US Experiencing Worst Fire Season on Record as Blazes in Washington and Oregon Explode Twelvefold to Over 1 Million Acres

Instead of the gradual death of forest trees due to drought stress and insects, fire can cause abrupt changes in vegetation cover. Introduced invasive plants can spread and add fine fuel, and if fire frequency increases, recovery of original vegetation and wildlife is blocked. The result is a permanent decline in productivity and biodiversity.

robertscribbler

Across the Northwest US — a region known for its damp climate, its rainforests, and for often cool and wet weather — wildfires have been exploding. This summer, heat and dryness settled over the region in a months-long drought and heatwave. By late June, wide areas were seeing their worst fire conditions on record — meaning that heat and drought were generating a never-before-seen potential for wildfire outbreak.

The heat settled in, baking Oregon, Washington and Montana with 90 and, sometimes, 100 degree + heat. Fires sparked and smoldered throughout June, July, and through late August. But over the past twelve days, despite amazing preparation and effort on behalf of fire officials, northwestern wildfires exploded in size by more than tenfold — erupting from about 85,000 acres in coverage to over a million acres burning as of Monday, August 24th.

Astronaught Photo Wildfires August 18

(An astronaut aboard the International Space Station photographs wildfires…

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