“In California, smoke plumes spun into twisters made out of soot and flame, prompting the first-ever “fire tornado” warning. In Oregon, blazes advanced on towns so rapidly that even fire crews had to flee. Never in memory have so many fires burned so much land in so many places over such a short span of time. The smoke has enveloped the whole continent, dimming the sun in cities 2,000 miles away.
“Science knows very well what is going on here,” said Monica Turner, fire ecologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Extreme climate change has arrived in America, and it burns.
Fire experts say the nation needs new strategies to cope with the escalating threat.
But the country’s top fire science budget has been slashed – cuts that began in the last year of the Obama administration and have only accelerated under President Trump, who has twice tried unsuccessfully to eliminate it altogether. States, which are struggling under the coronavirus-induced economic crisis, have run short of funds for the scientific work.”