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A year of wildfires – The New York Times


The American West is burning faster than it has been in a decade. New Mexico has faced the two largest wildfires on record in more than a month. About 3 million acres of US land – roughly the size of Connecticut – have burned this year. And with summer starting tomorrow and a widespread heatwave already in place, the burning is likely to get worse.

Climate change has created a troubling reality, ecologists and foresters say: Wildfire seasons have turned into bushfire years, starting earlier in the spring and sometimes extended to next winter.

Consider the number of wildfires that have occurred between January and mid-June over the past 10 years:

These fires also become more severe. California has experienced two of the largest regions over the past two years: Flame Dixie in 2021 burned nearly one million acres, and the August Complex fire in 2020 surpassed one million acres.

More frequent and intense fires are very dangerous. They emit smoke that can damage the lungs of people who live hundreds or even thousands of miles away. They burn houses, crops and even age-old culturecausing economic losses of tens of billions of dollars.

Today’s newsletter explains why these big bangs are so common and what experts say is needed to reverse the trend.

Wildfires have burned the West for thousands of years, but they have become much more dangerous due to human activity.

Humans cause the majority of wildfires (about 96% so far this year), and humans have also gone to great lengths to fight them, just to create the opportunity for more fires. Paul Hessburg, an ecologist with the US Forest Service, explains that the nation’s well-intentioned strategy of extinguishing fires over the past century has created an unnatural accumulation of debris. Active materials like burning forests: branches, grass, shrubs, trees, even houses. .

Humans have also spent decades emitting planet-warming gases into the atmosphere, rapidly warming the climate and helping wildfires get hotter, bigger, and faster.

Fires at the beginning of the year are becoming more and more common as The American West has dried up and the temperature went up. Winters are warmer, helping to reduce the heat.

On the mountaintops, winter snow, which can slow wildfires by adding moisture to the woods, has begun to melt earlier in the spring and faster. High winds have continued to dry out the trees and speed the fire’s movement.

Years of warming, drought and high winds in the West have impacted the accumulation of forest fuels to “set the table for our current situation,” Hessburg said.

Removing a wildfire’s fuel source ahead of time is the main way to prevent or reduce its impact, experts say. One option is manual pruning with a saw, rake, and bulldozer. Another type is a regulated fire, which is intentionally burned to consume dead brooms and small trees at a much lower intensity.

These two methods can also be combined, but both require planning and technical know-how. Manual thinning can be slow and laborious. The specified combustion must occur under suitable weather and fuel conditions (becoming rarer due to climate change) to limit the risk of uncontrolled burns.

And there are challenges with public trust. Local residents who fear the smoky air has resisted burning according to regulations. And sometimes, as it happened in New Mexico this springErratic winds can push a regulated fire out of the firefighter’s control.

Experts agree that bushfire management needs to be much more proactive. They offer several ideas: loosening regulatory burn restrictions, increasing regulated burning, or even leaving wildfires for a time when they don’t threaten lives or livelihoods.

Experts admit that their proposals will have to overcome residents’ fears and political challenges. But they warn that if nothing is done and landscapes filled with trees, leaves and bushes are left untreated, wildfires will only get worse.

If you think you don’t like pastel pinks, explore different varieties, especially if you’re just into the pale pinks that are in vogue, or taste those that seem bland or overly sweet. “You can see, actually, over the years you’ve been missing something pretty good,” says Eric.

He said: “Go to a serious, independently owned liquor store and ask for help. “It’s imperative to really talk to the people at the store, who tend to be really interested in what they sell and who want to make people happy.”

And here are Eric’s picks of 12 special pink colors from $13 to $35. – Natasha Frost, a writer on Briefings



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