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Wyo scientists study interplay of wildfire smoke and climate change

Initial response on the Mullen Fire when it was still contained in the Savage Run Wilderness. It has since grown to over 13k acres in three days. Photo: Inciweb WYOMING — For weeks last summer, southeast Wyoming residents woke each morning to smoke. Sometimes it was so thick it burned people’s eyes and lungs. Other times it felt like a strange haze, a gauze wrapped around the Laramie and Cheyenne valleys.

The Mullen Fire ultimately burned more than 176,000 acres in the Snowy Range, making it one of the largest, if not the largest, wildfire in the state in the past century. Over the border in Colorado, a series of fires — some historic — raged for months, consuming scores of buildings and hundreds of thousands of acres of carbon-absorbing trees. One complex of fires in northern California, meanwhile, burned an area larger than Rhode Island. Smoke from these fires and others poured into communities across America, blotting out the sun and serving as a reminder of the blazes.

While most people pay attention to the impact of air quality on human health, or the damage caused by the actual fire, a team of University of Wyoming researchers has been […]

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