Series: Megafires

3:20am

Sun August 26, 2012
Megafires: The New Normal In The Southwest

'Torture Lab' Kills Trees To Learn How To Save Them

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 4:03 pm

Powers walks along plastic gutters designed to keep rain away from tree roots to simulate drought. Scientists here are studying the effects of sustained drought conditions on the tree species of the Southwest.
David Gilkey NPR

Last of a five-part series

The droughts that have parched big regions of the country are killing forests.

In the arid Southwest, the body count is especially high. Besides trying to keep wildfires from burning up these desiccated forests, there's not much anyone can do. In fact, scientists are only now figuring out how drought affects trees.

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1:37pm

Fri August 24, 2012
Megafires: The New Normal In The Southwest

Is It Too Late To Defuse The Danger Of Megafires?

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 5:47 pm

Timmons and Springer work in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, which were burned during last year's Wallow Fire. The largest fire in Arizona history, Wallow barreled through a half-million acres of forest.
David Gilkey NPR

Fourth in a five-part series

Forests in the Southwest have become a fuel stockpile. A century of U.S. Forest Service policy of quashing all fires has allowed forests to become overgrown, and now a warming climate is making the problem worse.

Scientists are trying to defuse these green time bombs. Is it too late?

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12:30pm

Thu August 23, 2012
Megafires: The New Normal In The Southwest

Why Forest-Killing Megafires Are The New Normal

Originally published on Sun August 26, 2012 7:46 am

Jorge Castro, a visiting professor of ecology from Spain, sips water in the shade of a burnt tree in New Mexico's Bandelier Wilderness area, adjacent to the Bandelier National Monument. This site was devastated by last year's Las Conchas fire.
David Gilkey NPR

Second of a five-part series

Fire scientists are calling it "the new normal": a time of fires so big and hot that no one can remember anything like it.

One of the scientists who coined that term is Craig Allen. I drive with him to New Mexico's Bandelier National Monument, where he works for the U.S. Geological Survey. We take a dirt road up into the Jemez Mountains, into a landscape of black poles as far as you can see.

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9:15am

Thu August 23, 2012

4:43am

Thu August 23, 2012
Megafires: The New Normal In The Southwest

How The Smokey Bear Effect Led To Raging Wildfires

Originally published on Fri August 24, 2012 5:50 pm

Adams (left) talks with Swetnam in their laboratory, nestled under the football stadium.
David Gilkey NPR

First of a five-part series

The history of fire in the American Southwest is buried in a catacomb of rooms under the bleachers of the football stadium at the University of Arizona.

Here rules professor Thomas Swetnam, tree ring expert. You want to read a tree ring? You go to Tom. He's a big, burly guy with a beard and a true love for trees.

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