Wildfire Season in the West Lasts Longer and Longer

Stuart Palley via ZUMA

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On the East Coast, the big danger comes from hurricanes, which are becoming ever more intense as ocean waters continue to warm. Here on the West Coast, we worry about wildfire season, which lasts longer and longer as summer temperatures linger into fall:

Despite record-breaking rain and snowfall across the West in 2017, this year’s fire season has been unforgiving….“Typically by the third week of September we see not as much fire activity,” said Jessica Gardetto, spokeswoman for the National Interagency Fire Center. “But we just haven’t had that relief.” The blazes have been responsible for the deaths of eight firefighters and have destroyed more than 500 homes.

….What makes the fires burning across the West so extreme? One aspect that sets this year apart is the length of time the fire season has lasted, in part because of dry air, conducive for sustaining wildfires. Lightning strikes in Oregon and Washington have sparked many of the wildfires still ravaging large swaths of land, while drought-stricken Montana continues to battle several large fires.

Rising sea levels. Bigger hurricanes. More drought. Longer wildfire seasons. This is global warming, folks.

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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