Blazing Summer

The Yosemite wildfire is just the latest in a costly fire season

For nearly two weeks, the Rim Fire has scorched a sacred corner of Northern California, burning more than 180,000 acres, including at least 22,000 acres of Yosemite National Park. As the fire threatened a crucial source of San Francisco's water supply, nearly 4,000 firefighters labored on the ground and in the air to contain the inferno. "It's all about access--being able to get our crews in there," says Cal Fire captain Mike Mohler. "It's a difficult fire."

The 19 elite firefighters killed battling a June 30 blaze in Arizona marked the start of an especially active summer. In California alone, 4,700...

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