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9 December 2022

30-Fire: Bringing fire back to the land

Fire is a part of life for many indigenous groups, but for decades cultural burning was restricted and even criminalized. Now, fire is being brought back to the land by indigenous groups to help prevent big blazes, create resilient ecosystems, and provide resources for indigenous communities.


2 December 2022

29-Fire: Lighting the skies with fireflies

Did you ever wonder how random flashes of fireflies gradually acquire synchrony? Studies have shown that  this surreal coordination of twinkling occurs through a natural cadence among certain species of fireflies during the mating season.


25 November 2022

28-Fire: Does a planet need life for fire to burn?

Think about what types of things burn: wood, grasses, fossil fuels… mostly things that were formed by life. Fire also requires oxygen, which is largely produced by life. Did Earth have fire before life evolved? Could any other planets have fire? If there were an exoplanet with fires burning, would we have any way to detect that?


18 November 2022

27-Fire: Mixing (volcanic) fire and water

When the Halema‘uma‘u crater at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano began filling with water in 2019 it wasn’t unprecedented, volcanic crater lakes aren’t uncommon; but, it was surprising for active volcano that hadn’t seen any water at the summit in at least 200 years. 


11 November 2022

26-Fire: Deep space burn

At the end of the decade, NASA’s Artemis missions will return to the moon—traveling through deep space to get there. A lot of things make deep space travel complicated, but one you might not have considered is the risk of fire on the space craft. And how to put fires out if they do start?


4 November 2022

25-Fire: Forests under (mega)fire in the Pacific Northwest

Climate change is accelerating as human-made greenhouse gasses continue to warm our atmosphere.  Megafires certainly evoke climate change doomsday feelings, but are these types of fires new to the PNW or were similar instances occurring prior to 2020? 


28 October 2022

24.5-A podcast of fire and ice

As the leaves change and temperatures cool, head inside, fire up your headphones, and get ready for hot-podcast fall as share stories about, well, fire. Join us over the next six weeks to hear stories about wildfires, volcanoes, fire in space, and on other planets, indigenous fire knowledge, and…fireflies!


2 June 2017

Fire and groundwater

Post by Andy Baker, University of New South Wales The effects of fire on the surface environment are clear to see. Landscapes are coated in ash. Intense fires can destroy all vegetation and alter soil properties. Less intense fires destroy just the surface leaf litter, grasses and shrubs.  Grass fires can be fast moving, destroying buildings and threatening lives. Intense fires can even form their own local weather systems. But …


24 December 2016

A wondrous transformation

It’s bonfire season here in the Fort Valley. I live in a forest, and that forest is full of dead and downed wood. Motivated by a desire to (a) reduce forest fire risk and (b) clear out some of the area under the trees for unobstructed recreation, I gather it up and periodically burn it off in batches. We time these blazes to the weather – before or after after …


17 December 2015

Cape Peninsula Fire: Part III – The Phoenix

Earlier this year back in March, as I blogged about here and here, a large forest fire raged over much of the Cape Peninsula region of South Africa. Shortly after the fire was extinguished, my husband and I went on a hike in the Silvermine Nature Reserve, one of the areas badly affected by the fire. We found ourselves walking through a surreal, ash-covered landscape filled with charred vegetation, with …


7 March 2015

Cape Peninsula Fire: Part II – The Ashes

Earlier today I wrote up a post about the recent fire on the Cape Peninsula, nearby my home city of Cape Town, South Africa. I also shared some pictures of the fire raging near the town of Hout Bay. In this post, I’d like to share some pictures of the landscape that the fire left behind. This afternoon my husband and I spent a few hours hiking in the Silvermine …


Cape Peninsula Fire: Part I – The Flames

For nearly a week, a forest fire raged through much of the Cape Peninsula region of South Africa. On Sunday, March 1st the fire began on the hills above the seaside town of Muizenberg, a popular destination for surfers and other beach visitors. Over the next few days, aided by strong winds, the fire spread across the mountains to the towns of Hout Bay, Tokai, and Noordhoek. These towns are all suburbs of …


2 March 2015

Monday Geology Picture: Cape Town Fire Smoke

Currently, forest fires are raging here in Cape Town, South Africa. You can see some images of the fires here and here and here. I live and work relatively far away from the fires. However, from my office today I could see smoke from the fires in the distance. I hope that the fires are put out soon since they threaten much of Cape Town’s beautiful forest as well as …