UW News

wildfires


November 2, 2020

Flying through wildfire smoke plumes could improve smoke forecasts

propeller with smoke plume in background

The biggest study yet of West Coast wildfire plumes shows how a smoke plume’s chemistry changes over time. Results suggest current models may not accurately predict the air quality downwind of a wildfire.


September 15, 2020

Wildfire smoke disproportionally harms poorer communities, remedies necessary to address health inequity

downtown seattle in smoke

With most of the Northwest blanketed by wildfire smoke, public officials and health experts suggest staying inside as much as possible to reduce exposure to the significant health risks of wildfire smoke. However, inequity in our communities means not every home provides great protection and many workers in disadvantaged populations can’t afford to stay home,…


Video: How to make your own home air purifier

With wildfire smoke blanketing most of the western U.S. this week, public health experts suggest staying inside as much as possible to protect yourself from smoky air. If you don’t have air conditioning or an air purifier in your home, it’s possible to make your own inexpensive purifier. Here’s how.


September 3, 2020

Fighting fire with fire in the Methow Valley

Agencies that are well practiced in putting out wildfires are now learning a new skill: how to set the spark and fan the flames. That’s the case for the state Department of Natural Resources, which is starting to use prescribed burning as part of its strategy for fighting wildfires.


July 29, 2020

Expert FAQ: Wildfires in the Pacific Northwest during the COVID-19 pandemic

forest on fire

The University of Washington has a long history of leading research into the impacts of wildfires from an ecological and health perspective. We worked with two experts to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, including the ways that the pandemic is increasing our community’s vulnerability to extreme wildfire events in the region.


April 1, 2020

Study synthesizes what climate change means for Northwest wildfires

bare trunks

A University of Washington study, published this winter in Fire Ecology, takes a big-picture look at what climate change could mean for wildfires in the Northwest, considering Washington, Oregon, Idaho and western Montana.


February 27, 2020

Thinning, prescribed burns protected forests during the massive Carlton Complex wildfire

treated forest

In the first major study following the devastating Carlton Complex fire in north central Washington, researchers from the University of Washington and U.S. Forest Service found that previous tree thinning and prescribed burns helped forests survive the fire.


December 4, 2019

Better wildfire and smoke predictions with new vegetation database

ponderosa pine forest

Researchers from the University of Washington and Michigan Technological University have created the first comprehensive database of all the wildfire fuels that have been measured across North America. Ultimately, it can help scientists make more informed decisions about fire and smoke situations.


August 23, 2019

Video: Wildfires west of the Cascades: Rare, but large and severe

More than 99 percent of wildfires in the last 40 years have been east of the Cascade Crest. But evidence that suggests Western Washington also has a history of large wildfires, each burning hundreds of thousands of acres. We might not be familiar with them, because most happened centuries ago.


November 2, 2018

Racial, ethnic minorities face greater vulnerability to wildfires

firefighting in oregon 2018

Massive wildfires, which may be getting more intense due to climate change and a long history of fire-suppression policies, have strikingly unequal effects on minority communities, a new study shows.


August 13, 2018

UW forest biologist on wildfires in the Pacific Northwest, California

firefighting in oregon 2018

Forest biologist and University of Washington professor David Peterson explains which natural materials burn hotter and faster during a wildfire, what homeowners can do to protect their properties and how climate change is impacting the fire season.


October 11, 2016

Morel mushrooms pop up, cluster together after wildfires

morel mushroom

A new study finds that morel mushrooms cluster in groups across burned areas in the forest after a wildfire. It’s one of the only scientific studies to actually quantify morels’ abundance after a fire.


September 17, 2015

Scientists: Let wildfires burn when prudent

forest fire burning

In a commentary published Sept. 17 in Science, a team of scientists, including University of Washington researchers Jerry Franklin and James Agee, describe unique opportunities and provide suggestions to reform forest fire management to reduce the impacts of inevitable wildfires in future years.


November 4, 2013

More wildfires, earlier snowmelt, coastal threats top Northwest climate risks

mountain and snow

A new comprehensive report co-authored by the UW’s Climate Impacts Group looks at what climate change will mean for Washington, Oregon and Idaho.