What It’s Like to Get Caught in a Wildfire

What It’s Like to Get Caught in a Wildfire

Oregon fires
Bystanders watch the Eagle Creek fire burn in Oregon on September 4, 2017

I never thought we were going to die. Even when the canyon air filled with smoke, when the flames came rushing up, when darkness fell and the sky glowed red both behind and ahead of us. So, okay, it was a little scary. But we were just a short drive from Portland, Oregon, on a well-traveled trail my family had hiked a dozen times in the last 10 years. No one dies in a forest fire when they’re that close to home. We weren’t outdoorsy enough to die in a forest anywhere. Or so it seemed to me.

On the West Coast, the 2017 onslaught of forest fires has been widespread and relentless—a char stretching from South Cariboo, British Columbia, last summer to the Caravaggio exhibit in the Getty Center just above west Los Angeles Thursday. Blazes are striking with growing regularity in the region, sparked in part by drought and record-breaking heat. Seven of California’s 10 largest modern wildfires have come in past 14 years…


A powerful storm pounding Britain is so strong it poses a ‘danger to life’

Storm Caroline may pose a “danger to life” as it moves across northern Britain from Thursday to Saturday, the Met Office has warned.

The storm is currently sweeping across the UK’s northern-most regions. The Met Office issued on Thursday an amber alert — the second-highest out of three warning levels — for the Scottish regions of Grampian, Highlands and Eilean Siar, and the Orkney and Shetland archipelagos.

A yellow warning, which calls on people to prepare for “possible travel delays, or the disruption of your day to day activities,” was also issued for southern Scotland and northern England, and the northernmost tip of Northern Ireland…


California fires: Why is everything burning?

The massive wildfires destroying communities over huge swaths of Southern California are being fueled by a dangerous combination of heat, overgrown foliage, suburban sprawl and winds so terrible that early California settlers originally named them after the devil himself — Satana, which gave way to the less menacing term, the Santa Anas.

At the heart of this unprecedented confluence of climatology and ecology is California’s ballooning population in search of affordable housing. The West Coast quest for single family, wood-frame homes has pushed development into the divide between urban areas and historically open brush land — much of it hilly, highly flammable chaparral…



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