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California Wildfires, Air Quality and Risk

Wildfire

A fire in Simi Valley rages on. Just one of the many fires engulfing California forests and towns.

US Air Force/Dennis W. Goff
Nov 19, 2018

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In the Media

As the death toll from Northern California's Camp Fire continues to climb and smoke from fires in the north and south raises health concerns, Stanford researchers are available to shed light on wildfire-related issues including fire management and prevention, air quality, climate change, liability and more. Stanford News Service has produced an overview on recent research, analysis and commentary, and related media coverage is captured below.

Media Tip Sheet

Stanford experts on wildfire-related topics 

Media Coverage

California, Trump eye logging to fight wildfire as scientists point to climate change and housing sprawl - San Diego Union Trbune interviews Noah Diffenbaugh, Nov. 25, 2018

What needs to change to address the crisis of worsening wildfires? - KALW interviews Michael Wara, Nov. 21, 2018 

What Policymakers Are Trying To Do About Wildfires As They Become More Destructive - NPR interviews Michael Wara, Nov. 19, 2018

Deadly California fires prompt bold thinking about prevention: Shelters, strict zoning, buyouts - LA Times interviews Bruce Cain, Nov. 19, 2018

California fire: PG&E canceled planned power shut-off in Paradise area just before Camp fire broke out - LA Times interviews Michael Wara, Nov. 17, 2018

Wildfires Are Threatening California's Renewables Strategy - Yahoo! News quotes Michael Wara, Nov. 17, 2018

PG&E electric rates: Utility asked to hike bills over California fires - CBS News interviews Michael Wara, Nov. 16, 2018

California to Conduct Wide-Ranging Review of PG&E, Including Possible Breakup - Wall Street Journal interviews Michael Wara, Nov. 15, 2018

Utility asked last month to hike bills over California fires - The Journal Times interviews Michael Wara, Nov. 15, 2018

California needs to reinvent its fire policies, or the death and destruction will go onMIT Technology Review interviews Michael Wara, Nov. 15, 2018

Masks Make a Difference in Wildfires U.S. News & World Report quotes Mary Prunicki, Nov. 15, 2018

Air quality worsens and is expected to last for at least five more days - KTVU Fox News interviews Dr. Kari Nadeau, Nov. 15, 2018

Should California Deliberately Set Its Forests On Fire? Some Experts Say Prescribed Burns Could Prevent Disaster - Capital Public Radio interviews Jesse Miller, Nov. 15, 2018

Deadliest wildfire in California's history portends what's to come - Yahoo! News interviews Noah Diffenbaugh, Nov. 14, 2018

Wildfire Smoke, Air Quality and Your Health - KQED Forum interviews Sharon Chinthrajah, Nov. 14, 2018

How Climate Change Helped Create California's 'Fire Siege' - KQED Foruminterviews RELP/Diffenbaugh Lab Alumnus Daniel Swain, Nov. 14, 2018

PG&E debt drawdown raises concerns of potential bankruptcy due to fire costs - Utility Dive interviews Michael Wara, Nov. 14, 2018 

Is being indoors really enough to save you from wildfire smoke? - SF Chronicle quotes Kari Nadeau, professor of pediatrics and of medicine, Nov. 13, 2018

“The New Abnormal”: Wildfires and Climate Change - NPR: 1Ainterviews Noah Diffenbaugh, Nov. 13, 2018

California's fire dilemma: Rebuild knowing same homes will burn again? - USA Todayinterviews Alice HillNov. 13, 2018

Trump’s overly simplistic and false claim on California’s wildfires - Politifact interviews Jesse Miller,Nov. 12, 2018

California's wildfires: 'Everybody is at risk' from smoky conditions, experts say - The Mercury News interviews with Sharon Chinthrajah, Nov. 11, 2018

PG&E renews push for relief from ‘17 fire costs - The Press Democratinterviews Michael Wara, Nov. 6, 2018

Insurers See Smoldering Risk after California's Worst Wildfire - Scientific American interviews Michael Wara, Oct. 16, 2018

Natural disaster is inevitable in California. And it can define a governor's legacy - LA Timesinterviews Bruce Cain, Sept. 30, 2018

 

Recent Stanford Research, Events & Discussion Related to Wildfire Risk 

USFS

Wildfires destroying California bring questions about health and climate - Stanford faculty weigh in on the health effects and increasing frequency of fires.

Diverse Forests are Stronger Against Drought - Diversity is strength among forests. Research by Stanford's Alexandra Konings and others shows the most resilient forests are made up of trees that have a wider variety of rates for water moving up from the soil.

The West is Going up in Flames - In op-ed for Scientific American, Stanford's Rob Jackson explains how the Administration's proposal to rollback fuel efficientcy standards and gut the Clean Power Plan would make matters worse for fighting climate change and fires in the West.

Stanford Expert Discusses Approval of Millions in Electrification Investments Amid Uncertain Financial Future for California Utilities - Stanford Michael Wara discusses approval of millions in electrification investments amid uncertain financial future for California utilities given potential responsibility for wildfires.

Are Forest Managers Robbing the Future to Pay for Present-Day Fires? - In a blog post at ...& the West,Felicity Barringer explains that  as fires burn with greater magnitude and frequency, the cost of fighting them is increasingly borne by money earmarked for prevention.

Challenges and Possibilities in Wildfire Management - As devastating wildfires have become a new reality in the American West, this panel at the Eccles Family Rural West Conference discussed the challenges and new possibilities of managing both their impact and our response.

Moving Beyond "Fire Bad" — Wildfire, forest management, and its impact on healthy watersheds - Stanford scholar Ben Bryant explains how decisions aimed at managing fire in forest landscapes affect water flows for people and nature. 

More Frequent Fires Reduce Soil Carbon and Fertility, Slowing the Regrowth of Plants - Research from Stanford's Adam Pellegrini and Rob Jackson shows long-term effects of repeated fires on soils have significant impacts on carbon storage not previously considered in global greenhouse gas estimates.

Fire and the Future of California Forests - Stanford scholars joined California State Assemblymember Dr. Bill Quirk in Sacramento to discuss how longer, more frequent droughts, higher temperatures, and unpredictable winds from climate change all factor in to the developing landscape of fire modeling and resiliency in California.

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