The Area of the Texas Wildfires Versus America's 10 Biggest Cities

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The scale of the Texas wildfires boggles the mind. 3.6 million acres or 5,625 square miles of the state have burned in the worst wildfire season on record. The five acres I grew up on seemed like a lot of land, so I find it impossible to grasp how many acres 3.6 million really is. 

To get a better intuitive sense for the size, I needed to map that area on places I know. So, I created this series of maps of major US cities on which I've superimposed a circle with an area of 5,625 square miles (a radius of about 42.3 miles). I think you'll agree these visualizations are terrifying. If the fires were burning along I-95, they would have scorched everything between New York and Philadelphia.
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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science website in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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