wildfire

Washington State Department of Natural Resources / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Bureau of Land Management is proposing 11,000 miles of fuel breaks throughout our region to help combat the spread of wildfires.

Bree Zender, KUNR Public Radio

Bree Zender

Sierra Nevada snowpacks have been melting faster and faster in recent years, fueled by the effects of climate change. But a new study says that forest fires are also fueling this trend.

Climate change is becoming a reality. According to NASA, over the next century, our planet is likely going to see some pretty significant changes. We’re already seeing rising sea levels due to the melting ice caps, along with storms that are stronger and more frequent.

For people living in the American West, the snowpack is becoming less predictable. Summers are longer and hotter, and severe droughts are pushing us to become more reliant on water reserves. Perhaps most notably, those hotter, drier summers are resulting in more and more wildfires.

Smoke and burned trees from a wildfire
Photo by Joanne Francis on Unsplash

The ecosystems of the American West are under threat from climate change. Analysis by the Bureau of Land Management says areas like the Great Basin are particularly susceptible, with invasive species, increasing temperatures and years of extreme drought, putting the country’s largest desert at risk. 

Bree Zender

The 35-day government shutdown in late December and January halted federal wildfire preparations throughout the country. For the Sierra Nevada, KUNR found that there were key burn opportunities that were missed in that period. In some areas, prescribed burn opportunities won’t happen until later in the spring, because there’s simply too much snow. 

Bree Zender

California Governor Gavin Newsom recently declared a state of emergency and called on the National Guard to speed up forest management ahead of the upcoming wildfire season.

In the Sierra Nevada, federal forest management officials are behind on prescribed fire treatments due to the 35-day partial federal government shutdown, which was followed by a historic snowfall. 

Bree Zender

Hundreds of researchers agree that climate change is going to alter the way we will live in the coming decades. Every few years, the U.S. Global Change Research Program releases a National Climate Assessment, a comprehensive look into how the country's climate has changed, and what could be ahead.

Photo by Edward Olsen, courtesy of Special Collections Department of the University of Nevada, Reno Libraries

Every season, wildfires pose a threat to lives and property throughout our region. And those on the front lines of fighting those fires are often in the greatest danger of all. Historian Alicia Barber looks back at the history of fighting wildland fires in this segment of “Time & Place.”

Bree Zender


A University of Nevada, Reno study has been looking into a new way to restore land that's been burned by wildfire to prevent the land from being charred again. 

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