March 15, 2019

The New Normal: Living with Wildland Fire

William P. Edwards

By early August, the 2018 wildland fire season was already setting new records. The Mendocino Complex in Northern California had burned more than 400,000 acres and destroyed nearly 300 structures, making it the largest wildfire in California history. California’s Carr Fire, though smaller in size, had destroyed 1,599 structures and was responsible for the deaths of seven people. While media attention focused on fires in California, due largely to the human tragedy they inflicted, a similar number of large fires were burning across the Great Basin and the Northwest was experiencing almost three times the number of large fires as Northern California. The entire West seemed to be burning.

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