Watch Western Wildfires Burn After Years of Drought

ENVIRONMENT

Fires raging across the American West have set records for size and property damage, badly stretched firefighting resources, and cost the lives of three firefighters. (Nat Geo News)

Watch our video to see how fires are fought from land, sea, and air.

This map shows the increasing incidents and scale of wildfires over the past 12 years. Visit the valuable interactive map here. Map by Geoff McGhee, David Kroodsma, and Erik Hazzard

This map shows the increasing incidents and scale of wildfires over the past 12 years. Visit the valuable interactive map here.
Map by Geoff McGhee, David Kroodsma, and Erik Hazzard

Discussion Ideas

 

  • Zoom in on the fascinating interactive map. Be sure to look at the legends on the right hand side, including an annual summary, a list of fires, and a color key. What is the largest wildfire burning in the U.S. today? Where is it burning? How long has it been burning?
    • There are two large fires burning similar acreage.
      • The Sushgitit Hills Fire is burning in Central Alaska. It was first reported on June 22, 2015.
      • The Okangan Fire is burning in north-central Washington, near the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. It was first reported on August 15, 2015.

 

  • What is the largest fire burning in California? Are any federal lands threatened by this fire?
    • The Fork Complex Fire is burning in Northern California, between the cities of Eureka and Redding.
    • The Fork Complex Fire is threatening Shasta-Trinity National Forest.

 

  • What fire has scorched the most land this year? Where did it burn?
    • The Big Creek Fire burned about 460,536 acres in Central Alaska, near the Yukon River.

 

TEACHERS’ TOOLKIT

Nat Geo: Watch Western Wildfires Burn After Years of Drought

Nat Geo: Fire Bombers video

EcoWest: Wildfires in 2015 interactive map

Nat Geo: 5 Things to Know about California’s Water Crisis

Nat Geo: See Why 2015 May Be the Hottest Year Ever

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