December 12, 2020
In the 2020 year in review issue of the Wall Street Journal, author Stephen Pyne explains why 2020 brought a better understanding of the causes of wildfires and what needs to be done. He writes:
“Surely the dominant story of 2020 will be the coronavirus pandemic and the economic upheaval and political fallout it caused. But the enduring images of the year may well be of another contagion—the fires that splashed across the globe and the havoc they wrought where humanity’s and nature’s economies met.
The fires seemed everywhere, partly because of extensive media coverage—fires are visually graphic and guaranteed to grab attention. But this wasn’t hype. The fires were real. Many occurred in the usual places—like California, African savannas and Australia—that are built to burn, though this time they came with performance enhancers. Few of such fires were individually unprecedented, but they were so many they swarmed, and they came in serial outbreaks. In their ensemble they qualify as epic.”