The record-breaking wildfire in Yosemite National Park is almost fully contained, two months after it started. The blaze calls attention to a problem across the western U.S.: After a century of having its fires routinely extinguished, the forests are overloaded with fuel.
A heated debate has flared up about what to do with that forest fuel. California is hoping to reduce its fire risk through renewable energy, but some worry about the environmental costs of thinning the forests.
A charred tree rests on the forest floor after being sawn down to a stump Friday. Firefighters are still working to contain the Rim Fire, which is now the third-largest wildfire in California's history.
Credit Mike McMillan / U.S. Forest Service
The Rim wildfire that began three weeks ago today is now 80 percent contained, officials say, but it has burned more than a quarter of a million acres, and it may continue to grow, thanks to low humidity and other conditions.
A MAFFS equipped C-130 over the Waldo Canyon Fire in 2012
Credit Tech. Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher / The National Guard
Air Force C-130’s equipped with the Modular Airborne Fire Fighting System will continue to fight western wildfires. To date, they have dropped over 1.2 million gallons of fire retardant according to the U.S. Forest Service.