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Wildfires rage in West as drought, heat wave take a toll

Firefighters work to control a fire as flames from the County Fire jump across Highway 20 near Clearlake Oaks, California, on July 1, 2018.
Firefighters work to control a fire as flames from the County Fire jump across Highway 20 near Clearlake Oaks, California, on July 1, 2018. Credit: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Dozens of wildfires are burning across the West, from California to Colorado, with thousands of firefighters toiling away in hot, dry weather, trying to prevent the blazes from burning down homes and businesses.

Why it matters: These fires are coming early in the wildfire season, which is potentially a bad sign for how the rest of the summer and fall may proceed, before winter rains and snow presumably return. In other words, the horrific wildfire season of 2017, which was the worst in California history, could be nearly equaled or exceeded this year.