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As wildfires intensify in the West, scientists look at how they spread

Jul 23, 2021
On a farm in Oregon, they try to figure out what kinds of trees and shrubs produce the most flying embers.
Student Will Heffernan (left) and researcher Sampath Adusumilli clear debris around a burned chamise branch during an experiment measuring the embers produced by vegetation.
Jes Burns/OPB

Low pay pushes some federal firefighters to find work elsewhere

Jul 14, 2021
“We all live supermodestly,” a firefighter said. “We’re about being able to do this job that we love, but also sustain life.”
Firefighters battle the Thomas blaze in California in 2017. Federal fire crews are often understaffed as fire seasons expand.
Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

PG&E ties compensation of victims to its future through stock

Apr 1, 2021
PG&E equipment caused the Camp Fire and other deadly blazes. What does it mean for victims when the settlement depends on profitability?
Victims of wildfires caused by PG&E equipment wonder how owning the company's stock will compensate them for their lost and damaged homes.
Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images

U.S. is formally out of the Paris climate agreement

Nov 4, 2020
Slowing climate change and adapting to it requires cross-border cooperation, even though many costs will be local.
Greenpeace activists painted "No coal no Trump" on the side of a coal ship leaving Texas in 2017 after Trump said he would pull out of the Paris climate agreement.
Bodo Marks/DPA/AFP via Getty Images

Farmers need to adapt crops to climate change to stay profitable, experts say

Oct 20, 2020
Climate change has arrived in American agriculture, and it could cause profits to drop 30% over the next 30 to 50 years.
Workers harvest zucchini on a farm in Florida City, Florida, in April. Climate change is shifting which crops farmers can grow — and when they can grow them.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Thanks to a good harvest and high prices, farmers are feeling optimistic

Oct 8, 2020
According to a Purdue University survey, they're feeling more positive than they have since the pandemic began.
Farm laborers harvest crops in Greenfield, California while wearing personal protective gear.
Brent Stirton/Getty Images

Smoke damage to grapes is the latest blow to California wine industry

Oct 6, 2020
A glut of grapes on the market, the pandemic and fires that damaged or destroyed wineries. Now, grapes tainted by smoke may be unusable.
“It was difficult this year, and it’s going to be even harder next year,” says Enrique Lopez, who employs up to 100 people to harvest grapes.
Beth LaBerge/KQED

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In California, big business is preventing "good fire"

Sep 21, 2020
With the largest wildfires in history ablaze, advocates say its time to fight fire with fire.
A firefighter walks over burning embers from the Bobcat Fire in Southern California.
Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

A new law will allow some California inmates who fight wildfires to have their records expunged

Sep 16, 2020
A new law clears the way for some offenders to become EMTs, and eventually firefighters, after they're released.
Inmate firefighters arrive at the scene of a fire in Whitewater, California, in August.
Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images