New York Magazine

How Is the End of the World Already Old News?

Another ho-hum heat wave, as the Earth burns.
Homes destroyed by the Carr fire in Redding, California, on July 27.

THERE HAS BEEN a lot of burning lately. In late July, wildfires broke out in the Arctic Circle, where temperatures reached almost 90 degrees and roiled northern Sweden. Farther south, wildfires swept along the Greek seaside, outside Athens, killing at least 91 and hospitalizing almost 200. At one resort, dozens tried to escape the flames by descending a narrow stone staircase into the Aegean, only to be engulfed along the way, dying literally in each other’s arms.

In the American West, 89 major wildfires have burned this year, including one, in California, that grew at the rate of 1,000 acres each hour and another, in Colorado, that produced a volcanolike 300-foot eruption of flames, swallowing an entire subdivision and leading to the invention of a new term—“fire tsunami.” Then came the Carr fire, which burned through

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