August 31, 2015 by Sam Smith
Record droughts, in some cases up to 4 years, have created a tinderbox in 7 western U.S. states: Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and California. The 68 active fires have burned over 7.8 million acres, consuming hundreds of homes and other structures. Three firefighters were killed when fire engulfed their vehicle after a crash that occurred while they were trying to flee the rapidly advancing flames near Twisp, Washington. A firefighter in the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit was killed by a falling tree and another was killed fighting a fire in the Modoc National Forest in NE California when he became trapped by the fire.
Much needed rain is moving into western Washington and is predicted to move southeast. The drought has created one of the worst fire seasons in recent history. Firefighting resources are insufficient to fight the raging infernos. Official are asking for volunteers from the general public to help in the fight. These volunteers have to be trained in firefighting technics and safety before being sent to the front lines of the fires. Interagency Fire Center officials have announced that 70 fire specialists and managers from Australia and New Zealand are being brought in to help in the fight.