Record-breaking temperatures and drought increase risk of wildfires, highlight need for replanting

U.S. Forest Service and fire officials have now contained about 10 percent of the fast-moving and far-reaching wildfire that has burned through hundreds of square miles, primarily in Colorado and New Mexico.

According to CNN, hundreds of residents ordered to evacuate their homes in the Fort Collins area will be able to return this week:

“We’re gaining,” said Bill Hahnenberg, the U.S. Forest Service’s commander for the team battling the High Park wildfire, which has burned 46,600 acres in northern Colorado.

The last two summers have seen record fires throughout the country. Texas had the worst wildfire season on record in 2011, and the High Park fire that remains burning in Colorado has quickly become the second largest in the state’s history. Extended drought and high temperatures are up throughout the southwestern United States, according to the Washington Post.

The strain of fire damage is a key subject of the Arbor Day Foundation newest public-service announcement on Replanting Our National Forests. The message? Our precious natural resources depend upon us – not just to replant for lost and damaged forests, but to preserve the land for future generations.

The immediate objective is to make sure our fellow Americans in Colorado, New Mexico and adjacent states are safe and able to return to normalcy. Looking forward, we must remain committed to doing our part to support the future health of our forests. We hope you’ll be a partner with us in that continued effort.

Sean Barry

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