Firefighters battle the Bobcat Fire in California's Angeles National Forest on Sept. 22. Photo: Robert Gauthier/ Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
September's wildfires in California, Oregon and Washington add up to the worst fire season on record — over 5 million acres burned, thousands of buildings destroyed and two dozen people killed, the New York Times reports.
Why it matters: "This season is part of a long-term trend toward more frequent, more devastating fires in the West that shows no sign of slowing down." Lagging forest management practices and climate change — which causes hotter, drier conditions — have contributed to the unprecedented fire season.