Year of the Forest Fire – The New York Times

The American West is burning faster than it has for a decade. New Mexico has been battling its two largest wildfires in history for more than a month. About 3 million acres of land in the United States – almost the size of Connecticut – have already burned this year. And since summer begins tomorrow and there is already a widespread heat wave, the burn is likely to get worse.

Climate change has created a worrying reality, environmentalists and foresters said: Forest fire seasons have become years of forest fires starting earlier in the spring and sometimes it continues into the following winter.

Consider the number of forest fires that have occurred between January and mid-June in the last 10 years:

These fires also became more severe. California has experienced two of its biggest in two years: Dixie’s fire in 2021 it burned almost a million acres, and the fire in the complex in August 2020 exceeded one million acres.

More frequent and intense fires are dangerous. They emit smoke that can damage the lungs of people who live hundreds or even thousands of miles away. They burn homes, crops and even centuries-old culturescausing tens of billions of dollars in economic damage.

Today’s newsletter will explain why these large fires have become so widespread and what experts say is needed to reverse the trend.

Forest fires have been burning the West for thousands of years, but they have become much more dangerous due to human activity.

People are causing most of the forest fires (about 96 percent so far this year) and people have also worked hard to fight them, just to prepare the table for more fires. Paul Hesberg, an environmentalist with the U.S. Forest Service, explained that the nation’s well-intentioned firefighting strategy over the past century has created an unnatural accumulation of materials that act as forest fires: twigs, grass, shrubs, trees, even houses. .

Humans have also spent decades emitting global warming gases into the atmosphere, rapidly warming the climate and helping forest fires get hotter, bigger and faster.

Fires at the beginning of the year are becoming more common as the American West has dried up and temperatures rose. Winters are warmer, providing less relief from the heat.

On mountain tops, winter snow, which can slow forest fires by adding moisture to forest wood, begins to melt earlier in the spring and faster. Strong winds further dried the ignition and accelerated the movement of forest fires.

The years of warming, droughts and strong winds in the West have worked in tandem with the accumulation of forest fuel, Hesberg said, to “adjust the dining room table to the current situation”.

Removing the fuel source of a forest fire some time ago is the main way to prevent or reduce its impact, experts said. One of the possibilities is manual thinning of the forests with saws, rakes and bulldozers. Another is prescribed fires, which are deliberately set to devour dead bushes and small trees of much lower intensity.

These two methods can also be combined, but both require planning and technical know-how. Manual thinning can be slow and time consuming. Prescribed burns must occur under appropriate weather and fuel conditions (has become less common than climate change) to limit the risk of burning out of control.

And there are challenges to public confidence. Locals, who are afraid of air full of smoke, are struggling with more prescribed burns. And from time to time, as happened in New Mexico this springintermittent winds can drive a prescribed fire beyond the control of firefighters.

Experts agree that forest fire management needs to be much more proactive. They offer a number of ideas: easing restrictions on prescribed burns, increasing prescribed burns, or even letting forest fires burn for a while without endangering life or livelihood.

Experts acknowledge that their proposals will have to overcome residents’ fears and political challenges. But they warn that if nothing is done and landscapes full of trees, leaves and shrubs are not treated, forest fires will only get worse.

If you think you don’t like roses, look at different types, especially if you’ve only had very pale roses that are in vogue, or you’ve tried ones that look tasteless or too sweet. “You may find that you’ve actually missed something that’s been delicious all these years,” says Eric.

Go to a serious, independent wine shop and ask for help, he says. “What is imperative is to actually talk to people in the store who tend to be really interested in what they sell and who want to make people happy.”

And here is Eric’s election 12 exclusive roses from $ 13 to $ 35. – Natasha Frost, author of briefings

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