In most of America, more than 100 miles inland from either coast, things change. Coastal strip cities feature buildings surrounding trees corralled into parks, while inland, even the few scattered metropoles, not to mention the smaller towns, villages and rural areas are places here the buildings are surrounded by the trees.
We are, earlier and earlier each year, entering fire season. Here in New Mexico, the Lumberton Fire has been burning for several days, and is 5% contained. It’s still being reported in the hundreds of acres burned which makes it minor-league stuff. 400 miles west in Northwest Arizona, the Basin Fire is already 10 times as big, and burning.
Everyone with an interest in trees thinks these are signs of the year to come. Unlike last year in Western America which was a wet one, 2020 is a dry one, closer to 2018, a very bad year for wildfires.
Like the one on November 8, 2018, that consumed 90% of the buildings in Paradise, California and left at least 85 people dead, the deadliest wildfire in California history.
Dani Anguiano is the co-author (with Alastair Gee) of Fire in Paradise, the story of the Camp Fire which destroyed much of the town of Paradise, California in 2018. Anguiano writes for The Guardian and was a reporter for the Chico (CA) Enterprise-Record. She and Gee covered the paradise fire for The Guardian.