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SOURCE: The New York Times

DATE: July 2, 2018

SNIP: Wildfires are tearing across California, Colorado, New Mexico and other Western states this week, chewing up bone-dry mountainsides, scorching buildings and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate from their homes. The message across the West — just as plans for July 4 fireworks and camping trips get underway — is that after a record-breaking 2017 fire season, 2018 is likely to be brutal, too.

The National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho, is predicting that warmer and drier-than-average temperatures, combined with large amounts of grass, below-average snowpack and increased potential for lightning is likely to create “above average to extreme” wildfire activity this year.

Complicating the challenge for firefighters in several states is that over the last few decades, population growth and suburban expansion have led more and more people to build homes tucked into the very forests that are likely to burn.

There are currently 29 large uncontained fires raging across the United States.

[For stories from around the western US, read the full story].