Another spring, another catastrophic wildfire season in the high plains. This year it was Oklahoma, where wind-driven flames consumed more than 350,000 acres of pasture, killing thousands of cows and destroying barns, homes and fences. New York Times reporter Mitch Smith described the scene around Vici, Oklahoma (population 700), a ranching community in the western part of the state:

“The fire’s timing was especially cruel, coming in the midst of an extreme drought. Dead cows appear along roadsides, hooves pointed to the sky. Driveways lead to piles of rubble. When the wind blows, it smells a bit like a campfire.”

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