Along with thinning trees in overcrowded forests, Kusel says, biomass projects help rebuild rural communities by creating jobs, all while preventing the massive carbon emissions released in wildfires.Kusel’s projects utilize dead, diseased, and burned trees, along with the small-diameter green trees that he says overcrowd forests and contribute to fire danger.
“I think especially for young people, we are actually discouraged often not to dive into that, because it's overwhelming and scary,” said Kelsey Juliana, the lead plaintiff, in a conversation with WIRED senior editor Sandra Upson.
Humans carve out farmlands, sometimes leaving a neat edge where the forest meets the fields, or even creating islands of forest surrounded by crops or grazing fields for cattle.
“We have a weather event, in this case a downslope windstorm, where, as opposed to the normal westerly winds, we get easterly winds that are cascading off the crest of the Sierra Nevada,” says Neil Lareau, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Nevada, Reno.A windstorm barreling from the east just set the stage for this week's burning disaster.
Except if you don’t reduce the number of trees, and if you then also try to put out every fire, and allow runaway climate change to make droughts and heat waves worse … the boreal forests of North America will continue to literally go up in smoke, erasing the landscape and spewing climate-changing carbon into the atmosphere.Everyone pretty much agrees on how to deal with our new Burning World: Stop trying to suppress fire and start managing that land to restore a more natural (less intense) fire regime.