The Nation: Forest Inferno In the West

Fighting fire with computers

In the vast tundras of Alaska and in the timberlands and national parks of California, Oregon, Arizona and Utah, forest fires have devoured huge swaths of magnificent territory. Most of the blazes have been started by heat lightning, and many are still out of control. Alaska has lost 1.6 million acres, or 2,500 sq. mi., in the worst destruction since 1971. California, the most scorched after Alaska, has lost more than 288,000 acres, despite the deployment of 10,000 fire fighters.

The most mammoth blaze along the West Coast is in the...

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