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Perspective

Wildfires in the Atomic Age: Mitigating the Risk of Radioactive Smoke

Center for Security Studies, ETH Zürich, Haldeneggsteig 4, 8092 Zürich, Switzerland
Academic Editors: Alistair M. S. Smith and Stephen D. Fillmore
Received: 6 December 2021 / Revised: 21 December 2021 / Accepted: 24 December 2021 / Published: 26 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Rethinking Wildland Fire Governance: A Series of Perspectives)
This Perspective highlights the lingering consequences of nuclear disasters by examining the risks posed by wildfires that rerelease radioactive fallout originally deposited into the environment by accidents at nuclear power plants or testing of nuclear weapons. Such wildfires produce uncontainable, airborne, and hazardous smoke, which potentially carries radioactive material, thus becoming the specter of the original disaster. As wildfires occur more frequently with climate change and land use changes, nuclear wildfires present a pressing yet little discussed problem among wildfire management and fire scholars. The problem requires urgent attention due to the risks it poses to the health and wellbeing of wildland firefighters, land stewards, and smoke-impacted communities. This Perspective explains the problem, outlines future research directions, suggests potential solutions, and underlines the broader benefits of mitigating the risks. View Full-Text
Keywords: Chernobyl Exclusion Zone; climate change; fuel management; hazardous smoke; nuclear disasters; nuclear wildfires; radioactive contamination Chernobyl Exclusion Zone; climate change; fuel management; hazardous smoke; nuclear disasters; nuclear wildfires; radioactive contamination
MDPI and ACS Style

Eriksen, C. Wildfires in the Atomic Age: Mitigating the Risk of Radioactive Smoke. Fire 2022, 5, 2. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire5010002

AMA Style

Eriksen C. Wildfires in the Atomic Age: Mitigating the Risk of Radioactive Smoke. Fire. 2022; 5(1):2. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire5010002

Chicago/Turabian Style

Eriksen, Christine. 2022. "Wildfires in the Atomic Age: Mitigating the Risk of Radioactive Smoke" Fire 5, no. 1: 2. https://doi.org/10.3390/fire5010002

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Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

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