Overall, the study estimates that fires in the contiguous United States and Alaska release about 290 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year, which is the equivalent of 4 to 6 percent of the nation’s carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning. But fires contribute a higher proportion of the potent greenhouse gas in several western and southeastern states, especially Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, Washington, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Arizona. Particularly large fires can release enormous pulses of carbon dioxide rapidly into the atmosphere.”A striking implication of very large wildfires is that a severe fire season lasting only one or two months can release as much carbon as the annual emissions from the entire transportation or energy sector of an individual state,” the authors write.
In a study that is sure to be seized upon by global warming refuseniks everywhere, it has been discovered that fires release CO2. Um, however you do it, if you burn 12 grams of carbon completely, you will get 44 grams of CO2 (as you probably learned in middle school chemistry).
I am glad this study was done, but it’s not news, and it is not a STRIKING IMPLICATION by any means. If you know the acreage of forest fires, and you have some estimation of biomass density, it’s trivial to come up with an estimate of CO2 emissions.
What forest fires also do is put a lot of fine particulates into the air, now that is truly hazardous for people in the vicinity and has much more STRIKING IMPLICATIONS on air quality.