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Smoky conditions, similar to the haze covering San Francisco, continued in the Midwest and on the East Coast in 2021, as the West Coast fires continued to burn.

Scientists are finding in an ongoing study that despite the haze from far-off blazes, enough indirect sunlight was available to fuel the nation’s burgeoning solar panel industry in 2020 - good news as the U.S. government is seeking to quickly ramp up solar energy production. Read more»

The Bighorn Fire in June, 2020, visible from townhouses near Ventana Canyon as the fire burns downslope.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will spend nearly $500 million on projects to reduce wildfire risk in 11 areas in Western states, including Arizona, with funding coming from the budget, climate and taxes law that passed last year. Read more»

The rule would apply to any land owned by the federal government, almost all of which is in 11 Western states and Alaska. In practice, it would likely be pertinent mostly to undeveloped tracts. 

U.S. House Republicans included in the new rules for the chamber they passed this month a provision meant to make it easier for Congress to give away public lands - but advocates and critics disagree about the wisdom of such giveaways. Read more»

Javelina Wash running in the Tucson Mountain District. While too much rainfall threatened some regions, extreme heat and too little precipitation worsened risks elsewhere.

The year 2022 will be remembered across the U.S. for its devastating flooding and storms – and also for its extreme heat waves and droughts, including one so severe it briefly shut down traffic on the Mississippi River. Read more»

The Bighorn Fire burning along the Catalina Mountains near Golder Ranch and Oracle Roads in 2020.

A new study shows native American tribes performed controlled burns for a variety of reasons - some economic and some cultural or religious - resulting in a sprawling patchwork of charred land that reduced the risk of large wildfires set off by droughts. Read more»

Smoky conditions from a prescribed burn in the Santa Catalina Ranger District.

A plume of white and gray smoke was rising from the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson on Tuesday, the result of planned burns by the Coronado National Forest. Read more»

The Telegraph Fire burns near Superior in 2021. Frequent wildfire smoke is causing chronic health problems for Americans.

As wildfires continue to burn in parts of the United States - with more than 56,000 fires burning nearly 7 million acres nationwide this year - state public health officials and experts are increasingly concerned about residents’ chronic exposure to toxin-filled smoke. Read more»

Removing Manchin’s permitting reform bill from the must-pass government funding package was weeks in the making.

The U.S. Senate advanced a catchall spending package - after an energy bill from Sen. Joe Manchin was removed - that would help communities recover from natural disasters, provide billions to aid Ukraine’s war effort, and keep the government funded through mid-December. Read more»

Interior Deputy Secretary Tommy Beaudreau announced a $200,000 federal plan to speed up the removal of buffelgrass in Saguaro National Forest as well as the restoration of native plants.

$200,000 in federal spending will support the removal of buffelgrass in Saguaro National Park, as the U.S. Interior Department is set to invest $10 million to stem wildfires throughout Arizona, Deputy Secretary Beaudreau said during a visit to Tucson on Monday. Read more»

A hazy Downtown Tucson on Wednesday, July 13, 2022. Pima County has had over eight air pollution advisory warnings in 2022.

High heat and air pollution are each problematic for human health, particularly for vulnerable populations such as older adults - and the risk of death on extra-hot and polluted days is about three times greater than the effect of either high heat or high air pollution alone. Read more»

The ongoing drought in the West is already hitting electricity generation, causing some hydroelectric plants to pump out less power.

A looming heat wave this Labor Day weekend might threaten Western states’ power grids and their residents, with utilities already warning of rotating blackouts, and San Diego and Phoenix are taking aggressive steps to conserve water in the face of recent drought conditions. Read more» 1

Volunteer David Walker pulls buffelgrass out by its roots in Sentinel Peak Park. Efforts to remove the invasive species will get a $100,000 boost in funding.

A one-year $100,000 project will help remove invasive buffelgrass from Tumamoc Hill and "A" Mountain, but millions of dollars in long-term funding are still needed to eradicate the fire-prone weed from near Tucson, U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva said Wednesday. Read more»

The Sky Islands stretch from Southern Arizona and New Mexico into northern Mexico. But this unique set of mountains is not safe from the effects of climate change.

Drought and fires exacerbated by climate change are expected to permanently alter the ecosystems of Southern Arizona's mountain "sky islands," with parts of the high-elevation ecosystems at risk of disappearing. Read more»

The Bighorn Fire burning along the Catalina Mountains near Golder Ranch and Oracle Roads in 2020.

In theory, summarizing risk information for flooding, hurricanes and even wildfires should help homebuyers and renters make more informed housing choices, but surveys show it isn’t working that way, at least not yet. Read more»

The Bighorn Fire burning in Ventana Canyon in 2020 as the sun sets.

The U.S. House approved a massive package of bills to address the growing threat of wildfire and drought in the West, including a permanent firefighter pay raise and several water bills - including $500 million to help declining Colorado River Basin reservoirs. Read more»

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