The Debate

Why is the West Coast burning? Record wildfires force rethink of land management


Why is the Pacific coast burning? After a weekend that saw half a million Oregon residents evacuated and as Donald Trump visits California, why is the West Coast of the United States reliving the nightmare of the 2018 brush fires - or worse, since a record area's been scorched and it's only the start of the dry season.


Yes it's about global warming and extreme weather, the kind that's cracking the Arctic ice shelf in Greenland and flooding the Sahel where it's rainy season. But it's also about land management. Many blame an explosive cocktail of careless property development and underfunding of public resources over decades. Is the United States able to reverse decades of divestment and better regulate?

And just as a climate catastrophe does not respect state lines, the same is true for national borders. What's the global plan when it comes to trees? What kind of forests do we need? Where? And how?

Produced by Alessandro Xenos, Juliette Laurain and Imen Mellaz.

Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morning