Every morning, wildland firefighters gather around radios to listen to the weather forecast. This summer, I was part of the team that fought a fire near Big Sur. When I heard the staticky voice announce that temperatures would exceed 105 degrees, the forecast sounded like a death sentence.
Across California, unprecedented heat has made wildfires more difficult to predict and control. During the heat wave in Big Sur, the fire, which had been 40% contained at 30,000 acres, tripled in size in a matter of days. It has now burned nearly 125,000 acres.
Fighting wildfire involves hauling heavy packs and tools up mountains. Record heat makes this work more difficult and
(Bloomberg) — Climate change is fueling megafires that can’t be extinguished with helicopters and fire trucks, so Europe’s most fire-prone region has come up with new ways to protect forests. In many parts of the continent, countries are letting smaller fires burn, using historic data to model future fire behavior and offering subsidies to encourage land owners and people living close to forests to manage them properly. Over the long term, the goal is to turn forest management into a profitable activity that can also revive rural economies.
“There are a number of different tools and the secret is combining all that’s available,” said Alexander Held, a wildfire expert at the European Forest Institute, a research center set up by European Union members.
Mediterranean nations spent around 200 billion euros ($237 billion) in the past two decades to build up some of the world’s largest, best-equipped firefighting forces.