Interactive Map of the California Wildfire

A tool for understanding the geography of this massive blaze
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Mapping firm Esri has today released an interactive map of the California Rim Fire, which is now in its 12th day. In the map above, you can explore the fire's geography -- its invasion of Yosemite National Park, its encroachment upon the Hetch Hetchy reservoir which supplies the Bay Area's water supply, and its proximity to a cluster of Toulumne county communities, many of which are under evacuation orders.

The fire has burned more than 185,000 acres and is set to become the sixth largest in the state's history. Containment, the Los Angeles Times reports, is at 23 percent, up from 20 percent yesterday.

According to UC Davis ecologist Mark Schwartz, who studies fire conditions in the Sierras, such extensive and destructive blazes are likely to become more common in the future. As CBS Sacramento reports:

“We’ve seen temperatures increasing in the Sierra, particularly warmer night time temperatures, and that resulted in decreased snowpack,” said Schwartz.

The dry snowpack leads to bone dry and brittle brush for flames to devour. It’s something seen in the Rim Fire for more than a week.

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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