Firenado in the Douglas Complex wildfire Photo taken by Marvin Vetter of the Oregon Department of Forestry
Dan Oltrogge started fighting wildfires in 1984. Starting around 2000, Oltrogge began experiencing fires of a scale and intensity he never expected to encounter. Fires like the Rodeo-Chediski in Arizona in 2002 — at 467,000 acres, the largest in the state's history — and 9 years later the Wallow, which surpassed the Rodeo-Chediski and set a new state record of 538,000 acres.
"We never imagined we would be on a fire of a half million acres in the lower 48," said Oltrogge. "Now they're becoming commonplace."
Huge, explosive fires are becoming commonplace, say many experts, because climate change is setting the stage — bringing higher temperatures, widespread drought, earlier snowmelt and spring vegetation growth, and expanded insect and disease infestations.[Climate Progress] [Mother Jones]