Environment: The Perfect Firestorm

The fires have ignited a culture war over logging and the best way to save the American wilderness

Nature sometimes has suicidal impulses. This year in the American West, it has set itself on fire--fire's version of The Perfect Storm, a convergence of dry summer lightning, blast-furnace air and millions of acres of tinder. The worst is yet to come.

And in the midst of the superfire rages a culture war, a revival of old American arguments: Who owns the land? How should it be used? How can it be saved?

The war has mobilized experts and extremists. It is in part a familiar religious struggle--Earth Firster vs. logger, environmentalist vs. entrepreneur. The argument is also about the dynamics...

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