Mitigating Wildfires

From the WashPost: The Biden administration can’t stop wildfires. But it can make them less destructive.

“Rarely in recent memory has the United States seen a wildfire season as awful as in 2020. Scorching temperatures turned vast swaths of forest into tinder. Ferocious winds whipped small sparks into infernos, spinning up towering smoke clouds and terrifying fire tornadoes. Half the continent was suffocated by ash and smoke. By the time winter rain arrived, nearly 10 million acres had burned.

A century of poor forest management and unchecked climate change have pushed the West into a “new world of fire,” said Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy Program at Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment. Traditional methods of firefighting falter in the face of such huge, unpredictable blazes. Instead, fire experts and environmental groups are hopeful that President-elect Joe Biden will adopt a more scientific approach to the issue, removing fuels from forests and shoring up community defenses to make wildfires less destructive, rather than simply trying to put them out.”

Resilience in Recovery

Article from GovTech: NIST Issues Disaster Recovery Playbook for Community Resilience. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has published a guide to help emergency managers and community stakeholders ask the right questions to maintain and restore vital services after a disaster.


Climate Change and Health

From the HSDL: Climate Change & Health: Assessing State Preparedness

A new report titled Climate Change & Health: Assessing State Preparedness has just been released by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health along with Trust for America’s Health. In the report, all 50 states and Washington D.C. were studied to evaluate how vulnerable they are to climate change.

In order to make their assessments, the researches developed three “domains of inquiry” that would be measured:Climate change’s disastrous effect on the planet
Vulnerability: the degree to which physical, biological, and socioeconomic systems are susceptible to and unable to cope with the adverse impacts of climate change.

Public health preparedness: actions taken to build, apply, and sustain the capabilities necessary to prevent, protect against, and ameliorate negative effects from public health emergencies. Climate-related adaptation: adjustment in natural or human systems to a new or changing environment that exploits beneficial opportunities or moderates negative effects.

According to the study, Utah, Maryland, and Colorado rank among the states that are the least vulnerable and the most prepared; whereas Texas, Mississippi, and West Virginia are among the states that are most vulnerable and least prepared.