Popular Science

How parched states like California fight wildfires

You can battle a record-breaking blaze even while trying to conserve water.
The Mendocino fire in California.

The Ranch Fire, part of the Mendocino Complex Fire that now spans an area the size of Los Angeles, continues to rage on.

Mark Ralston/Getty Images

Twin blazes sparked almost two weeks ago in Northern California have flared into the largest wildfire the Golden State has seen in past 100 years.

In a drought-prone landscape like California, says Scott McLean, deputy chief at the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, frequent fires are nothing new. But the damage they’re causing is increasing. Almost 350 square miles burned in the state between January and August of 2017, and that number has almost tripled in the same time frame of this year, with close to 1,000 square miles already torched.

“On average, we respond

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Popular Science

Popular Science3 min readSociety
Adenovirus Is Normally Harmless—here's Why Some Outbreaks Turn Deadly
Adenoviruses are similar, structurally and in the way they affect the body, to the common cold’s rhinovirus. They typically cause mild to severe cases of upper-respiratory illnesses, but occasionally can also cause pneumonia, diarrhea, and pink-eye.
Popular Science4 min readScience
We Can Save Coral Reefs By Putting Them On Ice
A rare bright spot for coral reefs. DepositPhotos The planet’s coral reefs are in trouble. Thanks to warming and acidifying oceans, the animals that make up coral reefs are dying, turning the reefs themselves into algae-covered ghost towns. This repr
Popular Science5 min read
The Oldest Weapons In North America Offer A New View Of Prehistoric Tech
A 15,000 year old stemmed point. Texas A&M University History exists in the past, but that doesn’t mean it’s static. New findings, published Wednesday in Science Advances, illustrate the discovery of a dozen projectile points at the Debra L. Friedkin