So far this year, more than 8 million acres have burned, scarring and scorching western Montana and the Pacific Northwest, and smothering cities as far away as Denver in thick smoke.
That’s nearly twice the 10-year average of 5.5 million acres, and it’s taking its toll everywhere, including on state budgets.
Nine firefighters have died since the beginning of 2017 (two of them in training) and another 35 were injured, reports the Associated Press. Upwards of 26,000 are currently deployed across the West fighting the blazes.
“It has been a long and challenging fire season in Montana,” the state’s Gov. Steve Bullock told the Helena Independent Record Thursday. “We’ve had losses to homes, livestock, forage and infrastructure, and we’ve tragically lost the lives of