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Officials worry that ‘megafires’ becoming ‘new norm’ for American West

Christian Science Monitor: Alaska reeling from sudden death of revered Eagle elder and renaissance man Polynesian community searches for answers after police shooting deaths Veepstakes: Why Sarah Palin will choose Romney's vice president The worst has passed in Colorado, which recently faced the most destructive in wildfires in state history, but this is only a pause, according to the National Inter-Agency Fire Center (NIFC) in Boise, Idaho. Federal agencies in charge of fighting fires are turning their attention to...

Fighting Western wildfires: Does Forest Service have enough air power?

Christian Science Monitor: As large fires scorch vast tracts of land from Alaska to Colorado and Arkansas, the debate over the nation’s fire-fighting preparedness is also heating up. The air tanker fleet tasked with the most dangerous mega-fire tasks – think dropping tons of fire-retardant into remote and steep canyons – is under particular scrutiny. Pointing to the fleet’s decade-long decline from some 44 tankers in 2002 to nine at the start of the 2012 fire season, one critic is calling the current situation an “air tanker...