Why the West is burning this season


By Wes Siler, Outdoor

Hurricanes, earthquakes, and nuclear war, oh my. And don’t forget to add a near-record wildfire season to that list of disasters. According to the National Wildfire Coordinating Group, there are 137 large wildfires currently raging across the American West, burning a total of 7.8 million acres.

That’s not yet as bad as 2015, which saw 8.4 million acres burned, but it’s only September and this is already the third worst year for wildfires in the last decade. It’s already way ahead of the previous 10-year annual average of 5.4 million acres burned.

You’ve seen the apocalyptic images from the Columbia River Gorge, Glacier National Park, and the Los Angeles Suburbs, but those fires are only a small part of the overall picture. Currently there are 13 active wildfires in Washington, 26 in Oregon, 23 in Idaho, 46 in Montana, and 38 in California.

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