"The worst wildfire season in decades is not only blackening tens of thousands of acres in Western states; it is also creating significant environmental damage."
"Water quality, for example, is being compromised up to 100 miles from burn sites.
Although forest fires are a natural occurrence, recent fires are more extreme, and humans can take much of the blame.
'Natural communities are adapted to routine fires,' says Scott Anderson, a professor of environmental sciences at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff. 'But the catastrophic fires that used to be uncommon are now occurring regularly. Instead of burning bark and needles, the fires are killing large, well-established trees.'"
Brian Palmer reports for the Washington Post July 9, 2012.