Firefighters pushed to the limits as unprecedented infernos rage across US west coast

Fatigue and strain sets in as crews face multiple challenges: Covid, civil unrest, a political year and record-breaking fires

It was always going to be a hard year for California’s firefighters. Even before freak summer lightning storms lit up the state weeks earlier than expected and Covid-19 and the climate crisis became dueling calamities, fire crews were bracing for season of record-breaking infernos across the west.

Now, fatigued first responders are facing fires that are burning hotter, faster, and more frequently than ever before – and it’s only expected to get worse as the season goes on. The strain is already starting to set in.

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