"A Summer of Megafires and Trump’s Non-Rules on Climate Change"

"Against an infernal backdrop of widespread wildfires, the Administration announced its plan to roll back rules limiting greenhouse-gas emissions from power plants."

"The Ranch Fire broke out sometime on the morning of Friday, July 27th, east of Ukiah, California, in Mendocino County. Extreme heat and windy weather made the blaze difficult to fight; by early Sunday, it had spread to thirteen thousand acres, and by the end of the following week it had burned a hundred and fifteen thousand acres. That weekend, it jumped four streams, a major road, and a fire line that had been cut by a bulldozer, and in the process it spread to another hundred thousand acres. By August 12th, it had become the largest wildfire in California’s history, and by the time it was mostly contained, last week, it had charred more than six hundred square miles, an area twice the size of New York City.

A blaze that consumes more than a hundred thousand acres is known as a megafire. It used to be rare for fires to reach this threshold. Now it’s routine. “We seem to have multiple megafires each year,” the Web site Wildfire Today noted recently. While the Ranch Fire raged, three other hundred-thousand-acre-plus fires were “active” in the United States: the Carr Fire, also in Northern California; the South Sugarloaf Fire, in northern Nevada; and the Spring Creek Fire, in southern Colorado. Meanwhile, in Canada, the province of British Columbia declared a state of emergency in response to more than five hundred active blazes. As smoke from these and other conflagrations drifted across the Pacific Northwest, the air quality in Seattle declined to a level considered “unhealthy for all,” and the city’s mayor urged residents to stay indoors."

Elizabeth Kolbert reports for the New Yorker issue dated September 10, 2018.

Source: New Yorker, 09/03/2018