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The number of wildfires in the West are down, but the effect on lives and tourism revenue remains significant

Wildfires Have Burned Nearly 7 Million Acres So Far, Up 6 Percent From Last Year

Northwest Wildfires Could Become More Common

Wildfires strain outdoor tourism business in western U.S.

National Interagency Fire Center

Wildfire: Are You Prepared?

Smokey Bear

Every summer, the American West prepares for wildfire season. In recent years, this situation has gotten more severe, with state and federal agencies finding that their resources are sometimes simply not enough to keep these conflagrations under control. This year, scientists are reporting that wildfires have burned nearly 7 million acres, which represents a 6 percent increase from 2011. On a positive note, there have been far fewer actual fires this year. One area of particular concern is the Pacific Northwest, which has seen some persistent wildfires in central Washington, central Oregon, and southern Idaho. Scientists and foresters attribute this in part to decades of fire suppression, logging and replanting practices that have left forests with a surfeit of small trees and underbrush. The situation has also presented a challenge to the outdoor tourism industry in the region this summer. Many groups have cancelled rafting trips in Idaho's Salmon River and visitor numbers to the National Parks, which are signature destinations throughout much of the West, are down significantly.

The first link will take users to a piece from NPR's "The Two-Way" blog about the spate of wildfires over the past few months. The second link will lead interested parties to a news piece from KUOW in Seattle about the ongoing wildfires in Oregon, Idaho, and Washington. Moving on, the third link will take users to a piece from this Saturday's Chicago Tribune about the deleterious effect the wildfires have had on the tourism business out West. The fourth link will lead visitors to the homepage of the National Interagency Fire Center, which is a great resource for persons interested in fire management and related topics. The fifth link will whisk visitors away to a very helpful document from the U.S. Fire Administration about how to prepare properly for a wildfire. The final link leads to the official homepage of Smokey Bear, who has been working to prevent wildfires for decades.
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