Stories by Ann Bartuska

Expert Voices

Forest management is only one risk factor in the California wildfires

NOVEMBER 09: Sacramento Metropolitan firefighters battle the Camp Fire in Magalia, Calif., Friday, November 9, 2018.
A Sacramento Metropolitan firefighter at the Camp Fire in Magalia, California, on Nov. 9. Photo: Karl Mondon/Digital First Media/The Mercury News via Getty Images

Deadly wildfires continue to rage in California, destroying homes and engulfing the state in smoke. President Trump last weekend blamed “gross mismanagement of the forests” for the disasters, suggesting there’s a simple solution.

Reality check: Neither the causes of wildfires nor the strategies for mitigating them are straightforward, and forestry practices are only partially responsible. Climate change also plays a role, as do community building practices, insect infestations that increase tree mortality and even random chance.