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A New Form of ? Meet Incarcerated Firefighters Battling ’s For $1 An Hour…
Slavery  Wildfires  California  from twitter
7 days ago by kitoconnell
Generate - September 10, 2018 - Axios
Why now: "The massive fires that we're dealing with in California — I don't need to debate whether that's a climate issue," Tyson said, adding that climate change has direct and indirect effects on people's health.
CaliforniaDrought  wildfires  climatePolicy 
9 days ago by huntercutting
Decreasing fire season precipitation increased recent western US forest wildfire activity | PNAS
Holden et al 2018: Wildfires have profound impacts on forested ecosystems and rural communities. Increases in area burned by wildfires in the western United States have been widely attributed to reduced winter snowpack or increased summer temperatures. Trends in precipitation have previously been dismissed as has their feedback to regional temperature trends. We show that declines in summer precipitation and wetting rain days have likely been a primary driver of increases in wildfire area burned. Understanding the climatic drivers of fire activity is important for informing forest management. Our findings are consistent with future climate projections, which predict further decreases in summer precipitation and longer dry periods between rain events across much of the West.

Western United States wildfire increases have been generally attributed to warming temperatures, either through effects on winter snowpack or summer evaporation. However, near-surface air temperature and evaporative demand are strongly influenced by moisture availability and these interactions and their role in regulating fire activity have never been fully explored. Here we show that previously unnoted declines in summer precipitation from 1979 to 2016 across 31–45% of the forested areas in the western United States are strongly associated with burned area variations. The number of wetting rain days (WRD; days with precipitation ≥2.54 mm) during the fire season partially regulated the temperature and subsequent vapor pressure deficit (VPD) previously implicated as a primary driver of annual wildfire area burned. We use path analysis to decompose the relative influence of declining snowpack, rising temperatures, and declining precipitation on observed fire activity increases. After accounting for interactions, the net effect of WRD anomalies on wildfire area burned was more than 2.5 times greater than the net effect of VPD, and both the WRD and VPD effects were substantially greater than the influence of winter snowpack. These results suggest that precipitation during the fire season exerts the strongest control on burned area either directly through its wetting effects or indirectly through feedbacks to VPD. If these trends persist, decreases in summer precipitation and the associated summertime aridity increases would lead to more burned area across the western United States with far-reaching ecological and socioeconomic impacts.
wildfires  Climate_Science_study  attribution 
13 days ago by huntercutting
AP Explains: Driven by climate change, fire reshapes US West
The time interval between wildfires in some locations is getting shorter, even as there’s less moisture to help trees regrow. That means some forests burn, then never grow back, converting instead into shrub land more adapted to frequent fire, said Jonathan Thompson, a senior ecologist at Harvard University.

“They get stuck in this trap of repeated, high-severity fire,” Thompson said. “Through time we’ll see the California shrub land shifting north.”
wildfires  climate_science_primer 
16 days ago by huntercutting
An explosive wildfire season drives firefighting costs to record levels
“We’re seeing sieges happen more frequently,” and fire seasons are growing longer, said Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott.

The legislature in 2011 imposed an annual fee on homeowners in areas protected by Cal Fire, but that paid for fire prevention activities, such as brush clearance inspections and hazardous fuel reduction, not firefighting operations.

And the $150 per-home fee, which raised about $74 million a year, proved so contentious that lawmakers this year suspended it until 2031.

In its place, Cal Fire is getting prevention money from the state’s cap and trade program, in which companies that emit greenhouse gases buy pollution credits.
CS  wildfires  California  CaliforniaFires2017 
19 days ago by huntercutting
Wildfire Risk Doesn’t Douse Housing Demand | News Center | University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Aug 2018: Demand for real estate rebounds in high-risk areas within one to two years of a wildfire, UNLV study finds. Here’s what the research may mean for homeowners in California and beyond.
climate_impact_reporting  wildfires  Climate_Science_study 
21 days ago by huntercutting

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