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The natural world. Looking pretty for 3.5b years.

Western Fires

Western Fires

Author: Hugh Bollinger/Sunday, July 2, 2017/Categories: natural history, wildlife conservation, video, space science, sustainability, environment, climate change

       Brian Head Fire (red) Imaged by the AQUA Earth-observing Program, 7-24-2017 (credit: NASA)

Fire season in the West is here and one blaze has become the largest in the nation. According to fire authorities, the fire began June 17 in the ski-town of Brian Head, Utah. It has so far burned over 65,000 acres and is still uncontained. A combination of super-dry weather and forest debris; standing dead timber from an infestation of Western Bark Beetles; the steep mountainous terrain; climate change, and variable wind speeds produced a toxic brew of combustible conditions. The fire has produced so much smoke, NOAA's new GOES-16 environmental monitoring satellite was able to capture the blaze and produce a photo-animation of the fire's progress and movement of the smoke.

Many Western observers are predicting that as the climate continues to warm, fires like Brian Head's will become part of the 'new normal'.



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