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How and Why We Burn--And What's Normal?

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The recent fires have a lot of southern Californians throwing their hands up and asking "Why!?" and then doubling over hacking on a mouthful of smoke. TreeHugger answers the call with a round-up of their coverage of the environmental causes and effects of wildfires, a post which includes info on how arsenic-laced homebuilding materials can rain down in ash when structures burn. Meanwhile, the did-global-warming-cause-this-fire debate is errr, raging in the blogosphere: We will point you to commenter Steven's remark off the Chicago Tribune: "The wildfires have nothing to do with global warming or the degradation of the environment. Wildfires are a natural part of southern California's ecosystem and the chaparral native to the state relies on fire to germinate its seeds. The hills have been burning long before man ever settled in California." Photo of 13 chimpanzees being transported to LA Zoo from Wildlife Waystation on Little Tujunga Road via Smiteme
· Why Does California Burn Every Summer? [Treehugger]