Check out this week’s roundup of forest and environmental news!

Closely following the landfall of Hurricanes Florence and Michael, more and more people are asking this question. Research indicates that hurricanes are getting stronger and lasting longer, and the warming of the planet’s oceans could be a significant factor in producing prime hurricane conditions.

In Washington State, the Commissioner of Public Lands is seeking to double the state’s wildfire budget after a wildfire season that saw more than 1,700 fires and looks like it will have the second-most fires on record. The $55 million budget, which would take effect in 2019 and last two years, proposes adding two helicopters to the already-existing fleet, providing more training and making 30 seasonal firefighters permanent full-time employees.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who calls himself “a pro-mining guy,” ordered a 20-year ban on new mining claims on 30,000 acres of land north of Yellowstone this week. For conservationists and business owners who have been fighting mining proposals, the decision comes as a relief.

As visitation to Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and its surrounding areas increases, some have noticed an increase in trash and vandalism as well. The writer goes to check out these reports and talks to locals about what they see and why they think things are getting worse.

In the Netherlands, a group of scientists have developed bee-like drones that can not only pollinate plants, but can also navigate around each other and obstacles while traveling at 15 mph. Scientists hope to continue making the drones smaller and more efficient, as the drones currently have a wingspan of over a foot and can travel for only 6 minutes on one battery.