While the nation recovers from the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey, and braces for the devastation of Hurricane Irma, the National Interagency Fire Center based in Boise, estimates that there are currently 80 wildfires burning across nine states, affecting 2,200 square miles.
Wildfires, like hurricane’s, aren’t uncommon, but they do lasting damage to many states across the west, with much less fanfare. Also like hurricane’s, society names these wildfires; The Detwiler Fire, near Yosemite National Park, for example, kicked off wildfire season. Igniting on July 16th before being contained on August 24th, it burned 81,826 acres and 63 homes across California.
The Lodgepole Complex Fire, in Montana, destroyed 270,000 acres and 31 buildings in July. The Caribou fire, also in Montana, has burned ten homes, 30 other buildings, and over 19,000 acres. Destroying several towns, and causing several hundred evacuations. Of the 9 states being directly affected by the fires, Montana has seen the most devastation.
That’s not to say other states aren’t being directly affected. This week, ash from an Oregon wildfire shut down stretches of highway near Portland, and has caused thousands of evacuations. The ash has caused health warnings throughout the West, and has led to the cancellation of events as far away as Denver.
These fires don’t get national media attention. Nobody is scheduling a telethon for West Kootenai Montana. And honestly, it’s understandable. While the long term economic damage done to small towns across Montana may not have a large national impact, it does have a significant effect on the region.
It’s easy to see why hurricane Harvey gets so much media attention, it is expected that the hurricane could cost up to $90 billion in losses, and up to $1.5 trillion in property damage, according to RMS , a global risk modeling firm. The hurricane devastated the nation’s fourth largest city, and the surrounding region. That sort of damage affects the national economy, the destruction of a corner store in Eureka Montana affects the family that owns the business, and maybe the community. So it makes sense that the national media would cover one more than the other; why would CNN cover a couple thousand evacuations in Washington when millions of people have been displaced in Houston and the southeast? It’s just good business.
The problem with that line of thinking is it ignores a large segment of the population that feels as though the government doesn’t give a damn about them. They feel as though nobody recognizes their hardships. Nobody in Wyoming has to worry about a hurricane, but their home could be destroyed by a wildfire, and nobody cares. But if some flooding hits a city, it’s 24/7 news.
Nobody likes to feel as though they’ve been forgotten. Everyone is petty, everyone wants to feel important and cared about, and for the last several years the left has focused 90% of their efforts on the urban setting. Trump realized that, and used that to win the electoral vote, and now he’s President.