Firefighters watch a back burn during the Mendocino Complex fire in Upper Lake, California, 31 July 2018 © Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Wildfires: past, present and future

Geologist Prof Andrew Scott on our complex relationship with wildfires.

In the last few weeks, wildfires have been hitting the headlines worldwide. Greece has experienced the worst wildfires in Europe this century, with 92 so far confirmed dead, while major fires have also hit Sweden, California, Canada and even the UK.

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Wildfires have been a feature of our planet for millions of years, and we’ve long lived alongside them. So why do we struggle to tame them, and what can we do to lessen their impact? Professor Andrew Scott is a geologist and fire expert at Royal Holloway, University of London who’s book Burning Planet: The Story of Fire Through Time (£20, OUP) on the subject.

Our Staff Writer James Lloyd chatted to him to find out more.

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