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Fire in Gila Wilderness Grows to Nearly 300 Square Miles in Area, USA – May 31st, 2012

33.3N 107.7W

May 31st, 2012 Category: Fires, Image of the day

USA - May 30th, 2012

A massive wildfire in the New Mexico wilderness, the Gila Wilderness blaze or Whitewater-Baldy Complex fire, already the state’s largest blaze ever, has grown to nearly 300 square miles as it spreads in all directions. Here, smoke from the huge blaze blows towards the southeast.

Experts say conditions are ripe this season for similar massive blazes across the West. Persistent drought, climate change and shifts in land use and firefighting strategies mean western states likely will see giant fires that will require hundreds, if not thousands, of firefighters on-site. A drought cycle lasting about 20 years has created the ideal conditions for this type of fires. Agencies in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona and other western states are bracing for the worst, given the bleak forecast.

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