What the media won’t tell you about … Wildfires

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What the IPCC really says, trend data and the complexities of adaptation

(The Honest Broker) Wildfire, common to many healthy ecosystems, is a particularly challenging problem for society because of its impacts on property and health. It is also challenging because people like to locate themselves in fire-prone places and do things that ignite fires. We have learned through hard experience that complete suppression of wildfire is not the best policy — despite what Smokey Bear says — as it can actually lead to even greater and more harmful wildfire events. These dynamics together make wildfire a challenging issue for policy.

This week, wildfire smoke from fires in Canada have drifted south along the eastern seaboard of the United States, affecting New York City and Washington, DC, and correspondingly capturing a lot of media attention. The event should offer a teachable moment on the complexities of climate and the challenges of adapting to a volatile world.

With this post I discuss some of the aspects of wildfires that I see as missing in the public discussion. I start with…

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