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

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

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…
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.

California’s forever fire

By Elizabeth Weil  Photo: Meridith Kohut for The New York Times Magazine   01/03/22  
After another devastating year, it’s clear that Californians can’t keep trying to “fight” wildfires. Instead, they need to accept it as their new reality.

1 big thing: Wildfire hits tight-knit climate science community

By Ben German and Andrew Freedman  Photo: RJ Sangosti , Getty Images   01/03/22  
The wind-whipped firestorm that tore through parts of Boulder County, Colorado, on Thursday struck at the heart of one of America's top climate science and meteorology research hubs, Andrew writes.

‘Total devastation’ after wildfire charges through Colorado towns

By Ari Schneider, Jennifer Oldham, Marisa Iati and Emmanuel Felton  Photo: Brittany Peterson/AP   12/31/21  
More than 500 families may enter a new year having lost their homes after runaway grass fires bore down on the region northwest of Denver on Thursday, but others were returning to their neighborhoods Friday…

Prairies on Fire in Montana Amid a Record December Heat Wave

By Jim Robbins  Photo: Lynn Donaldson   12/02/21  
Record-high temperatures and powerful winds have sparked a series of unusual December prairie fires in Montana, one of a series of late-season fires across the country amid an unusually warm approach to the winter season.

Montana wildfire update for December 01, 2021

By Jess Sheldahl, Kay Erickson, Edward O'Brien   12/02/21  
The town of Denton in Fergus County in central Montana is under an evacuation order because of a fast-moving wildfire.

Wildfires in California Killed Thousands of Giant Sequoias

By Vimal Patel  Photo: Max Whittaker   11/20/21  
Three wildfires in California in the past 15 months killed or mortally wounded thousands of mature giant sequoias, accounting for an estimated 13 to 19 percent of the world’s population of the majestic trees, officials…

What It’s Like to Fight a Megafire

By M.R.O' Connor  Photo: Kevin Cooley , Redux   11/08/21  
Mike West began working with the Lassen Interagency Hotshot Crew in the summer of 2004, when he was twenty-one years old. On one of his early missions, the crew was dispatched to Arizona, where lightning…

Climate change is now the main driver of increasing wildfire weather, study finds

By Alex Wigglesworth  Photo: Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times   11/01/21  
In a finding that scientists believed was still decades away from becoming reality, California researchers say that climate change is now the overwhelming cause of conditions driving extreme wildfire behavior in the western United States.

The Coming Age of Climate Trauma

By Andrea Stanley  Photo: Ray Chavez   10/27/21  
Jess Mercer received a call from her stepmom, Annette, that morning, a little after 8 a.m. “We’re coming,” Annette said, her voice so unrecognizable it sounded foreign. Jess was at her apartment in Chico, Calif.,…

As California burns, PG&E CEO promises: ‘We are going to fix our stuff’

By Sammy Roth  Photo: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times   10/14/21  
I don’t envy Patti Poppe. In the nine months since she took the helm of Pacific Gas & Electric, the nation’s largest and possibly most hated utility, Poppe has seen the firm potentially implicated in…
CNN

California’s Alisal Fire has prompted evacuations, road and Amtrak closures

By Aya Elamroussi and Joe Sutton   10/14/21  
California firefighters are battling flames and strong winds as they tackle the Alisal Fire, which has shut down a section of the iconic Highway 101 and Amtrak lines in Santa Barbara County. The 15,400-acre fire,…

Wildfire smoke poses serious health hazard. But your indoor air can be kept clean

By Bernard J. Wolfson  Photo: Burak Arik   10/09/21  
The fierce wildfires that broke out across much of the western United States this summer, spreading smoke across hundreds of miles, continue to pose a serious health hazard to millions. More are expected this fall.…

The Secret War Over Pentagon Aid in Fighting Wildfires

By William J. Broad  Photo: David McNew/Getty Images   10/01/21  
In July, as wildfires tore through the American West, President Biden met with the region’s governors to find better ways to battle the flames. Gov. Gavin Newsom of California requested use of military satellites that…

1 of every 8 acres in California has burned in the last 10 years. Here’s where the biggest fires spread — and are burning now

By Paul Rogers and Paiching Wei  Photo: AP Photo/Noah Berger   09/29/21  
If it seems like wildfires in California are getting larger, they are. Nine of the state’s 10 largest wildfires since 1932, when modern records began, have occurred in the past decade. And amazingly, the eight…

Anatomy of a wildfire: How the Dixie Fire became the largest blaze of a devastating summer

By Marisa Iatiand and Dylan Moriarty   09/17/21  
For two months, the Dixie Fire has menaced Northern California — stripping forests, forcing thousands from their homes and swallowing most of a Gold Rush-era community.

World’s largest trees under siege from California wildfire as sequoias face new perils

By Hayley Smith and Lila Seidman  Photo: Noah Berger , Associated Press   09/16/21  
Deep inside the heart of Sequoia National Park lies a cathedral-like grove that is home to thousands of towering sequoia trees. Known as the Giant Forest, it draws throngs of visitors each year who come…

In California, Worsening Fires Show Limits of Biden’s Power

By Christopher Flavelle and Zolan Kanno-Youngs  Photo: Doug Mills , The New York Times   09/14/21  
President Biden visited California on Monday to tout his efforts to better protect the state against the raging wildfires that have burned more than two million acres, displaced thousands and pushed responders to the brink…

When Hard Jobs Turn Hazardous

By Sergio Olmos  Photo: Jordan Gale   09/05/21  
In early summer, a day laborer laying irrigation lines at a plant nursery just south of Portland, Ore., collapsed to the ground and died. His official cause of death was declared “heat related.”

Devastating Caldor Fire continues to burn toward Lake Tahoe, forcing thousands to evacuate

By Ally Gravina and Diana Leonard   08/31/21  
So Clay Cunningham and his wife packed what they could and fled their house in Meyers, Calif., near South Lake Tahoe. But nearly as soon as they reached their daughter’s home, another evacuation order arrived.…

Forest Service officials confirm all California national forests to temporarily close

By Gregory Yee  Photo: Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times   08/30/21  
All of California’s national forests will be closed beginning late Tuesday. The closures will go into effect at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday and stay in place until the same time on Sept. 17, according to an…

Lake Tahoe Suffocates With Smoke

By Thomas Fuller and Shawn Hubler  Photo: Max Whittaker for The New York Times   08/27/21  
Smoke from the Caldor fire is overwhelming one of California’s most iconic regions — and confounding thousands of newcomers who fled there in recent months to escape the coronavirus.
AP

‘Tinderbox conditions’ fuel fire in Superior National Forest

By AP   08/27/21  
Officials in the Superior National Forest said Thursday that the ongoing drought has created “tinderbox conditions” in northeastern Minnesota as firefighters continue to battle an uncontained wildfire, while rain that’s expected to fall in coming…

Fires feast on a national park in Northern California

By Kurt Repanshek   08/26/21  
It’s not surprising that Lassen Peak has long been overshadowed by Yosemite and Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Although this summit looms over the Shasta Cascades, in Northern California, the sprawling national park named…

Gaps in US wildfire smoke warning network leave many exposed

By Matthew Brown and Padmananda Rama  Photo: Matthew Brown , AP   08/26/21  
 Huge gaps between air quality sensors in the western U.S. have created blind spots in the warning system for wildfire smoke plumes sweeping North America this summer, amid growing concern over potential health impacts to…

Wildfire smoke leads to worst air quality on record in Nevada counties

By Celine Castronuovo   08/24/21  
Wildfires continuing to spread across California have pushed smoke across to neighboring states, with several Nevada counties reporting their worst air quality index (AQI) levels on record this week.

Caldor fire: crews prepare for high winds that could fan northern California blaze

08/21/21  
Crews were digging in and burning out fire lines amid fears that another round of high winds on Saturday could bring renewed fury to a northern California wildfire. “We have a firefight ahead of us…

California’s fires are stretching crews and stranding evacuees.

By Mike Ives  Photo: Max Whittaker / The New York Times   08/20/21  
As another day of wildfire fighting began in California on Friday, fire crews were seeing a few glimmers of hope. Smoke from the Caldor fire raging southwest of Lake Tahoe had been helping to choke…