Fury of the fire

Published: Saturday 30 September 2000

raging forest fires have consumed more than four hundered thousands hectares of natural forest in the us in areas ranging from Arizona to the Canadian border. Over 70 large fires which are still burning in the region have destroyed one million hectares of land. One large fire in Idaho alone has scorched more than 8,093 hectares of forest land. Over 20,000 people are currently involved in extinguishing the fires, but in many places little can be done to prevent them from spreading further.

The unusually hot summer coupled with people's unintentional but harmful actions are to be blamed for the fire. The scorching heat has dried the vegetation, making it susceptible to fires. According to speculations, controlled firing, which is practised by authorities may have got out of hand. "To make matters worse, states such as New Mexico and Arizona have not received summer rains," said Pete Fule, forestry professor at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.

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