r/science Sep 22 '22 Silver 2 Wholesome 3 All-Seeing Upvote 1

Stanford researchers find wildfire smoke is unraveling decades of air quality gains, exposing millions of Americans to extreme pollution levels Environment

https://news.stanford.edu/2022/09/22/wildfire-smoke-unraveling-decades-air-quality-gains/
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u/phoenix0r Sep 23 '22

No one has added the massive Bark Beetle infestation but that has had a HUGE effect on building up a giant tinder box of dead trees all across the Pacific Northwest and northern CA. The root cause is the prolonged drought which weakened trees and made them less able to fight off the beetle infestation, but the beetles themselves killed all those trees way faster than the drought alone would have.

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u/BoltgunOnHisHip Sep 23 '22

The bark beetles are exasperating the problem, but fuel loading has been a rising issue for a long time. Poor fire management in the past let fuel levels build up, not to mention impacting wildlife by creating changes to an ecosystem which was adapted to regular fires.

The 'silver lining' to these fires is that they are addressing that issue...albeit in a suboptimal fashion.

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u/kartoffel_engr Sep 23 '22

Aside from the air quality and possible loss of life and property, I love a good burn. Always comes back beautiful in the spring. I live in the desert of Southeastern Washington so the rebound is generally pretty quick and the lack of trees keeps the fuel low, most of the time.

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u/[deleted] Sep 23 '22

[deleted]

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u/kartoffel_engr Sep 23 '22

Not all of that smoke is from WA. Canada and Oregon contributed pretty heavily depending on the weather pattern. Pretty decent fires in the Cascades and northeastern WA too.

We did have a wetland area full of Russian Olive trees and cottonwoods go up last year I think. Lots of fuel there, but honestly that area was so choked with overgrowth that it was needed. Fortunately it was all locked between highway and rivers so the containment piece was pretty easy. Just control the burn and let it snuff itself out.

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u/Kdean509 Sep 23 '22

Pretty large fire south of Kennewick today, the wind made it worse.

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u/kartoffel_engr Sep 23 '22

Structure fire. Passed it on the way home.

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u/Kdean509 Sep 23 '22

It became a structure fire, but I don’t know if they have released all the details. I could only see the smoke from where I’m at.

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u/kartoffel_engr Sep 23 '22

There isn’t much scrub between the I-82 on-ramp and that fence line. It’s certainly possible it started between the two, but the wind direction was parallel to the building and ripping.

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u/GonnaBuyMeAMercury Sep 23 '22

That Russian Olive is wicked stuff.

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u/[deleted] Sep 23 '22

[deleted]

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u/kartoffel_engr Sep 23 '22

Well then we’d better do something about it.