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How CA's wildfire emissions are affecting state climate goals

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Firefighters knock down flames as they advance on a home atop Shepherd Mesa Road in Carpinteria during the Thomas Fire, early on Sunday morning, Dec. 10, 2017.
Santa Barbara County Fire Department via Twitter
Firefighters knock down flames as they advance on a home atop Shepherd Mesa Road in Carpinteria during the Thomas Fire, early on Sunday morning, Dec. 10, 2017.

The still uncontained Thomas Fire, now the third largest fire in state history, is hampering state regulators' efforts to protect the environment.

As the Thomas Fire burns for the 14th day, more and more harmful emissions are being released into the atmosphere and are undoing the efforts of state and industry regulators to protect the environment.

Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Julie Cart has been writing about fire emissions for Cal Matters. Speaking with Take Two's Meghan McCarty Carino, she laid out both the long- and short-term effects of wildfire emissions.



"When trees burn, they emit carbon which is heavily regulated by the state, but fires don't follow the rules. There are short-term emissions, and then, as the trees decompose over time, some scientists would say 85 percent of the emissions occur after the fires. And that's hugely damaging to the state's efforts to reduce carbon."

Cart also spoke about the different types of pollutants emitted from scorched trees, and the debilitating effects of their emissions on the state's environmental goals. 

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