After receiving twelve hours of solar energy every day, the Serengeti grasslands become a tinderbox, just waiting to be lit.
The vast majority of the African fires currently burning seem to be in grasslands, in exactly the places we expect to see fires at this time of year. These fires are usually lit by cattle farmers as part of their traditional management of the savannahs where their animals graze. Some fires are started to stimulate new growth of nutritious grass for their animals, others are used to control the numbers of parasitic ticks or manage the growth of thorny scrub.
Raging fires throughout the U.S. and Australia over the past year have put vulnerable species at risk. But not all blazes are devastating—in fact, fire can promote biodiversity. In grasslands, fires prevent trees and roots from taking hold. This allows grazing animals the space and vegetation they need to thrive. As the pattern of wildfires changes, a new review in Science outlines effective ways to let natural fires burn, while preventing out-of-control blazes. Watch to learn how a few of these techniques have been applied around the world.
The Almeda fire left a path of destruction as it tore through the Rogue Valley in southern Oregon. About 24 hours after it started, an estimated 2,350 homes had been left in ashes. We used satellite images, videos and social media posts to track what happened.
Nearly 3.5 million acres of land have burned in California, making this the largest wildfire season recorded in the state’s history – and it’s only September. Fires are still raging up the entire west coast, air quality remains unhealthy, and entire forests have been decimated.
Our relationship with forests and fire is changing and will play a big role in how forests evolve.
Plus, how colleges are reopening without a surge in infections.
And, with the start of the Jewish New Year, synagogue High Holy Day services are going virtual.
Guests: Axios’ Bryan Walsh, Alison Snyder, and Erica Pandey and Benjy Renton, senior at Middlebury College.
Health experts are warning that with Labor Day celebrations in full swing, the US could see another COVID-19 spike. Also, rescue operations continue after a record heat wave in California intensifies wildfires trapping campers in the Sierra National Forest this weekend. And, Beirut’s search for survivors ends as the country continues to recover one month after a massive blast tore through the city.
Global satellite data indicate wildfires are becoming bigger and more intense. WSJ talks with NASA’s Doug Morton to understand the science behind what’s making the planet more flammable and making fires harder to control.