2020 is the worst fire year on record in the United States. In the face of heartbreaking losses, effort and expense, scientists are still grappling with some of the most basic questions about how fire influences interactions between plants and animals in the natural world. A new study grounded in the northern Rockies explores the role of fire in the finely tuned dance between plants and their pollinators.
The biggest study yet of West Coast wildfire plumes shows how a smoke plume’s chemistry changes over time. Results suggest current models may not accurately predict the air quality downwind of a wildfire.
To mask or not to mask - and which mask to use? With public health guidance about masks in the United States confused by political hedging, clarity around mask use is increasingly important, especially as the western U.S. battles the twin crises of wildfire smoke and COVID-19.
Northern Arizona University researcher Xanthe Walker is the lead author on research published this week that found that the amount of carbon stored in soils was the biggest predictor of how much carbon would combust and that soil moisture also was significant in predicting carbon release.
A University of Adelaide-led research project will study the clinical data of koalas injured in last summer’s devastating bushfires to give them the best possible chance of survival and recovery in future bushfires.
Wildfire indices and high-resolution climate models combine to produce a detailed historical analysis of wildfire events across the U.S. and suggest the potential for more severe and frequent fires in the latter half of the century.
DHS S&T's Smart City Internet of Things Innovation (SCITI) Labs program is bringing together government and private sector partners to identify technologies that can detect and alert emergency management, utilities, and citizens of a threatening wildfire.
The UCLA Fielding School of Public Health (FSPH) has joined the Planetary Health Alliance (PHA), a consortium of more than 200 universities, research institutes, and government agencies committed to understanding and addressing global environmental change and its health impacts.
Wildfires are becoming more common and severe due to climate change and warmer and drier conditions in the West. As wildfire season rages in the United States, people are also at increased risk for COVID-19 infection due to wildfire smoke.
In response to the escalating health emergency that is already inflicting substantial damage on people in Southern California and around the world, the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health has created the UCLA Center for Healthy Climate Solutions.
Published recently in the journal Sensors, a new study by Berkeley Lab air quality scientists tested four models of low-cost air quality monitors during actual wildfire pollution events and found that their readings of PM2.5 – or particulate matter under 2.5 microns, which has been linked to respiratory and cardiovascular issues – were consistently higher than the reference monitor used by the regulatory agencies; however, since each monitor had a relatively consistent response to the smoke, it is possible to use the readings to estimate true PM2.5 levels. Overall, the researchers concluded that the monitors can provide actionable information.
New research revealed that tiny, sunlight-absorbing particles in wildfire smoke may have less impact on climate than widely hypothesized because reactions as the plume mixes with clean air reduce its absorbing power and climate-warming effect.
Some governments are counting on planted forests as offsets for greenhouse gas emissions—a sort of climate investment. But as with any investment, it’s important to understand the risks. If a forest goes bust, researchers say, much of that stored carbon could go up in smoke.
Forests can be best deployed in the fight against climate change with a proper understanding of the risks to that forest that climate change itself imposes.
Climate change has contributed to the increase in the number of wildfires in the Arctic where it can dramatically shift stream chemistry and potentially harm both ecosystems and humans. Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have found that some aftereffects, like decreased carbon and increased nitrogen, can last up to five decades and could have major implications on vital waterways.
Researchers synthesize how climate change will affect the risk of wildfires in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana. The study also suggests how managers and individual landowners in different ecosystems can best prepare.
A new study led by the University of Delaware’s Pinki Mondal recommends that in addition to using large swaths of coarse satellite data to evaluate forests on a national scale, it is important for countries to prioritize areas such as national parks and wildlife refuges and use finer scale data in those protected areas to make sure that they are maintaining their health and are being reported on accurately.