Officials entrusted with protecting forests around the United States from wildfires have had a tough year. Wildfires have burned millions of acres and many months remain before winter precipitation brings relief.
For the scientists who study forest fires, the scale of this destruction does not come as a surprise thanks to climate change and drought. Unusually high temperatures due to climate change has made fires easier to ignite and spread. Drought has left forest dry and killed millions of trees, creating forests of firewood ready to ignite.