Wildfires: count more than hectares

Record-breaking fires in California will probably ravage more than 1.5 million hectares over 2020. It’s a shocking statistic, but a better marker of why 2020 is a tragic year (and one for the record books) is the thousands of homes destroyed and scores of lives lost, argues fire scientist Crystal Kolden. As a former firefighter, Kolden has seen how fire suppression at all costs ultimately harms lives, landscapes and property. “If we stop simply focusing on area burnt, we can start asking how much fire is too much and how much fire burning, at what intensity, is actually good,” she writes.

Nature | 5 min read

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