The Forest Service has spent a record $2 billion battling forest fires around the country this season.
As of Thursday, the service is battling 64 large fires burning across 10 states, including 21 fires in Montana and 18 fires in Oregon. In total, 48,607 wildfires burned almost 13,000 square miles of land, destroying more than 500 homes and triggering health alerts in major cities in the west.
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the intense fire season means that officials "end up having to hoard all of the money that is intended for fire prevention, because we're afraid we're going to need it to actually fight fires."
That reallocation of funds leads to a vicious cycle. That money that would be used for prescribed burns, insect control and other prevention efforts has been diverted. The end result is that small trees and vegetation remain in the forest for future fires to feed on.
The uptick in natural disasters recently has caught the attention of many on social media.
California on Fire— Dean Rose (@DnRoze) September 7, 2017
Oregon on Fire
Canada on Fire
Montana on Fire
Idaho 5.3 earthquake
Hurricane Irma cat. 5