Canada’s Fort McMurray Wildfire Highlights the Trouble with Fighting Fire with Fire

Call It the “Pyrocene,” an Unprecedented Collision of Free-Burning Flames with Our Fossil-Fuel Powered Society

“And where two raging fires meet together, they do consume the thing that feeds their fury.” —William Shakespeare

The images are gripping. Horizons glow with satanic reds squishing through black and bluish clouds, as though the sky itself were bruised and bleeding. Foregrounds bristle with scorched neighborhoods still drifting with smoke and streams of frightened refugees, a scene more commonly associated with war zones.

But we’ve seen this before. Big fires are big fires, and one pyrocumulus can look pretty much like another. Communities with homes burned to concrete slabs, molten …

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