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

KEY RESOURCES

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

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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

Cedar Creek Fire, one of 21 fires burning in Oregon, forces evacuations

By Bryan Pietsch   09/12/22  
The Cedar Creek Fire in central Oregon, which has scorched more than 86,000 acres, forced rural residents to flee their homes over the weekend before officials slightly curbed evacuation orders Sunday night for just one…

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

By Nadja Popovich and Others   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…

Northern California wildfire wipes out neighborhood with frightening speed

By Alex Wigglesworth  Photo: Noah Berger, Associated Press   09/04/22  
Jane Coolidge and her husband, Bruce, were driving past the town of Weed, Calif., on Friday when they saw a huge plume of black smoke. Flames had engulfed a large commercial building, and debris hit…

California wildfire burns at least 50 structures and forces thousands to flee.

By Mandy Feder- Sawyer and Others  Photo: Neal Waters, Shutterstocks   09/02/22  
A wind-whipped fire that erupted near a defunct lumber mill in Northern California on Friday and became a fast-moving inferno has destroyed at least 50 structures, including homes, and prompted the evacuation of thousands of…

As forests go up in smoke, so will California’s climate plan

By Tony Briscoe  Photo: Luis Sinco, Loa Angeles Times   08/29/22  
When lightning ignited the bone-dry foothills of the Sierra Nevada last year, forestry crews fanned out across Sequoia National Park to defend an ancient grove of California redwoods from wildfire. As smoke wafted through a…

Wildfire smoke is choking Indigenous communities

By Diana Kruzman  Photo: Diana Kruzman and Others, Grist   08/24/22  
On July 29, 2021, Li Boyd woke up to the smell of smoke. It was her birthday — she was turning 38 — and she had rented a boat to take her parents and aunts…

Wildfire and electric grid: Crisis requires long-term planning rather than rapid response

By Cassie Koerner  Photo: Ethan Swope, AP Photo   08/11/22  
Wildfires are a top priority for land management agencies and utilities, as the number, size and intensity have increased along with the cost to battle these mega-blazes. While not all wildfires are caused by the…

McKinney fire levels homes, destroying a lifetime of memories in a flash

By Hayley Smith and Others  Photo: David McNew, Getty Images   08/01/22  
Days after the McKinney fire broke out in Northern California, anxious residents peppered officials with questions during a community meeting in Yreka on Monday night. “When can we go back home?” one person asked. “Can…

Why Does the American West Have So Many Wildfires?

By Winston Choi-Schagrin and Others  Photo: David McNew, Getty Images   08/01/22  
In just one weekend, the McKinney Fire, fueled by strong winds and high temperatures, burned more than 55,000 acres in Northern California, becoming the state’s largest wildfire so far this year. The blaze is only…

These maps show severe fires are morphing California forests into something we won’t recognize

By Yoohyun Jung  Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez, The Chronicle   07/25/22  
Many of the largest wildfires in recent U.S. history have happened in California just in the past few years, including last year's Dixie Fire, which burned nearly a million acres across four counties. Seven others…

How wildfires impact our health, as well as the environment

By Jamie Hailstone  Photo: AFP via Getty Images   07/13/22  
It is a sad truth that many parts of the world - including various parts of the United States - are now facing an increased risk of wildfires.

A case for retreat in the age of fire

By Emily E. Schlickman and Others  Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images   07/13/22  
Wildfires are getting larger, more frequent and more severe in many areas. Although efforts are underway to create fire-adapted communities, it’s important to realize that we cannot simply design our way out of wildfire –…

Out-of-control Yosemite fire threatens iconic giant sequoias

By Alex Wigglesworth and Diana Marcum  Photo: National Park Service via Associated Press   07/09/22  
The first that Michael Gilbert, a 67-year-old rock climber and bellman, heard of the fire in Yosemite National Park was from a mother and daughter who drove up breathless on Friday.

Extreme lightning sparks more Alaska wildfires in already historic season

By Jacob Feuerstein and Joshua Partlow  Photo: Pat Johnson , AP   07/06/22  
An unusual spate of lightning has ignited more than 50 new wildfires in Alaska, worsening air quality, spurring communities to prepare to evacuate and exacerbating an already historic fire season in the state.
AP

WA wildfire prompts evacuations for people in 50 homes

06/29/22  
People in about 50 homes near a wildfire in central Washington were told by law enforcement to leave their homes immediately on Tuesday afternoon. The Grant County Sheriff’s Office said at about 2:45 p.m. that…
AP

Interstate 84 closed in eastern Oregon due to wildfire smoke

06/29/22  
The Oregon Department of Transportation said the interstate was closed westbound in Ontario and eastbound in Baker City because of smoke from a wildfire.
AP

Northern California wildfire threatens 500 buildings

Photo: Elias Funez , AP   06/29/22  
The Rices Fire erupted at around 2 p.m. near the Yuba River in Nevada County and had spread to more than 500 acres (202 hectares) by nightfall, said Unit Chief Brian Estes of the California…

Arizona wildfires gut observatory buildings, endanger artifacts

By Marisa Iati  Photo: Rachel Gibbons/Arizona Daily Sun/AP   06/23/22  
In the latest example of the expanding reach of wildfires, a trio of blazes in Arizona has gutted several buildings at a national observatory, forced the evacuation of a historical monument and threatened other archaeological…

Track Wildfires in the West

By Matthew Bloch, Bea Malsky and Others   06/22/22  
The map includes active and recent fires reported by the Wildland Fire Interagency Geospatial Services Group. The locations of the fires on the map are approximate, derived from data reported by the NASA FIRMS satellite-based…

A wildfire year

By Ashley Wu and Matthew Cullen  Photo: Adria Malcolm   06/20/22  
The American West is burning more quickly than it has in a decade. New Mexico has been fighting its two biggest wildfires on record for more than a month. About 3 million acres of U.S.…

Arizona Wildfire Destroys Observatory Buildings

By Neelam Bohra  Photo: KPNO/NOIRLab   06/19/22  
The fire, known as the Contreras fire, has scorched more than 18,000 acres, twisting among Indigenous-populated areas in the state near Tucson, and scientists might not be able to return to the observatory for weeks.…

Pollution from California’s 2020 wildfires likely offset decades of air quality gains

By Tony Briscoe  Photo: Brian Van Der Brug , Los Angeles Times   06/17/22  
In an analysis published this week in the annual Air Quality Life Index, researchers found that wildfire smoke probably offset decades of state and federal antipollution efforts, at least temporarily.

California Wildfire Scorches Nearly 1,000 Acres and Prompts Evacuations

By Christine Chung   06/13/22  
A fast-moving wildfire in California’s Angeles National Forest has grown to nearly 1,000 acres in a little more than a day, prompting road closures and the evacuation of a large portion of a community about…
cnn

Hundreds are urged to evacuate due to wildfire near Flagstaff, Arizona, as thousands more are told to prepare to leave

By Elizabeth Wolfe & Others   06/13/22  
The Pipeline Fire was first reported by a fire lookout at around 10:15 a.m. Sunday and has grown to 4,500 acres, according to InciWeb, a US clearinghouse for wildfire information. Burning slightly west of Schultz…

A ‘Perfect Recipe for Extreme Wildfire’: New Mexico’s Record-Breaking, Early Fire Season

By Tim Wallace and Nadja Popovich  Photo: Jim Weber via Associated Press   06/01/22  
Fueled by abnormally dry, warm conditions and spread by strong winds, wildfires have burned more than 600,000 acres across New Mexico this spring — making it one of the worst fire years in the state’s…

Here Are the Wildfire Risks to Homes Across the Lower 48 States

By Christopher Flavelle and Nadja Popovich  Photo: Chris Caldwell / The Spectrum   05/16/22  
The nation’s wildfire risk is widespread, severe and accelerating quickly, according to new data that, for the first time, calculates the risk facing every property in the contiguous United States.

1 in 6 Americans live in areas with significant wildfire risk

By John Muyskens, Andrew Ba Tran, Naema Ahmed and Anna Phillips  Photo: Mapbox   05/16/22  
When a wildfire tore through drought-stricken towns near Boulder, Colo., late last year, it reminded Americans that fire risk is changing. It didn’t matter that it was winter. It didn’t matter that many of the…

How the future trees of New Mexico were almost destroyed by wildfires

By Elizabeth Miller  Photo: Leslie Edgar/New Mexico State University   05/12/22  
Saving tree seedlings critical to restoring forests in the Southwest from the fires ripping through northern New Mexico took four trucks and three trailers — and two trips into a wildfire evacuation zone...

Oregon Adopts Strongest Worker Protections in U.S. Against Heat and Wildfire Smoke

05/12/22  
To protect against extreme heat, employers must as of June 15 afford workers paid heat breaks when temperatures surpass 80 degrees F and must provide access to shade and drinking water, among other measures. To…

Wildfire threatens ‘cultural genocide’ in New Mexico villages

By Andrew Hay  Photo: Reuters/Kevin Mohatt   05/09/22  
Miguel Gandert does not know whether his family's 19th-century log home has been burned by a New Mexico wildfire, but he fears the blaze could destroy an Indo-Hispano mountain culture far older than the United…

‘Potentially historic’ wildfire event threatens New Mexico, Southwest

By Matthew Cappucci & Jason Samenow  Photo: Robert Browman , AP   05/07/22  
Critical-to-extreme wildfire conditions are about to take hold of the southwestern United States and parts of Colorado, leading into what could be a lengthy, multiday and memorable outbreak of wildfires and/or wildfire conditions. Warm to…

‘Burning Down a Way of Life’: Wildfire Rips Through a Hispanic Bastion

By Simon Romero  Photo: Adria Malcolm , The New York Times   05/05/22  
“I left behind 25 goats, 50 rabbits, 10 chickens and two dogs,” said Mr. Martinez, 71, who escaped his home in the village of El Oro this week for an evacuee shelter. “I have no…

Smoke and sandstorm, seen from space

By Maggie Astor  Photo: NOAA   05/04/22  
A time-lapse image of smoke from wildfires in New Mexico and dust from a storm in Colorado illustrates the scope of Western catastrophe. The video is mesmerizing: As three whitish-gray geysers gush eastward from the…

New Mexico governor urges Biden to declare wildfires a disaster to free funds

Photo: Kevin Mohatt , Reuters   05/03/22  
New Mexico’s governor on Tuesday asked President Joe Biden to declare a disaster as firefighters scrambled to clear brush, build fire lines and spray water to keep the largest blaze burning in the US from…

Devouring the rainforest

By Terrence McCoy and Júlia Ledur  Photo: Michael Ciaglo/Bloomberg News   04/29/22  
Cattle ranching, responsible for the great majority of deforestation in the Amazon, is pushing the forest to the edge of what scientists warn could be a vast and irreversible dieback that claims much of the…

Massive wildfires helped fuel global forest losses in 2021

By John Muyskens, Naema Ahmed and Others  Photo: Salwan Georges / AP   04/28/22  
Unprecedented wildfires raged across Russia in 2021, burning vast swaths of forest, sending smoke as far as the North Pole and unleashing astounding amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere...

A megafire raged for 3 months. No one’s on the hook for its emissions.

By Amanda Coletta , Chris Mooney & others  Photo: Alana Paterson   04/20/22  
Over nearly three months, it crossed a river, hopscotched containment lines and climbed sagebrush-covered hills, churning into the atmosphere an estimated 38 million tons of greenhouse gases — roughly a year’s worth of pollution from…

Fires, Then Floods: Risk of Deadly Climate Combination Rises

By Raymond Zhong  Photo: Noah Berger, Associated Press   04/01/22  
Global warming is greatly increasing the risk that extreme wildfires in the American West are followed by heavy rainfall, a new study has found, highlighting the need for better preparations for hazards, like mudslides and…
AP

Wildfire near Smoky Mountains prompts mandatory evacuations

03/31/22  
Firefighters sought to get a handle Wednesday on a wildfire spreading near Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee, amid mandatory evacuations as winds whipped up ahead of a line of strong storms forecast to…

It’s official: Larger, more frequent wildfires are here

By Lina Tran  Photo: Michael Ciaglo , Getty Images   03/30/22  
It’s nearly three months into 2022, and the country has already seen wildfires burning across Florida, Texas, and Colorado. Hundreds of thousands of acres have been scorched, in an unusual start to spring.

NCAR Fire forced evacuation of 8,000 homes in Boulder

By Nate Lynn   03/27/22  
About 8,000 homes were ordered to evacuate due to a fast-moving wildfire burning in an open space near the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder on Saturday afternoon.

Older Wildfire Smoke Plumes Can Affect Climate

By Emily Dooley   03/23/22  
Aerosols carried in wildfire smoke plumes that are hundreds of hours old can still affect climate, according to a study out of the University of California, Davis.

Recent Megafire Smoke Columns Have Reached the Stratosphere, Threatening Earth’s Ozone Shield

By Bob Berwyn  Photo: Peter Parks   03/17/22  
Scientists researching how the recent spike in extreme wildfires affects the climate say that just a few weeks of smoke surging high into the stratosphere from one intense fire can wipe out years of progress…

Wildfires in Florida Panhandle prompt evacuations

By Alyssa Lukpat and Isabella Grullón Paz  Photo: Michael Snyder/Northwest Florida Daily News   03/05/22  
Three fast-moving wildfires in the Florida Panhandle have consumed more than 10,000 acres and forced the evacuation of more than 1,100 homes, the authorities said.

Risk of uncontrollable wildfires will rise and spread globally, UN warns

By Diana Leonard  Photo: Evan Collis/AP   02/23/22  
Uncontrollable wildfires are intensifying with the rise in greenhouse gas emissions, according to a sweeping global report released Wednesday by the United Nations Environment Program and nonprofit GRID-Arendal, who said communities are not prepared for…

As drought lingers, larger and more destructive wildfires pose new threats to water supply

By Hayley Smith  Photo: Luis Sinco , Los Angeles Times   02/21/22  
Already diminished by drought and extreme heat, California’s water supply will face yet another peril as wildfires continue to incinerate ever larger areas of forested land, according to new research.

California’s largest wildfire of 2022 grows uncontained to 1,800 acres near Bishop

By Gregory Yee   02/16/22  
A wind-driven wildfire that broke out near Bishop in the Owens Valley spurred evacuations and grew to 1,800 acres by Wednesday night, officials said, quickly becoming California’s largest fire of the year so far.

Wildfires are becoming more intense at night and lasting longer, study finds

By Kasha Patel  Photo: Bethany Baker/AP   02/16/22  
Nighttime-fire intensity in the U.S. West has increased by 28 percent over the past two decades.

Dixie Fire caused by PG&E, Cal Fire says. Fire was second largest in California history

By Dale Kasler and Rosalio Ahumada   01/05/22  
Cal Fire said Tuesday that investigators have determined that a tree contacting Pacific Gas and Electric Co. power lines caused last summer’s Dixie Fire, which burned nearly 1 million acres and destroyed more than 1,300…

This Vast Wildfire Lab Is Helping Foresters Prepare for a Hotter Planet

By Henry Fountain  Photo: Mason Trinca , New York Times   01/05/22  
When a monster of a wildfire whipped into the Sycan Marsh Preserve here in south-central Oregon in July, Katie Sauerbrey feared the worst.