California Needs Forests to Fight Climate Change, but They Are Going up in Smoke | Top News

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – California’s record wildfires pose a problem for the state’s plan to use its forests to help offset climate-warming emissions.

It is unclear how much California’s plan for becoming carbon-neutral by 2045 depends on its forests. But as climate change fuels increasingly frequent and intense blazes, any plan that relies on keeping forests healthy could be frustrated.

California’s climate-change agenda is among the most ambitious in the United States, but thanks to wildfires, forests are “part of the problem, not part of the solution,” Edie Chang, a deputy executive director at the California Air Resources Board (CARB), told Reuters.

With global efforts to cut the use of fossil fuels falling short of what is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change, scientists believe capturing climate pollution already emitted will be necessary to limit warming. Maintaining the health of forests, which suck up and store carbon,

Read More
Read More

On the front lines of California’s fires: Smoke, chaos and comrades in arms

A Carson Hotshot with a wildfire in the background

A member of the Carson Hotshots works a fireline at the Slater Fire in Northern California.


USFS/Carson Hotshots/H. Kligman

With unprecedented fires burning millions of acres across the Western US the past few months, firefighters and other personnel from across the country have responded to the call to help contain the devastating blazes. 

Northern New Mexico, where I live, has managed to escape the worst of this horrifying fire season, with just a handful of smaller wildfires. That has freed up firefighting crews like the National Forest Service’s Carson Hotshots, based in Taos, to help on those larger fires. 

The Hotshots are an elite firefighting crew specializing in wildfire suppression and emergency situations. The team’s standards for physical fitness and training are intense. I’ve occasionally marveled when mountain biking around Taos with members of the crew, who carry on conversations as we pedal up steep trails and I struggle to

Read More
Read More

NASA observations aid efforts to track California’s wildfire smoke from space

NASA observations aid efforts to track California's wildfire smoke from space
On Aug. 31, MODIS detected several hotspots in the August Complex Fire in California, as well as several other actively burning areas to the north, west, and south. Credit: R. Kahn/K.J. Noyes/NASA Goddard/A. Nastan/JPL Caltech/J. Tackett/J-P Vernier/NASA Langley

Wildfires have been burning across the state of California for weeks—some of them becoming larger complexes as different fires merge. One of those was the August Complex Fire, which reportedly began as 37 distinct fires caused by lightning strikes in northern California on Aug. 17. That fire is still burning over a month later.


The August Complex Fire and others this fire season have been sending far-reaching plumes of wildfire smoke into the atmosphere that worsen air quality in California and beyond. Predicting where that smoke will travel and how bad the air will be downwind is a challenge, but Earth-observing satellites can help. Included among them are NASA’s Terra and CALIPSO

Read More
Read More

Smoke traveling from western wildfires spreads bad air quality across the US

Devastating wildfires across the Western United States has sent smoke traveling across the country and even into Europe. With that smoke comes bad air quality, not just for those near the fires, but for the entire continent.

Satelite images from NASA shows smoke thousands of miles from the fire. NASA says the smoke contains aerosols, a combination of particles which carry harmful things into the air and into your lungs. All the things that are burning, trees, grass, brush, homes, are turned into soot and absorbed by our lungs.

“This pollution, nobody knows how badly it will be affected but if we extrapolate from previous air quality it’s not good,” Dr. Malik Baz, the medical director at the Baz Allergy and Sius Center, said. “The long-term side effect, we’ll see many, many years down the line.”

Baz’s operates 13 locations in California, all of them are busy as Central California

Read More
Read More

Thermal Imaging Technology Helps Firefighters See Through Smoke

a person uses a video game-like controller to maneuver a camera's view on a computer screen. the person is doing it from inside the cabin of a plane
Heat from Oregon wildfires are detected and visualized on a monitor inside a plane using infrared thermal imaging technology. Credit: Kate Kaye

Wildfires are still raging out west, and states are using anything in their arsenals to fight back. This year, for the first time, Oregon’s Department of Forestry is using thermal imaging technology to see through thick smoke to the fires below. The state’s firefighting teams say this technology has been game-changing during this devastating wildfire season.

a small black camera attached to the wing of a plane
A thermal imaging camera device installed beneath a plane. Read a feature by Kaye from GeekWire. Credit: Kate Kaye

Thermal imaging technology uses infrared waves to detect heat, and then presents that information visually. These graphics make it possible to see exactly where the fire is moving, which areas are the hottest, and how much is actually burning. This information is crucial to firefighting teams on the ground, who can know with

Read More
Read More

COVID-19 disinfectants, wildfire smoke and mold endanger chemically susceptible individuals; new brief inventory can help identify those at risk — ScienceDaily

Intolerances to chemicals, foods and drugs impact 8%-33% of individuals, studies suggest, yet few people are screened for it at their doctors’ offices.

To address this and increase awareness of chemical intolerance, researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) developed and validated a three-question, yes-or-no survey that primary care providers, allergists, dermatologists and other specialists can incorporate into patient visits. The survey, called the Brief Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory, or BREESI, can also be used by researchers and patient groups, and for epidemiological studies in exposed populations.

Sept. 16 in the journal PLOS ONE, the researchers reported that the BREESI accurately predicts scores on a comprehensive 50-question survey called the Quick Environmental Exposure and Sensitivity Inventory (QEESI). The QEESI, which the UT Health San Antonio group introduced online in 2014, is available at no charge to patients and clinicians.

Read More
Read More