billion in the coming years to try to manage the nation’s escalating wildfire crisis. That includes a commitment to treat at least 60 million acres in the next…

How to pick the right air purifier for your home as wildfire smoke descends

06/08/23
In recent years, wildfire smoke has ravaged large swaths of the United States — from Northern California’s devastating 2020 wildfire season, to the orange-brown haze that has drifted from Canada into the eastern half of…

People who never had to think about wildfire before need to start

06/07/23
Right now, eastern North America sits under a blanket of choking smoke and an eerie orange haze more appropriate to the surface of Mars than the Great Lakes or Atlantic Seaboard.

Wildfire Weather

05/24/23
Climate change is worsening wildfires across the United States and putting more people at risk. Warming from heat-trapping pollution is affecting weather conditions in ways that increase the risks of wildfire. Long-term warming trends are…

Wildfires

09/13/22
Climate change is increasing the size, frequency, and intensity of wildfires as well as the length of the fire season. All fire needs to burn is an ignition source and plenty of fuel. While climate…

As Wildfires Grow, Millions of Homes Are Being Built in Harm’s Way

09/09/22
Across the Western United States, wildfires are growing larger and more severe as global warming intensifies. At the same time, new data shows, more Americans than ever are moving to parts of the country more…

California’s wildfire season is here. How to get ready

08/27/21
The Great Plains have tornadoes. The Southeast has hurricanes. And California has earthquakes and wildfires. More than 4 million acres were burned last year in what was the state’s worst wildfire season to date. So…

Facts + Statistics: Wildfires

09/16/20
As many as 90 percent of wildland fires in the United States are caused by people, according to the U.S. Department of Interior. Some human-caused fires result from campfires left unattended, the burning of debris,…

Wildfires and Climate Change: Visualizing the Connection in Five Sets of Photos and Charts

09/08/20
Every year, millions of acres of land are consumed by fire in the United States. By raising temperatures, melting snow sooner, and drying soils and forests, climate change is fueling the problem. Here’s what we…

Eden Reforestation Project

11/18/19
Eden Reforestation projects reduces extreme poverty and restores healthy forests by employing local villagers to plant millions of trees every year.

Global Forest Watch

09/09/19
Forest Monitoring Designed for Action: Global Forest Watch offers the latest data, technology and tools that empower people everywhere to better protect forests.

MORE NEWS

Wildfire smoke is eroding decades of air quality improvements, study finds

By Joshua Partlow   09/20/23  
In more than a half century since the Clean Air Act was enacted, there have been dramatic improvements in air quality in the United States, as regulations demanding less-polluting cars and factories helped lift cities…
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Preparing homes for wildfires is big business that’s only getting started

By Alina Selyukh   09/15/23  
As the Blue Ridge Fire blazed across California's Orange County in 2020, O.P. Almaraz stared at the menacing glow on the horizon and evacuated his family to a hotel. The next morning, he walked out…
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An Interview With the Climate Scientist at the Center of a Scandal

By Robinson Meyer   09/08/23  
Patrick Brown is a climate scientist at the Breakthrough Institute, a heterodox think tank based in California that advocates for using technology and economic growth to manage climate change. He holds a Ph.D. from Duke…
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Alaska firefighters experiment with targeting blazes to save carbon

By Alexandra Heal   09/08/23  
A pilot program in Alaska lets firefighters tackle deep woods fires that burn carbon and speed climate change and don’t just threaten homes and lives....
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Forests Are No Longer Our Climate Friends

By David Wallace-Wells   09/06/23  
Canadian wildfires have this year burned a land area larger than 104 of the world’s 195 countries. The carbon dioxide released by them so far is estimated to be nearly 1.5 billion tons — more…
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Entire Louisiana town under mandatory evacuation because of wildfire

By Sara Cline   08/26/23  
An entire town in southwestern Louisiana is under mandatory evacuation orders because of a wildfire that state officials say is the largest they have ever seen.
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Wildfires move a mile a minute. The U.S. can’t ignore the warnings.

By The Editorial Board   08/25/23  
Maui officials should have known what was coming. In 2014, they were put on notice that highly flammable invasive grasslands presented a serious wildfire risk. In 2018, after West Maui fires destroyed 21 houses and…
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More than 800 people still listed as missing from Maui wildfires

By Molly Hennessy-Fiske   08/22/23  
Some 850 people are still missing after the wildfires that torched parts of Maui and devastated the historic town of Lahaina, according to local officials, with 85 percent of the disaster area searched as of…
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At least 8,500 acres of Texas land have burned since Aug. 1. The governor’s disaster declaration allows included counties to access state resources to fight wildfires.

By Hilda Flores   08/18/23  
The 2023 wildfire season is underway in California. Below you’ll find a map where you can track the fires currently burning across the state.
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Why was there no water to fight the fire in Maui? | Naomi Klein and Kapuaʻala Sproat

By Naomi Klein and Kapua 'ala Sproat'   08/17/23  
All over Maui, golf courses glisten emerald green, hotels manage to fill their pools and corporations stockpile water to sell to luxury estates. And yet, when it came time to fight the fires, some hoses…
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As Wildfire Nears, Entire Canadian City Evacuates

By Ian Austen and Vjosa Isai   08/17/23  
The line of cars and trucks evacuating the northern city of 20,000 stretched to the horizon on Thursday, loaded with hastily seized belongings and pets of families ordered to flee the natural disaster that has…
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Ancient Fires Drove Large Mammals Extinct, Study Suggests

By Katrina Miller   08/17/23  
Wildfires are getting worse. Parts of the United States, scientists say, are experiencing wildfires three times as often — and four times as big — as they were 20 years ago. This summer alone, smoke…
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Gov. Greg Abbott declares wildfire disaster for three-fourths of Texas

By Alejandra Martinez   08/14/23  
At least 8,500 acres of Texas land have burned since Aug. 1. The governor’s disaster declaration allows included counties to access state resources to fight wildfires.
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Hawaii utility faces scrutiny for not cutting power to reduce fire risks

By Brianna Sacks   08/12/23  
Four days before fast-moving brush fires engulfed parts of Maui, weather forecasters warned authorities that powerful wind gusts would trigger dangerous fire conditions across much of the island and Hawaii.
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See the historic sites of Lahaina before and after the Maui wildfires

By Justine McDaniel and Ben Brasch   08/12/23  
Plantation-era wooden buildings turned to ashes. Landmarks made from coral, lava rock and concrete hollowed out by flames. A once-quaint historic street blackened and wrecked.
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Maui fires not just due to climate change but a ‘compound disaster’

By Scott Dance   08/12/23  
As scientists weigh the influence climate change may have had in fueling Hawaii’s wildfires, there isn’t one standout factor they point to. Rising temperatures likely contributed to the severity of the blaze in several ways.…
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After 5 hours in ocean, Maui fire survivor feels ‘blessed to be alive’

By Joanna Slater   08/12/23  
In the dark, cold water off Lahaina on Tuesday night, Annelise Cochran clutched one of her neighbors for warmth, both women shivering and struggling to breathe through the smoke and fumes. Cochran felt like she…
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Native Hawaiians organize aid for Maui fire victims as government lags

By Reis Thebault   08/12/23  
The boats kept coming. One by one, cruisers and catamarans eased toward the beach in Kahana, a small and tightknit neighborhood just north of Maui’s hardest-hit areas.
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Hawaii underestimated the deadly threat of wildfire, records show

08/12/23  
When Hawaii officials released a report last year ranking the natural disasters most likely to threaten state residents, tsunamis, earthquakes and volcanic hazards featured prominently. Near the bottom of a color-coded chart, the state emergency…
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This Maui center houses some of the world’s rarest birds. Staff saved it from the flames.

By Dino Grandoni   08/11/23  
The wildfires raging on Maui came to the doorstep of an endangered bird center, with staff rushing to extinguish flames before they crept to aviaries housing some of the rarest birds in the world.
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Column: If the Maui fires don’t wake up Americans to the climate emergency, nothing will

By Mary McNamara   08/11/23  
Will the devastating fires on Maui serve as a wake-up call for Americans and our foot-dragging political leaders about the climate emergency?
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How the Maui Wildfires Became So Destructive, So Fast

By Eric Roston   08/11/23  
At least 55 people are dead and hundreds of homes incinerated after tail winds from a hurricane stoked wildfires on Maui. Much of Lahaina, once the capital of the Kingdom of Hawaii, was destroyed, with…
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What caused the deadly Hawai‘i wildfires?

By Bob Henson and Jeff Masters   08/10/23  
The deadliest and most destructive U.S. wildfires of 2023 thus far swept through Hawai‘i on Tuesday night and Wednesday, Aug. 8-9. At least 36 deaths had been reported from the fires by early Thursday, with…
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Iconic Joshua trees burned by massive wildfire in Mojave Desert

By Nouran Salahieh and Mary Gilbert   08/02/23  
A massive fire burning through the desert in California and southern Nevada has scorched tens of thousands of acres in a biodiverse national preserve and torched its iconic Joshua trees.
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Americans Are Moving Toward Climate Danger in Search of Cheaper Homes

By Leslie Kaufman   07/24/23  
A midsummer quiz: Let’s say you read about an area experiencing blistering heat for weeks on end. Heat so hot that in the day, you can’t go outside, and at nighttime it’s still above 90F.…
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Canada wildfires devour land, vault CO2 emissions higher

From Andrew Freedman   07/19/23  
The simultaneous, record-shattering heat in the U.S., Europe and Asia may be getting all the headlines (more on these events below), but hotter and drier-than-average conditions are fueling the disaster unfolding in Canada.
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Air quality warnings return in U.S. as Canada deploys troops for wildfires

By Annabelle Timsit and Ian Livingston   07/17/23  
Canada deployed its military to help overwhelmed local authorities and emergency workers fight intensifying wildfires, which have burned nearly 25 million acres in the country this year. Heavy smoke from the blazes has prompted authorities…
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FEMA Has So Far Paid Out Less Than 1% of What Congress Allocated for Victims of New Mexico Wildfire

By Megan Gleason and Patrick Lohmann   07/17/23  
A couple months after two planned fires escaped to become the largest wildfire in New Mexico history, President Joe Biden promised to “fully compensate survivors.” Late last year, Congress allocated $3.95 billion to do so.
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Floods, fires and deadly heat are the alarm bells of a planet on the brink

By Sarah Kaplan   07/12/23  
The world is hotter than it’s been in thousands of years, and it’s as if every alarm bell on Earth were ringing. The warnings are echoing through the drenched mountains of Vermont, where two months…
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Labor market impacts of destructive California wildfires

07/01/23  
The severity and destruction of wildfires in California have increased in magnitude every decade since the late 1900s. Some researchers have studied the impacts of wildfires on people’s health and earnings and on the environment,…
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Smoky Conditions Begin to Ease Across Large Parts of U.S.

By Christopher Maag and Derrick Bryson Taylor   06/30/23  
Air quality remained poor in the Northeast on Friday, but conditions were improving across much of the Midwest as rain and winds from the west and south began to disperse wildfire smoke from Canada that…
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Disaster investing, wildfire edition

By Kia Kokalitcheva   06/24/23  
Since Canada's wildfires shrouded the East Coast with smoke and unhealthy air quality, Convective Capital — a young venture firm solely focused on wildfires — has been getting a lot more calls: from entrepreneurs, limited…
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We’re Watching the Sky as We Know It Disappear

By Paul Bogard   06/20/23  
The first day in early June when my 5-year-old and I camped in Minnesota’s lake country was the usual heaven — perfect calm for canoeing, an osprey overhead as we braved a swim in the…
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Oregon wildfires case highlights the climate change risks to utilities

By Claire Rush   06/19/23  
A jury verdict that found an Oregon power company liable for devastating wildfires — and potentially billions of dollars in damages — is highlighting the legal and financial risks utilities take if they fail to…
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Climate Change Fuels Wildfire Increase, Researchers Say

By Kim Harris   06/15/23  
Human-caused climate change could be playing a significant role in fueling the surge of devastating wildfires in California, a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientist and his collaborators say in a new report.
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Wildfire burn areas in California are growing ever larger due to greenhouse gas emissions

By Hayley Smith   06/14/23  
Although California may be enjoying a lull in this year’s wildfire season — courtesy of a wet winter and a cool spring — scientists say humanity’s relentless burning of fossil fuels has ensured that wildland…
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How the Canadian wildfire smoke could shift Americans’ views on climate

By Justine McDaniel   06/11/23  
As climate change dropped its calling card on the East Coast last week in the form of thick, dangerous smoke, millions of Americans and Canadians shared the jarring experience — forced to retreat indoors, cancel…
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‘The fire equivalent of an ice age’: Humanity enters a new era of fire

By Shannon Osaka, Michael E. Miller and Beatriz Ríos   06/10/23  
When the sky over New York City turned a thick, silty orange on Wednesday, 8 million residents woke up in a new era. Until this week, the East Coast had remained cocooned, thousands of miles…
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In Canada’s Wilds, a Chilling Inferno Was Also an Omen

By David Enrich   06/08/23  
“Is fire alive?” the journalist and author John Vaillant asks early in his new book, “Fire Weather.” I rolled my eyes, even as Vaillant ticks off a dozen lifelike characteristics — it grows, it breathes,…
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Air quality hits hazardous levels Wednesday from Canadian wildfire smoke

By Andrew Jeong, Victoria Bisset and Others   06/07/23  
Smoke and haze from the wildfires ravaging Canadian forests probably will continue to blanket buildings and residents in the Northeast, the Ohio Valley and the Mid-Atlantic. Air quality alerts remain in effect in major cities…
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N95 Masks Helped Protect Against the Coronavirus. They Also Work Against Wildfire Smoke

By Claire Moses   06/07/23  
As smoke from wildfires in Canada drifts over large parts of the United States, the best thing to do to prevent breathing in pollutants on Wednesday is to stay indoors. For many people, of course,…
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Wildfire Smoke Smoky Air Disrupts Life in the Northeast

By Liam Stack and Others   06/07/23  
A plume of Canadian wildfire smoke rapidly darkened the skies over New York City and around the Northeast on Wednesday, making the air dangerous to breathe and disrupting life across the region.
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As Smoke Darkens the Sky, the Future Becomes Clear

By David Wallace-Wells   06/07/23  
My father, who died of lung cancer, used to say that as soon as people inhaled their first cigarette, they immediately knew, if they weren’t in denial, that they were harming themselves. I felt the…
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Climate Change Is Escalating California’s Wildfires

By Anne C. Mulkern   05/31/23  
A new analysis finds that dry air and record-breaking temperatures linked to climate change have led to more frequent severe fires in California
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Canada’s Wildfires Have Been Disrupting Lives. Now, Oil and Gas Take a Hit.

By Hiroko Tabuchi   05/17/23  
Wildfires sweeping across western Canada that have driven thousands of people from their homes are also striking the heart of Canadian oil and gas country, forcing companies to curb production.
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There’s no escape from wildfire smoke

By David Wallace-Wells   05/17/23  
In Western Canada, fire season comes early by American standards — beginning, usually, right around now. In Alberta, by today’s date, only about 1,000 acres have burned in recent years. This season so far, the…
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Fossil Fuel Companies and Cement Manufacturers Could Be to Blame for a More Than a Third of West’s Wildfires

By Wyatt Myskow   05/16/23  
The climate-warming emissions from the world’s 88 largest fossil fuel companies and cement manufacturers are behind more than one third of the wildfires that have increasingly plagued Western North America in recent decades, according to…
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The Fossil Fuels Behind Forest Fires

05/16/23  
The communities, cultures, and ecosystems of the western United States and southwestern Canada evolved alongside wildfire for thousands of years. Over the last several decades, however, climate change has altered the character of western wildfires.…
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Air pollution from California wildfires worsened skin conditions

By Cara Murez   03/20/23  
Wildfires are known to have a lot of negative impacts on the environment and the health of the people who live through them.
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Why epic California rains might not prevent a dangerous fire season

By Hayley Smith   01/31/23  
It’s something of a Golden State paradox: Dry winters can pave the way for dangerous fire seasons fueled by dead vegetation, but wet winters — like the one the state has seen so far —…
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