October 28, 2021

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The American West is on fire, with no rest in sight

The fire season has just begun, but on Thursday there was already a fire on hundreds of thousands of hectares of land in the western United States, triggered by a dangerous drought.

Montana, Oregon, Arizona, Idaho, Utah, New Mexico … none of these states are left out. In California, firefighters were concerned about the progress of the Dixie fire, whose path is reminiscent of the 2018 campfire that swept the city of paradise off the map and killed 86 people – probably caught fire. In a century. Authorities have called on residents of several neighboring cities to evacuate the area. Despite 2020 being the worst fire year in modern California history, 2021 is more likely to break this record: the fire consumed twice as many plants as the same time last year, fire officials said.

But it is in the neighboring state of Oregon – where the city of Portland is located – that the fire is causing the most damage at the moment: overnight, firefighters battled the flames of the Bootleg fire, which has already engulfed nearly the equivalent of 130,000 football fields, continuing to grow. San Francisco firefighters were sent to help. The National Fire Management Agency said it had already implemented its highest alert in the country. “Due to the strong fire activity in the United States and the resources allocated to these places”. This is the first time in 10 years that this level has been reached so quickly. The fire is actually part of the natural cycle of the American western jungle, but each year the fire season begins earlier and ends later. Scientists attribute this phenomenon to climate change. Water restrictions, forestry … Measures are being taken to prevent the situation from becoming completely catastrophic. But will they be enough? The region is really trapped in a vicious circle: dry soil and bent vegetation create the right conditions for an increase in temperature. Excess mercury, repeated heat waves and low rainfall in places act as a powder keg.

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