Friday, July 16, 2021

Wildfires continue to scorch West with no letup in sight

I feel a combination of anguish at the people being harmed by extreme weather caused and made worse by global warming, and anger and exasperation that humans have chosen not to address this problem in a timely manner.


Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
Fri, July 16, 2021, 4:34 PM

The ferocious 2021 wildfire season in the West showed no signs of letting up Friday, as thousands of firefighters continued to battle dozens of blazes across the parched, overheated region.

"Currently, 70 wildfires have burned 1,061,516 acres across the United States," the National Interagency Fire Center said Friday. "More than 17,700 wildland firefighters and support personnel are assigned to wildfires."

The nation's largest fire, the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, has scorched about 75 square miles, an area larger than New York City, fire officials said. The blaze has stymied firefighters for nearly a week with erratic winds and extremely dangerous fire behavior.


The nation has set 585 all-time heat records in the past 30 days, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Extremely dry conditions and heat waves tied to climate change have swept the West, making wildfires harder to fight. Climate change has made the American West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years and will continue to make weather more extreme and wildfires more frequent and destructive.


California's fire season has already seen more than three times as much land burned as during the same period last year, officials told CNN. And the 2020 record was the worst ever, with some 4.1 million acres burned, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.

Contributing: The Associated Press

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Wildfires in the West: Extreme heat, drought fuel fierce fire season

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