The deaths of 19 firefighters near Yarnell, Ariz., this summer have focused a lot of attention on just how bad wildfire has become in the West. And research predicts the situation is going to get worse.
Over the past decade, the region has seen some of the worst fire seasons on record. In addition to lives lost, the fires have cost billions in terms of lost property and in taxpayer money spent fighting the blazes.
Wildfires have already destroyed hundreds of homes in the American West this year. The insurance industry is once again poised to pay out hundreds of millions of dollars to cover those losses, as it already has for homeowners who lost their houses during last year's fire season.
As they battle the White Fire north of Santa Barbara that has covered more than 1,000 acres in less than a day, firefighters are contending with strong winds, low humidity, high temperatures and other dangerous conditions "like they'd normally see in August and September," our colleagues at Southern California Public Radio report.