In the thick of Canadian wildfires

Monday, June 12, 2023 - 16:53 in Earth & Climate

The dense smoke that has led to air quality alerts across the U.S. Northeast the past week provides a view of a climate-changed future where Quebec’s wildfires burn twice as much land and the wind carries the toxic effects south, scientists say. But there are steps we can take to mitigate the harm. In research published in 2015, Loretta Mickley, a wildfire expert and senior research fellow at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, worked with colleagues to project the spread of Canadian wildfires in a warming world. They found that forest burn in Quebec — directly north of New York and New England — will likely double by 2050. That’s troubling, Mickley said, because what is so unusual about the current Quebec fire season is not the number of fires — some 400 were burning when the densest smoke headed south — but the area of forest....

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