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为什么森林大火越来越严重

How Fighting Wildfires Makes Them Worse

1871年威斯康星州的佩什蒂戈发生了一起火灾
Survivors of the 1871 fire in Peshtigo, Wisconsin,
150万英亩的森林烧毁 1500人遇难
which vaporized 1.5 million acres of forest and killed 1500 people
据幸存者描述一道五英里宽的火墙
reported a wall of flame five miles wide that
以每小时90英里的时速蔓延 将一辆辆列车甩向半空
traveled at 90 miles per hour and tossed trainsinto the air.
四十年后 一场更加地狱般的大火在洛基山脉咆哮而过
Four decades later, an even larger inferno roared through the Rocky Mountains,
熊熊燃烧的土地 有康涅狄格州这么大
scorching an area the size of Connecticut.
这两场惊天动地的野火 和其间类似的灾难催生了美国林务局
These epic wildfires, and similar ones in between, helped spawn the U.S. Forest Service,
他们制定了一个严格的政策: 不仅要预防森林火灾
and forged its aggressive policy to not only prevent wildfires,
且任何大火都要在翌日早上十点前扑灭
but to smother any that did start by no later than 10 AM the next day.
该政策一度行之有效
For a time, this policy seemed to work
1920到1970年间 年火灾数和烧毁面积急剧减少
– the annual number of fires and area burned plummeted between 1920 and 1970.
然而火灾变少 却让森林变得更加密集且易燃
But fewer fires led to denser, more flammable forests,
因为那里长满了叶子可燃的新生针叶林
packed with the combustible needles of young conifers
和枯萎腐朽的干燥易燃树枝
and the tinder-dry branches of dead or dying trees.
所以 尽管自1970年以来 森林火灾数持续下降
So despite a continuing decline in the number of wildfires since 1970,
如今的火灾一般比以往温度更高 速度更快 火势更凶猛
the average blaze today burns hotter, faster, and bigger than it used to,
美国年燃烧总面积超过了两倍
and the total area burned per year in the U.S. has more than doubled.
损失也激增: 林务局现在支出52%的年预算
Costs have flared too: the Forest Service now spends 52% of its annual budget
在火灾防护和抑制上 比20年前增长了16%
on fire prevention and suppression, up from 16% just 20 years ago.
此外 森林火灾愈发难以控制
What’s more, wildfires will keeping getting harder to tame
由于气候变化 森林更加闷热干燥
as climate change turns forests hotter and drier,
很多家庭渐渐搬进火灾易发区
and homes edge further into fire-prone regions.
好消息是 我们能让后续发生的森林大火烧得温柔些
The good news is that we can prevent future wildfires from getting so wild
通过控制森林燃料的供应
by taming forests’ fuel supply now.
说到底 就是放任一些火苗燃烧
Essentially, this means letting some fires burn
甚至可以在湿润无风的天气下人为放一些火
– or even starting them ourselves – when conditions aren’t too dry or windy,
又或是选择性伐木来减少树木密集增长的危险
or selectively logging to thin out dangerously crowded growth.
无论何时何地采取该策略
When and where we’ve used it, this strategy
都能使火焰温度更低 速度更慢 危害更小
has made fires cooler, slower, and less destructive.
打个比方 2006年一场大火席卷华盛顿州的奥卡诺根县
For instance, when a blaze ripped through Okanogan County in Washington State in 2006,
肆虐侵袭森林 烧毁92%的树木
untamed swaths of forest lost 92% of their trees,
然而近来削减和控制燃烧的地区 烧毁的树木仅占49%
while just 49% perished in areas recently thinned by cutting and controlled burns.
2002年 几块人为控制燃烧过的林地成功防止了
And in 2002, parcels of recently-burned land put the brakes on wildfires
森林大火蔓入亚利桑那州的松林
racing across Arizona’s pine forests.
所有这些成功案例让森林管理员
These and other successes have led forest managers
明确规定美国西部大部分火灾易发区应进行人为控制燃烧
to prescribe controlled burning for much of the fire-prone western U.S.,
然而真正对症下药的森林少之又少
but few forests actually receive their recommended dosage.
主要因为 美国林务局可以理论上
That’s largely because, while the U.S. Forest Service can in theory
为它所管理的每一寸土地制定规定
write prescriptions for every tract of land it manages,
它却依赖国会来获得财政支持
it relies on Congress for the money to fill them.
到目前为止 国会把大多数火灾管理资金
And so far, Congress allocates the vast majority of fire management funds
投入急救措施而不是防御工作上
to emergency measures rather than preventive ones.
再有 急救专款持续飞涨 林务局的预算却没有
Plus, while emergency costs continue to surge, the Forest Service’s budget doesn’t,
于是火灾管理者常迫于无奈 从微薄的人为燃烧项目中抽取资金
so fire managers are often forced to steal money from already meager fuel-reduction programs
来控制当年的火灾
to fight this year’s blazes,
这也增加了来年火灾的风险
thus fueling the risk that next year’s fires
损失更惨重 危害更致命 带来更加灾难性的后果
will be costlier, deadlier, and more disastrous.
所以尽管认为燃烧似乎有违常理 国会也应当意识到
So as counterintuitive as controlled burns may seem, it’s time for Congress to understand that
不主动控制就会受其控制
by not playing with fire, they ARE playing with fire.
本期短视频由YouTube的“今日发现”栏目部分支持
This episode of minute is supported in part by YouTube channel Today I Found Out
你每天都可以发现新鲜视频 比如“雨后的气味从何来?”
You can find new video everyday on topics like “what causes the smell after rain?”
或者“不穿宇航服可以在太空活多久?”
and “how long you can survive in space without space suit?”
你也可以购买《分钟地球》特别定制T恤
Also just know that in addition to Minute Earth T-shirts
dftba商店正售卖节目海报
the dftba store is now selling Minute posters
来dftba.com逛逛 把衣服穿回家吧
hand on over the dftba.com such Minute to dress them out.

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视频概述

为什么森林大火发生次数减少,火灾却更加严重呢?为什么难以对症下药呢?简言之都是钱的问题。

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收集自网络

翻译译者

半碗凉茶

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译学馆审核员U

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX1xnWPSjKg

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