May 31 Digest: This Week in Wildfire Recovery News

This is a digest of selected news and media that emerged over the last week related to wildfire emergencies, recovery efforts, and resilience building efforts in the American West. 

New Mexico wildfire scar burn has forest officials worried

From Associated Press| May 29, 2022

As more than 3,000 firefighters in northern New Mexico continued to battle the nation’s largest active wildfire Sunday, federal forest officials worried about future flash floods, landslides and destructive ash from the burn scar.

Critical fire condition warnings issued across US south-west

From AP - The Guardian| May 29, 2022

The National Weather Service issued red flag warnings of critical fire conditions for parts of Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. Those conditions are combination of strong wind, low relative humidity and dry vegetation.

NASA’s New Scientific Breakdown of Dramatic Caldor and Dixie Fires

From NASA Godard | May 30, 2022

This visualization shows the spread of the Caldor fire between August 15 and October 6, 2021, and the Dixie fire between July 14 and October 22, 2021, updated every 12 hours from a new fire detection and tracking approach based on near-real time active fire detections from the VIIRS sensor on the Suomi-NPP satellite.

Previous Tree Mortality and Density Big Factors In the Devastating 2020 Creek Fire in California

From Sierra Sun Times, by Rachelle Hedges | May 30, 2022

The Creek Fire, which exhibited mass fire behavior when it burned through the southern Sierra Nevada in 2020, was analyzed to better understand the mechanisms and forest conditions that contribute to devastating wildfires. Findings indicated that dead biomass and live tree density were the two most important variables – more so than treatment history (i.e. timber harvesting, fire hazard reduction treatments, etc.), fire history or topography.

From the ashes, a stronger resolve

From LA Times by Alex Wigglesworth | May 30, 2022

The mountain town of Greenville was destroyed by fire. the plan is to build back better so it can survive future fires.

After the Camp Fire: Rebuilding Paradise

From CBS News| May 29, 2022

In Paradise, some are Camp Fire survivors are rebuilding with nonflammable materials in a form that is reminiscent of Quonset hut with a modernist twist.

There’s a Housing Boom in a California Town that Burned Down 4 Years Ago

From Vice, by Matthew Gault| May 27, 2022

Four years after the Camp Fire, the town of Paradise is in the midst of a housing boom. New homes are everywhere as people, some of them who lost their homes in the Camp Fire, return to the region.

Understanding B.C.'s old-growth logging deferrals by the numbers

From CBC/The Canadian Press, by Brenna Owen | May 29, 2022

A process is underway in British Columbia to temporarily defer logging in priority old-growth forests, allowing time for the government to work with First Nations to decide how they should be managed in the long term.

The Pacific Crest Trail may become 'all but impossible' to hike as climate change intensifies

From SF Chronicle, by Gregory Thomas | May 29, 2022

The impacts of climate change and wildfire has created devastating conditions along the Pacific Coast Trail, and now the organization that maintains the trail warns hikers to stay away, closing hundreds of miles of the PCT for their own safety.

California’s AB 2243, Addressing Heat Illness Prevention and Wildfire Smoke Standards, Moves Forward in Legislature

From Ogletree Deakins | May 25, 2022

California's AB 2243, now approved by the Assembly, provides protections for wildfire smoke and heat hazards in the workplace.

Biden Administration Announces $32 Million to Advance Climate-Smart Mass Timber Construction, Expand Wood Markets

From USDA | May 27, 2022

Made possible in part by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the USDA announces grants to help restore forests, support rural economies. Many of the funded projects will help reduce hazard trees that fuel catastrophic wildfires as envisioned in the new Forest Service 10 Year Strategy to Confront the Wildfire Crisis. These projects cover activities ranging from the development of district wood heating systems and small-scale sawmill operations in Western states, to the continued expansion of markets for mass timber, biochar, and other emerging wood products