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Fires in the Homeland

  You may have noticed the smoke in the air or maybe the redness of the moon at night. There's a reason for that -- it's called fires in the West. In fact, the largest fire, The Bootleg Fire is burning just north of where I grew up in Klamath Falls. It's now nearing 400,000 acres (the 3rd largest in Oregon history). Fires are becoming more and more common out west. Fires are caused by lots of different things. Lightning is a big cause of forest fires. Campfires left unattended are another, as well as downed power lines due to wind storms is another. Some are purposely started. Fires are common in history, especially in the West. The difference is that they are becoming more frequent and ever larger.  Growing up I took to heart the message of Smoky the Bear -- Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires. It's something you imbibe when you live next door to a US Forest Service Fire Control Officer whom you idolized. The message is still true, but the meaning has changed. It's

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