The record-breaking wildfire in Yosemite National Park is almost fully contained, two months after it started. The blaze calls attention to a problem across the western U.S.: After a century of having its fires routinely extinguished, the forests are overloaded with fuel.
A heated debate has flared up about what to do with that forest fuel. California is hoping to reduce its fire risk through renewable energy, but some worry about the environmental costs of thinning the forests.
It has been a deadly year for the people who fight wildfires. In total, 32 people have lost their lives fighting fires in 2013; the highest number in nearly 20 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Just one incident accounts for most of those deaths, the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona. In June, the blaze blasted through a firefighting crew known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots; 19 of the 20 men died.
The 19 firefighters who died after being trapped by an Arizona wildfire in late June were only about 600 yards from a designated safety zone at a ranch, according to a task force formed by the Arizona State Forestry Division to investigate the firefighters' deaths.
The Rim wildfire that began three weeks ago today is now 80 percent contained, officials say, but it has burned more than a quarter of a million acres, and it may continue to grow, thanks to low humidity and other conditions.