In the battle against wildfires, the Forest Service often draws on a fleet of air tankers — planes that drop fire retardant from the sky.
But the fleet shrank dramatically in the early 2000s, and by 2012, the Forest Service was woefully low on planes. Now, the agency is quickly increasing the number of planes at its disposal — and modernizing the fleet in the process by adding bigger, faster and more efficient planes.
Though wildfires this summer have burned hundreds of homes and scorched thousands of square miles of land in Washington, Oregon and California, officials say that so far, this wildfire season could be worse.
But the cost of fighting those fires has skyrocketed, and the Obama administration and some in Congress say it's time to rethink how those dollars are spent.
In places like central Washington, watching the evening news has recently not been for the faint of heart, with daily broadcasts chronicling evacuations of local towns with the approach of "firestorms."