by Michelle Crowther, Vox
The world is watching our country burn. More than 17.9 million acres have gone up in flames since September, an area 15 times the Amazon fires. At least 27 people have died. A billion animals and 2,000 homes may have been lost. And we are only about halfway through the fire season.
A complex interplay of weather phenomena and systems — including a positive-phase Indian Ocean Dipole, the cycle of the temperature gradient between the eastern and western parts of the Indian Ocean — has created the tinder-dry landscape. But the record temperatures and drought conditions linked to climate change have vastly intensified the fires.