Getting the public, legislators and agency staff to see the benefit of a burned forest isn’t easy, because wildfires — pardon the pun — are a heated issue.
Rapidly rising temperatures, changes in precipitation, and increased lightning strikes are leading to ever-larger wildfires in the northern forests of Alaska, Canada, and Siberia, with potentially severe ecological consequences.
There are real solutions being modeled out there and we need to remove the political obstacles and financial shackles that keep them from being implemented at the scale that will provide real benefit to people and planet.
The biggest illusion that we are living in, is how we think about these kinds of natural disasters. The California drought and wildfires are in many ways human induced to the scale that we are feeling them. Yes, I said it, the scale of these disasters are more human made than they are natural.
The U.S. Forest Service is spending so much of its money fighting fires that it’s struggling to keep our national forests healthy.
One of the largest wildfires in California’s history has burned through nearly 134,000 acres near Yosemite National Park and, now on its tenth day, is threatening the San Francisco Bay area’s water and power supplies.
“We never imagined we would be on a fire of a half million acres in the lower 48,” said Oltrogge. “Now they’re becoming commonplace.”
From North America to Siberia, rising temperatures and drier woodlands are leading to a longer burning season and a significant increase in forest fires. Scientists warn that this trend is expected continue in the years ahead.