UW research helps California forest managers assess smoke hazards from prescribed burns

trees burn in a wildfire

Across the American West, managers of fire-prone landscapes are increasingly setting small fires to prevent larger, more destructive ones. Commonly called prescribed burns, these targeted, controlled fires keep forests healthy by reducing the buildup of grasses, leaves, branches and other debris that can fuel larger wildfires and smoke out nearby communities.   But smoke from prescribed burns also presents health risks. Today’s forest managers must ask themselves — how much prescribed burning is too much? 

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Shallow soda lakes show promise as cradles of life on Earth

people walk across a lake that has a salty crust

Charles Darwin proposed that life could have emerged in a “warm little pond” with the right cocktail of chemicals and energy. A new study from the University of Washington reports that a shallow “soda lake” in western Canada shows promise for matching those requirements. The findings provide new support that life could have emerged from lakes on the early Earth, roughly 4 billion years ago.

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