Wildfires can burn millions of acres of land at shockingly fast speeds, consuming everything in their paths. These rolling flames travel up to 14 miles an hour, which converts to about a four-minute-mile pace, and can overtake the average human in minutes.
Wildfires devastate anything in their path. And while they are difficult to stop, there are many steps people can take before, during, and after wildfires to limit their damage.
Scientists think that global warming may already be influencing fire seasons.
Declining rainfall, rising temperatures and invasive species have left the islands more susceptible to wildfires.
Fire is part of ecosystems in much of the world, so societies must learn to live with it. But key issues are still poorly understood. What is the right degree of fire management to decrease the impact of catastrophic fires? What is the most efficient way to protect the wildland-urban interface – the area where houses meet or intermingle with undeveloped wildland vegetation? And what is the best way to evacuate?
The Maui disaster has already become the deadliest American fire in over a century, surpassing the Camp fire, which incinerated 18,000 homes and structures and claimed 85 lives, with most of the damage coming in the first few hours of the fire.
The risks of massive wildfires are growing, but we have tools to curb them.
How an ancient American Indian practice can reduce the risk of massive wildfires.
For many people, the smoke is worse than any other time in recent memory. And there are concerns about whether this might simply be the new normal — if people in the central and eastern U.S. should simply get used to the idea that their summers will be marked by weeks of smoke rather than blue skies and clear sunshine.
The purpose of this article is to show that progress in the American Fire Service has been based upon a series of historic catastrophes. In the wake of each succeeding disaster, improvements were made.
Unlike many natural disasters, most wildfires are caused by people—and can be prevented by people, too. Meteorologists are not yet able to forecast wildfire outbreaks, so people in fire-prone areas should plan ahead and prepare to evacuate with little notice. Here are some tips on how to prevent wildfires and what to do if you're caught in the middle of one.
Wildfires can also create an increased burden on healthcare and public health systems. For example, wildfires near populated areas often necessitate large evacuations, requiring establishment of shelters, and treatment of individuals for injuries, smoke inhalation, and mental health impacts. Increased housing development in or near the wildland–urban interface has expanded over the last several decades, placing larger numbers of people at risk. As these development trends continue, at the same time that climate change worsens, population vulnerability to wildfires increases.
We fuel them, we build houses by them, we ignite them.
As wildfire trends worsen, it is increasingly important for communities in fire-prone regions to learn from past blazes and adapt to a more flammable future. Communities located in what researchers call “the wildland-urban interface” are due for tough conversations about the future.
19 firefighters lost their lives trying to control a blaze near Yarnell, Arizona—the highest death toll for firefighters battling a wildfire in this country since 1933. What went wrong? Is it time to reconsider our approach to fighting fire?
These violent infernos occur around the world and in most of the 50 states, but they are most common in the U.S. West, where heat, drought, and frequent thunderstorms create perfect wildfire conditions.
More than 34,000 people in the federal government work on controlling wildland fires, with many more at the state and local levels. They are a mix of full-time professionals, seasonal workers, volunteers, active-duty military, and even prison laborers. Unlike “structure” firefighters in cities, wildland firefighters spend much of their time either in remote wilderness, or where at the interface of wildlands with cities and suburbs...
The smoke that choked us this summer has become routine. There is no end in sight until we quit treating stroms such as Hurricane Harvey and fires such as the Tubbs Fire in Santa Rosa as natural. Then, we can together adapt to fight the climate change we helped cause.
So wildfires are on the rise. And wildfires are expected to get worse in the future — one survey of 16 climate models suggests that fire activity is expected to get more common in the western United States as global warming continues.
This season's fires are already uniquely deadly and devastating, and the trend-lines do not look good.
Over the years, researchers have tried unsuccessfully to measure the full health effects of wildfire smoke. The general consensus, based on hospital records, is that more smoke means more trips to the doctor for things like asthma, pneumonia, bronchitis, COPD, and heart failure.
The science of when to evacuate a community—and how—is still in its infancy.
Many of the most devastating wildfires in U.S. history ravaged western states. But others — including the 1871 Peshtigo Fire, the deadliest on record — have struck elsewhere, including in the Midwest.
Here's a look at some of the other tragedies on that list, and some lessons learned.
Human technology is responsible for more loss from fire than any other cause. But reducing fire’s impact will require changes to how people live, not just to the infrastructure that lets them do so.
A year after the Camp Fire nearly leveled Paradise, California, the money is drying up and a lawsuit rages. Can recovery efforts ever return a community to its old self?
In the past two decades, the number of Americans at risk of experiencing a wildfire has doubled. Learn what you need to do if one is near you.
Our mission is to promote learning in the wildland fire service by providing useful and relevant products and services that help to reveal the complexity and risk in the wildland fire environment.
More and more people make their homes in areas that are prone to wildfires. You can take steps to be ready for a wildfire and prepare your home and landscaping to reduce your risk. Learn how to protect yourself and your family from a wildfire, evacuate safely during a wildfire, and how to stay healthy when you return home.
The prevention of smoke injury is largely the prevention of fire but, if it does occur, then early warning is necessary. Smoke detectors save lives. An American study showed an 80% drop in fire related morbidity and mortality in a high-risk area...