LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California’s record wildfires pose a problem for the state’s plan to use its forests to help offset climate-warming emissions.
It is unclear how much California’s plan for becoming carbon-neutral by 2045 depends on its forests. But as climate change fuels increasingly frequent and intense blazes, any plan that relies on keeping forests healthy could be frustrated.
California’s climate-change agenda is among the most ambitious in the United States, but thanks to wildfires, forests are “part of the problem, not part of the solution,” Edie Chang, a deputy executive director at the California Air Resources Board (CARB), told Reuters.
With global efforts to cut the use of fossil fuels falling short of what is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change, scientists believe capturing climate pollution already emitted will be necessary to limit warming. Maintaining the health of forests, which suck up and store carbon,
With unprecedented fires burning millions of acres across the Western US the past few months, firefighters and other personnel from across the country have responded to the call to help contain the devastating blazes.
Northern New Mexico, where I live, has managed to escape the worst of this horrifying fire season, with just a handful of smaller wildfires. That has freed up firefighting crews like the National Forest Service’s Carson Hotshots, based in Taos, to help on those larger fires.
The Hotshots are an elite firefighting crew specializing in wildfire suppression and emergency situations. The team’s standards for physical fitness and training are intense. I’ve occasionally marveled when mountain biking around Taos with members of the crew, who carry on conversations as we pedal up steep trails and I struggle to
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Wildfires have been burning across the state of California for weeks—some of them becoming larger complexes as different fires merge. One of those was the August Complex Fire, which reportedly began as 37 distinct fires caused by lightning strikes in northern California on Aug. 17. That fire is still burning over a month later.
The August Complex Fire and others this fire season have been sending far-reaching plumes of wildfire smoke into the atmosphere that worsen air quality in California and beyond. Predicting where that smoke will travel and how bad the air will be downwind is a challenge, but Earth-observing satellites can help. Included among them are NASA’s Terra and CALIPSO
Devastating wildfires across the Western United States has sent smoke traveling across the country and even into Europe. With that smoke comes bad air quality, not just for those near the fires, but for the entire continent.
Satelite images from NASA shows smoke thousands of miles from the fire. NASA says the smoke contains aerosols, a combination of particles which carry harmful things into the air and into your lungs. All the things that are burning, trees, grass, brush, homes, are turned into soot and absorbed by our lungs.
“This pollution, nobody knows how badly it will be affected but if we extrapolate from previous air quality it’s not good,” Dr. Malik Baz, the medical director at the Baz Allergy and Sius Center, said. “The long-term side effect, we’ll see many, many years down the line.”
Baz’s operates 13 locations in California, all of them are busy as Central California
Wildfires are still raging out west, and states are using anything in their arsenals to fight back. This year, for the first time, Oregon’s Department of Forestry is using thermal imaging technology to see through thick smoke to the fires below. The state’s firefighting teams say this technology has been game-changing during this devastating wildfire season.
Thermal imaging technology uses infrared waves to detect heat, and then presents that information visually. These graphics make it possible to see exactly where the fire is moving, which areas are the hottest, and how much is actually burning. This information is crucial to firefighting teams on the ground, who can know with
Cole Lindsay was nearly 20 nautical miles in the air Thursday morning above Oregon’s Silver Falls National Park as the massive Beachie Creek Fire burned. Maneuvering a contraption that looked like a tricked-out Microsoft Xbox controller, Lindsay zoomed a camera in on spots along the west edge of the fire ledge. The fire had shape-shifted and smoldered since Wednesday, burning less intensely in some areas.
“You can see those little spots poke out and catch your eye,” said Lindsay, a multi-mission aircraft operator with the Oregon Department of Forestry. “I can zoom right in on it, get coordinates and a map of where it’s at.”
But looking out the window of the small aircraft, dense smoke hovering from the fires burning more than 900,000
The catastrophic wildfires on the West Coast have generated an enormous amount of smoke that have darkened skies across the Bay Area and ruined the air quality around other cities. Prevailing winds have carried that smoke across the United States where it ran into another hazard — Hurricanes Paulette and Sally.
Over a three-day span shown in these images that started Sept. 14, the hurricanes initially kept the skies on the East Coast clear, but as the smoke moved forward, Paulette blocked the smoke and kept it in the Northeast, according to NASA’s Earth Observatory. By Sept. 16, the storm system dissipated and the plume moved farther into the Atlantic. Elsewhere, the NASA images show Hurricane Sally pushing the smoke northward as it flooded the Southeastern United States.
The NASA images above show an abundance and distribution of black carbon. NASA says it is