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Inferno season

REUTERS/ Kyle Grillot

Wildfires are raging across California, too.

There are 23 big fires in the state, reports the Sacramento Bee, from the 90,000 acre Eclipse Complex in the north to the La Tuna fire in the south, the biggest in the history of Los Angeles.

Of course, California’s fires are part of a larger trend across the American West. Swaths of Montana resemble a fiery apocalypse, and it’s raining ash under a brown sky in Seattle. Climate change has cranked up the dial on summer heat, drought, and tree death. Combine all this with years of fuel buildup from fire suppression, and you create bigger and more frequent fires.

Because we put out wildfires (or try to), there’s lots of wood on the ground, and there are more trees growing close together. Hot, dry weather leaves a lot of those trees dead and parched. Add a spark, and all you need is a marshmallow the size of the White House.