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Wildfires In Western U.S. Devastate Outdoor Adventure Areas

Tom Malone/Adventure Tribune
Late-summer wildfires have erupted throughout the United States’ western regions, decimating some of the country’s best-known hiking spots. When will it end?


Since early August, intense wildfires have sprawled across America’s western states, destroying outdoor adventurers’ favorite hiking trails and contaminating air quality in the process. People who live in the paths of these fires have been forced to evacuate, and thousands of firefighters have dedicated countless hours to containing these juggernaut infernos.

Montana contains more than 20 active wildfires spanning 438,000 acres, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. Two Montana firefighters have already lost their lives combating dozens of interconnected blazes throughout the state.

The state’s wildfire severity is caused largely by drought; Montana is facing an irregularly dry summer that the U.S. Drought Monitor has deemed D4 level (its most severe classification).

Meanwhile, Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge continues to see its most prized natural area demolished by the Eagle Creek fire. Started by a 15-year-old with fireworks, the fire in the Columbia Gorge remained zero percent contained until Friday, when it reached seven percent containment. At one point, the fire even jumped the Columbia River into Washington.

The Eagle Creek fire has covered the Portland area in ash and has forced people and business owners along the Interstate 84 corridor to evacuate. Luckily, major historic landmarks throughout the Gorge area have been spared.

In California, dozens of fires are tearing through the state’s mountain ranges and infiltrating its famed National Parks, even with the state’s efforts toward controlled burns.

Site of famous Half Dome, Yosemite itself is almost completely encircled by wildfires; the National Park Service updates its website daily with a new fire report, and each day brings another bleak outlook.

With more fires erupting near the end of the summer dry season, outdoor adventurers need to utilize caution and preparation before embarking on an adventure. With continuing hurricanes in the South and fires in the West, it will take the entire outdoor community to reinvigorate the country’s most beautiful natural wonders once the devastation ends.

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Tom Malone is the Editor-In-Chief of The Adventure Tribune and author of adventure novels, like Across Americana. He is based in Denver, Colorado, where he adventures through the Rocky Mountains while not traveling abroad.
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